Pinch me so I can see that this is real!!
I took my first class with Nancy Bush in 1992 when Stitches was in Portland, and I was living in Seattle. Hopefully Stitches will happen again in Portland, so more local knitters can benefit from the experience. I already loved sock knitting, but knew there was much more to be learned. I registered for a class from Nancy on different kinds of sock heels.
As it turned out, my long time Corvallis friend Grace and I attended Stitches together and the banquet the night before my class. It was Grace who had pushed me down the slippery sock slope about 25 years before that—after I finished my undergraduate degree at Southern Illinois University. The Stitches West banquet room was dark, very dark, because they were having a fashion show. I had a bad cold and/or flu but felt that neither hell nor flu was going to keep me from this experience. And so it was that I was knitting feverishly (yes, really with fever!) to complete the assigned 5 sock tops so that I’d be ready to knit the 5 different heel types in class.
The problem was that I’d picked out black fingering weight yarn—who knows why–inexperience, of course? I was having such a difficult time knitting the sock tops. Grace stepped forward and made two or three of them for me, as she wasn’t sick—physically or mentallly—and also didn’t need to be knitting sock tops in the dark for a class the next morning! But then what are friends for but to help you knit black socks in a darkened room??
When I got to the sock class the next morning, Nancy was there but was understandably distraught. I believe she had driven her car (or was it a rental??) and parked it outside of the Portland Convention Center. Upon returning to her car, she discovered that a large trunk of her precious (and many historical and not replaceable) knitting treasures had been stolen from her car. We were all shocked and emphathized with her…and also were amazed that she soldiered on and taught the six-hour workshop anyway.
Over the years, I’ve taken Estonian edges, Estonian socks, Estonian lace and who knows what other classes from Nancy. And I’ve gotten to know her personally, as a fellow knitter and dog lover. I remember when she lost her sheltie, Kloo, and sadly/recently her next dog, Mac. We knitters are often animal lovers, right?? Her dog Kloo was the inspiration for her “Dog’s Paw Shawl” published in Spin-Off in Fall 2001. And this inspired me to have the undercoat of my daughter’s dog Sereno spun together with Shetland wool—-and that wonderful yarn blend is waiting for me to do magic with it this year!
And since getting to know Nancy and appreciating the work she does, I’ve come to love Estonian lace patterns.
Right now, I’m in a local group that is knitting Sharon Winsauer’s “Estonian Potpourri” Shawl. I’ve just barely begun but will keep you in touch with my progress. The shawl/stole is a wonderful sampler of many Estonian patterns. And I am fortunate to be able to do this under the skilled tutelage of Janeen Locavich, a skilled knitter recently relocated from Michigan to Vancouver, WA.
Anyway, 19 years later, pinch me so that I know this is real!! I am scheduled to go to Estonia for two weeks in June with Nancy (and 13 others, including my friend Grace) on a study tour that includes 9 workshops! I feel like only magic could have caused this to happen. Be careful what you wish for. You may have it fall on your doorstep!
Stay tuned, as I will share my experiences in June with all of you, and it will be here quicker than I can imagine.