Monday, September 04, 2006

there's one born every minute...

a knitter, that is.

I was only home for three days, but I went prepared, knowing that at some point during the whirlwind visit, I was going to find the time to teach my 13-year-old cousin how to knit.

My father is the oldest of 11 kids, so I have lots of cousins, age 13 and otherwise. Many of them are fair game for knitting, but I chose this particular cousin, S, because she's had to come up in the school of hard knocks. One of our aunts is raising her because her father, my uncle, is in prison and her mother is on a batshit crazy crack pursuit.

In spite of it all, my cousin is a lovely girl. She's smart, matter-of-fact, funny, and self-contained in that way that's necessary when you've faced a lot of uncertainty. Drugs and prison overshadowed my own childhood, so I understand where she's coming from. My aunt worries that S spends too much time alone in her room, but I don't. In high school, I'd spend entire summers holed up like that. I can't say I grew into a social butterfly, but I can hold my own in polite (and impolite) company. S will be fine. I know it.

When you're the kind of girl who likes to engage in a lot of me time, it helps to have yourself a good handcraft. And so I went to Toledo armed with Lion Brand and size 13 needles for S. I gave them to her on Saturday night, while we were hanging out at my sister's graduation party, and taught her what to do. Not that I had to show her much. A few instructions once or twice and she was off.

It wasn't long before she was showing a family friend how to knit. It was very sweet and very fun. After our friend left, S kept working on her scarf until it was time to go home.

The next day was to be my last full day in town and naturally I had a host of plans and committments. I wasn't thinking I'd have to add S's house to the list, but when we met at our grandmother's she mentioned that she'd gotten up that morning and worked on the scarf until it was done. All she needed to know was how to "close" it. And so we drove to her house.

I showed her how to bind off, which she picked up in about two seconds, and voila:

You have to love a girl like this.


Anonymous said...

i was wondering if or when you would make the connection between you and this future ivy leaguer. i am so happy i was there to witness. She is amazing thanks travel buddy.

afrowalking said...

WOW ... sweet!!!!

Summer said...

now can you come teach mine how to knit? Honestly, I myself am afraid to learn, as I cannot afford to be a yarn whore, and I know that's where I would end up, In a room full of yarn not umlike my room full of computer parts.

Bad Amy said...

Tell S she can come a knit with us anytime!

I hope you enjoyed our wacky city this weekend - maybe we all can meet and knit next time.

Ellen Bloom said...

What a sweet, nice cousin you are!!! You even brought the yarn and needles. S had a good knit teacher...lucky girl. Thanks for passing on the secret art of knitting to the younger generation.

tk said...

She's beautiful! And she's a lucky girl to have a cousin like you in her life. Has she started her second project yet?

Ava said...

what a beautiful young woman! Tell her for us that she did a lovely job.

jessie said...

Beautiful girl, soon to be a talented knitter, thanks to you. Not to underestimate her own strength, but it sure helps to have adults around you can count on. You're a good cousin. :-)

sappmama said...

Thank you guys for the luv!

Summer, yarn whore = good times and questionable finances! But when we meet again, I'll be bearing needles!

Bad Amy, I'd love to hang out at the Yarn Garden with you. Let's do next time I'm in town.

Ellen, yes, gotta keep the craft alive!

TK, I'm sending her a box of yarn this week. I'm sure she'll whip up a new project in no time.

Ava, thank you! I will.

Thank you, Jessie. I try to be a good cousin. It's hard from a distance, but knitting helps to shrink the miles.

Sahara said...

That is the best possible thing you could do for her! children who spend a lot of time to themselves without an outlet, can come to some weird conclusions about life––or become fiercely creative! Your cousin is on the latter road.

Please show her how to read patterns. This way she can work on her own and gain skills.

There are some excellent books on teen knitting projects, and get her the book on correcting mistakes. I don't know how many knitters she has access to, but the book will show her how to fix her mistakes and encourage her independence.

Maureen Maureen said...

You know this made me cry, right?