When I was 10 years old, we moved “away” to Ottawa. Every summer, my grandmother would come to visit. I remember when she would open up her suitcase and ask me, “What would you like to learn this year?” She had such patience – teaching me all about knitting and tatting. This was our special time together – one on one. I have her tatting shuttle in my craft basket to this day.
I wish that I had paid more attention to these skills! While I was drawn to fibre skills, my sister learned to cook and bake by taste and feel. You stirred food until it was the right consistency; you seasoned until it tasted right; a tap with your finger on the top of a cake or a loaf of bread would tell you when it was done. When she moved in with me to attend university in Toronto, she was shocked to see me measuring the water for Kraft Dinner! I thought I was all set with my one frying pan, one sauce pot, one cookie sheet and one 9” square cake pan. What more could you possibly need? Thank heavens, my skills have improved since then…..
One of the reasons that I so enjoy hosting workshops in the studio during the summer season is that I see these same memories being made with other folks. Parents with their children, grandparents with their grandchildren, siblings enjoying a family vacation, spouses looking for an authentic Island experience, good friends getting together for a well deserved reunion. All taking the time to unplug from technology and reconnect by learning something new together. There is always a lot of laughter, sometimes some competitive spirit – but always fun and a sense of pride and accomplishment. I certainly don’t expect everyone will become master knitters. In fact, I am sure that some folks will leave the knitting lessons behind. But the memories of time spent together will last forever.
My grandmother, Katherine, as a young girl – top right in photo.