Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spreading the Creativity at Nancy O's

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.


Karen M said...

Oh, you just made me so homesick! I can taste the spiedies now, although my family always preferred Lupos to State Fair. Might have to make a trip home.

Glad your weekend was successful, and didn't get flooded out.goo

Sara said...

I loved hearing about those connections. The email was so touching. Grams rocks!

Sounds like a great get together. Your colorwork is so inspiring.

Joy said...

Love Missy's pillow from your class and her sweater, too.

Claire said...

How wonderful it must have been to have met so many people with such close connections to you.

Do you have an English distributor for your yarn, Julia? I would so love to buy some.

What is Dover like in NJ? I live just down the coast from Dover in Kent, England and it is a hugely historic town that has been badly hit by recession. So sad to see the empty shops, but looking up you can see Dover Castle still guarding the Kent coast some 900 years or so after it was built.

stringplay said...

I always enjoy reading your blog and seeing all your pictures and COLOR. This post was especially wonderful. What a great story.

Diana Troldahl said...

Thank you for sharing your Gram's story with us, how wonderful to have someone else's memories added to your own, a gift!

Virginia said...

What a lovely story! Thank you for telling it here.

I wish I were closer to Ridgefield... And that the weather had not been so craptacular this past weekend.

Anonymous said...

Isn't life amazing as you share stories with folks you meet along the way?

What do you know about that beautiful sweater that Missy is wearing?

I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing with all of us readers, Carolyb

Amy S. said...

Kristin, what a wonderful story and what a gift it must be to come across someone who counts your Gram such a significant influence on her life! Those pictures of her garden are spectacular. Sounds like a great day and class; Missy's pillow is nice, and WHAT is that gorgeous sweater she is wearing????!!!

Carol O said...

Kristin, I loved your latest entry about your visit to Nancy O's and your grandmother. I was very close to my grandmother who did all kinds of needlework and sewing and I am now following in her footsteps. BTW, I am knitting the Over The Top Shawl from Color by Kristin and I just love the colors! I get lots of compliments wherever I take my knitting. I'll send you a picture when I finish it...

nancyo828 said...

Thank you, Kristin, for a wonderful weekend and a very touching story about your trip to nancy O. We all had a wonderful time, and came away totally inspired by you! We're glad you liked the shop - we all feel it's a pretty special place, too. As for Missy's sweater -- she knit this from Dovetail Designs #K2.14 (Kimono Cardigan). The sweater is knit all in one piece, which made it a perfect sample for getting knitters to make the plunge into knitting a first sweater. She used Berroco's self-striping Jasper, but many others have either used solid colors and created their own stripes, or have used Nashua's Woolly Stripes, which is very similar to Jasper. Thanks so much for all your feedback, and we hope to see you at the shop when you visit Connecticut. nancy O