I'm back from my adventure to Nancy O's in Ridgefield, CT! It was a rainy, miserable weekend and driving was less than good but the staff at Nancy O's and all the knitters I taught made my weekend memorable. Nancy O's store is on side street of the incredibly cute town of Ridgefield. The store may be tucked away but that doesn't stop her place from being a destination. March is the 5th Anniversary of the store and that's why I was invited to teach. I was the first "away" teacher Nancy has invited. What an honor to be a first! I taught a morning class of Creative Embroidery on Knits and in the afternoon, I tested out a new class on Knitting Fair Isle and Steeking. I had a great group of students and I'm hoping they go home and practice some of the stuff they learned! Nancy supplied them all with skeins of my Julia for the class and the homework and knitting with it sure did hook them into the quality and the hand of my wonderful yarn. Once you too knit with it, you will see why I love it so much.
I brought many, many samples with me which always end up being a hit. It's much easier to teach this kind of thing if you have finished work with you. After I ate a quick lunch, I got a chance to sign some books and meet some blog readers who came to meet me and say hi. It was quite fun - I must say. Lucy brought me some marinade for our lamb to make a favorite sandwich of hers called "The Spiedie." It is called "Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce". She says she buys the marinade by the case! I am going to try it this week. Thanks Lucy! What a nice and thoughtful gift. Now that I'm home and checking it out, it seems that The Spiedie Sandwich is quite the thing!
These women stopped by at lunch time to say hi. The class sold out so quickly that they couldn't get in. We had a real laugh about this adventure.
But here's the real thing about this weekend. When I was introduced by Jess Oas, Westminster's New England Sales Rep to Nancy O a couple years ago in Ohio at TNNA, we started chatting as you do at those shows. We went round and round and figured out we were both from NJ. We chatted a little more and then discovered that we both grew up in the SAME TOWN of DOVER, NJ. How amazing is that? Two women, a decade apart, in the same business, loving the yarn and the business of yarn. The circle is very small. So Nancy and I chatted and then lost touch. This year, we got back in touch and I told her I would come teach at her store to help her celebrate her 5th anniversary (quite a milestone in these times, wouldn't you say?).
And then Nancy told her sister Doris (she has two sisters) about me and my love of color. Evidently all the sisters are very into knitting and color. Doris was intrigued and said, boy, that name sounds familiar. Well, get this..... Doris lived across the street from my grandmother Frieda when she was first married. Soon I got this e-mail from Doris:
"After speaking to my sister Nancy yesterday and realizing our connection I have been spending many hours taking a stroll down memory lane! I have such wonderful memories of the time I spent with your Gram.
What an incredible lady, friend and teacher. I was in awe of her gardens and at age 25 had no gardening skills. She patiently spent so many hours sharing her knowledge with me and telling me that she wasn't really "that good." If I close my eyes I can still see her tending her iris. I believe that was her favorite flower. They were right in the middle of the garden that separated her yard from that of the Drexels. She had a wonderful sense of color placement. When I am placing a new plant in my garden I often think - Where would Mrs Nicholas or Gertrude Jekyll put this? Yes, I do put her the same league as Gertrude. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I don't. Your Gram was so proud of your father's garden. She brought me to see it one beautiful summer day. I remember how your dad had bordered the entire bed with impatiens that he had started from seed. I was so impressed and always wanted a garden that would be so beautiful.
I have a retail store in Chatham, N.J. that sells women's clothing and accessories. We own the building and am fortunate to have a huge yard that gets full sun in the back of the store. If you visit my web site at www.djcrater.com you will find an icon for viewing my wonderful flowers. I owe my love of gardening to your Gram. What a wonderful gift to give another person. I try to pass my love and knowledge of gardening to others as she did for me."
I passed this note onto Mom, my sisters, and cousins and we all had a big "wow, cry, and sure do miss Gram" moment or two. Gram was an immigrant from Germany in 1911 and never got past the 8th grade but that didn't stop her from learning all her life. You can see photos of Doris's increidble garden on her website here.
And now I'll close with a photo of Missy's pillow she is making from my Color by Kristin.
Missy took my Fair Isle and Steeking class, went home and started. She is one of Nancy's teachers and also a rug hooker. And she is one talented knitter! But get this..... We discovered at dinner that she too grew up near Dover, NJ and her Dad was a doctor. And guess whose doctor he was???? My Gram's and my Dad's. Wow ----- what a really small world it is!
As my Dad always said "Kristin, never forget where you came from." Oh, I think about that quote all the time and this weekend it was impossible to forget. They were all around me. Thank you Nancy for inviting me.