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 Best Thanksgiving I've ever had?

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T O P I C    R E V I E W
robinstephanie Posted - 11/25/2012 : 12:54:05 PM
I spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house, with her daughter, my other sister, her daughter, my mother, and my boyfriend. Our family has been divided and torn, for various reasons, but has been recovering well over the past few years.

I was working on a gauge swatch, and my fifteen-year-old niece, Lizzie, started asking questions. What are you knitting? What's a gauge swatch? How do you measure it? What's the yarn made out of? The next night she wanted to know what happens when the swatch is big enough, and how do you end it, and will you teach me how to knit!

All I had were size 0 and 1 needles and sock yarn, but I finished my swatch and cast on for her, and she gamely learned the knit stitch on size 1 needles with sock yarn! The whole evening she sat and worked on that little sample. When I came in to kiss her goodnight, I found her knitting in bed!

The next day (small business Saturday) I offered to take her to the LYS and buy her some bigger yarn and needles and before we knew it, it became a family adventure. All six of us girls crammed into the car and went to the LYS, where they went crazy!

My two sisters, Lori and Wendy, and my other niece, Katie, had knitted before, but Katie was a rank beginner, for Lori it had been twenty years, and Wendy had only done simple knitting with our grandmother, thirty years before. But before we left that yarn store, all of them had picked out yarn and needles and had asked my advice on yarn choice, needle material and size, and pattern.

We even looked through pattern books together, and Lizzie picked out three or four patterns she really liked--including cables and lace!!--and wanted to know if she could knit them. I told her of course she could, that they weren't beginner patterns but they weren't hard, and if she practiced knit and purl for a while she could certainly knit them, and I'd show her how. I ended up buying everything for everyone, because I'm the best funded--and I just wanted to make that gesture towards my family. We were all having so much fun, and I wanted it to be as pleasurable as possible for them.

When we got home, we had a little knitting clinic in the living room, and I went around and fixed mistakes and showed them how to cast on and answered questions. For someone known as Crazy Aunt Robin, who's always felt rather on the fringe of the family (and who is the sanest of them all, incidentally), it was just so satisfying to share this, to have them reaching out to me with interest... I just can't quite explain it or put it into words. It was a huge validation of me. It wasn't just the knitting. It was what it represented, I guess. The closeness, and the all-on-one-page feeling that is so rare in my family. A divided family coming together again.

Sadly, my boyfriend and I had to leave that night, so we went out to load up the car. Half hour later we came up to say a last goodbye, and I looked in the living room window to see all of them still sitting in the living room, still knitting together. It was... I cannot name it. The deepest, sweetest feeling. I just stood outside and watched them for a while, choking up.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
marfa Posted - 01/17/2014 : 04:35:21 AM
How do.

Robin, how cool is this! And how in the sam heck did I miss your beautiful story, complete w/pictures due to your wonderful writing style, the 1st time around? Lucky for us KR Forum folks, you have given us an update.

The muscle memory of your T'givng, the road trip to the LYS & the common ground you all stood on during T'giving - all of this gave you all a sweet spot that was shared & has given you all something to speak of which can be helpful when issues in a family have caused strife.

How lucky Lizzie is to have you as an Aunt - I bet you are a fave aunt too. You opened up a world to her, honey, so give yourself a high 5 for me please.

xoxo to you,
sjanova Posted - 01/15/2014 : 8:16:08 PM
I don't remember reading the original post about this, robinsteph, but I am so happy you updated it. What a delightful Thanksgiving that was (I could've used one like that but you just gave it to me) and how lovely that your niece is maintaining contact and continuing the knitting! I just remembered why I keep coming back to read posts on KR (I don't post, usually, so this is the first in a long time).

robinstephanie Posted - 01/12/2014 : 12:06:26 PM
I am proud, Flicka, and having a lot of fun. I only hope she keeps it up. SO much of her energy is going into boys, social life, and growing up way too fast. I'm hoping the knitting can be a balancing influence on her.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
flicka Posted - 01/09/2014 : 7:30:45 PM
Wow, I am impressed! You must be so proud of your niece. Good work, teach.

robinstephanie Posted - 01/09/2014 : 10:05:30 AM
Lizzie update: She's been taking the train to San Francisco and we've had some great visits. She just left, following New Years', when she finished her fourth project, this hat:

Taught herself Fair Isle. No ladders. Even tension. No puckering floats. She's like some weird knitting prodigy. My sister and I were talking about it, and my sister says Lizzie has one of the highest scores in her age group at school for, well, I don't know what they call it, but spacial understanding and intuitive grasping of structure. She'd probably make a great engineer.

If she keeps this up, in three years, she will be teaching me.

Crummy picture at:


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
Grand-moogi Posted - 03/15/2013 : 02:34:28 AM
I am married to a retired school principal and my daughter is a teacher and they both reckon that passionate teachers are the best. In fact if a teacher does not have passion, they cannot teach. So that's that, you MUST be an EXCELLENT teacher.

I knit a hug into every stitch
robinstephanie Posted - 03/14/2013 : 09:08:09 AM
Chayah, I don't know if I'm a really good teacher, I think she's just got the gift. I'm certainly a passionate teacher, though, that's for sure.

Grand-Moogi, yes, Lizzie's my niece. It is a joy to share it, for sure. And yeah, I don't have kids, so my stash is all hers!


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
Grand-moogi Posted - 03/14/2013 : 04:51:30 AM
Oh RobinSteph I am so glad. You said something about visiting a sister in another post and I wondered if there would be more news about how the knitters are getting along. Liz is your niece isn't she? What fun to have a knitting niece to share with. And of course you have someone to leave your stash to, so you do not have to worry about ever getting it all knitted!

I knit a hug into every stitch
Chayah Posted - 03/07/2013 : 9:46:25 PM
Congratulations, you are a really good teacher!

"Each breath really is a new beginning of the rest of our lives." Jon Kabat-Zinn
robinstephanie Posted - 03/07/2013 : 09:44:53 AM
Lizziegirl is still knitting. Like crazy, apparently. Waiting for the school bus, on the school bus, in between classes, at lunch. She's finished two scarves, and the second one is... honestly? It's really, really nice. Really well done. "Beginner" is written nowhere on it. It,s a grey, heathered alpaca with a cable on it. Second thing she's ever made, and she taught herself to cable by watching Youtube. She used a pencil for a cable needle. Apparently she lost the pencil once, and substituted nail clippers. They worked fine. Her tension is ridiculously even. She's a total natural. I am way impressed.

She wants to take the train up to my place for a knitting weekend. She wants to go to Stitches with me. She wants me to take her to my LYS.

I visited last weekend and got her started on her first hat. She wants to knit socks, next. She's teaching some of her friends how to knit. Next generation infected with knitting? Check!

It just makes me so happy.

(My sister Wendy finished her scarf, and it looks really nice, but she's not on the fast train to knitting mania, like Liz and me.)


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
Rwats2 Posted - 11/30/2012 : 4:12:11 PM
I am so happy for you. I hope that complete projects are accomplished, and that growing stashes are gowing as well.
robinstephanie Posted - 11/30/2012 : 09:54:26 AM
Donna, I started tearing up as soon as i read your post. Oh, I would just break down, I know it. In fact, posts from the rest of you did it, I'm going over the edge...

I talked to Wendy on the phone last night. She's still knitting, and not only is Lizzie still knitting, she won't stop knitting. Wendy has to take it away from her so she'll do her homework. Ooops.

Liz is seven inches into a garter stitch scarf; not many mistakes, Wendy reports, but an accidental short row, apparently. They think it looks pretty cool, but can't figure out how to repeat it. I wish I was there!

Thanks everybody, for your replies.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
chris Posted - 11/29/2012 : 10:20:56 AM
What a wonderful story! I hope it is the beginning of a wonderful tradition for your entire family!
Ceil Posted - 11/28/2012 : 5:31:55 PM
What a wonderful story. Don't I wish.....??!!

Thanks for sharing, and I hope they all keep it up.

(Ravelry: ceilr)
Time is never a factor when joy is involved.
knittingrunner Posted - 11/27/2012 : 07:50:57 AM
Thanks so much for sharing your heartwarming experience. Evelyn

Bike, Knit, (run)!
knittingbiker on Ravelry
jtamsn Posted - 11/26/2012 : 2:52:52 PM
Now that's a Thanksgiving to be thankful for! Lovely story and everything it represents.
Clara Posted - 11/26/2012 : 12:49:32 PM
You made me tear up just imagining this. Go you!

Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher
donnawatk Posted - 11/26/2012 : 10:25:22 AM
Robinstephanie, Get yout tissue ready for your first hand made gift from a niece. I cry with you Donna
robinstephanie Posted - 11/26/2012 : 07:30:56 AM
Thanks you guys, for your nice comments.

Purlthis, now that you mention it, there was something Rockwellian about it! The sun was going down, the lights in the house were on, kids and adults grouped together, bonding... It really was one of the happiest days in my life, and I do think we'll all remember it for a long time. I know I will.

I don't know if all of them--or even if one of them--will keep it up, but seeds are planted, and I've got my fingers crossed. If Lizzie alone kept it up, I'd be delirious.


Different is good. ~Matthew Hoover
purlewe Posted - 11/25/2012 : 11:31:36 PM
This is a great day and a great memory. I am so happy for you!!! What a lovely, lovely thing you did.

Life is not a having and a getting, but a being and a becoming. ~Myrna Loy

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