I recently had the pleasure of receiving an e-mail from Barbara of Wildflower57. We started chatting knitting, charity, and hats, and had a great several-days-long conversation. She's agreed to letting me share this part of our conversation because her story is phenomenal.
I came to knitting late in life. I had started many times before, attempting a sweater each time I had a baby. In my top drawer were 5 unfinished baby sweaters. I've been a sewer all my life so I just figured I didn't have the knitters patience or gene that my grandmother and mother possessed. My girlfriend had started knitting and I loved her sweaters but just kept remembering the 5 unfinished sweaters...And then my dad got sick, super sick and he died shortly after. He made me promise that I wouldn't fall to pieces which was a stupid promise, but I still had two sons at home to raise and they needed me to be present. So my knitting girlfriend sent me some yarn, a circular needle and the pattern for Blue Sky Alpacas Cropped Cardigan...and I cast on....
I spent that first summer floating in the pool and knitting...that's all I could manage..Knitting saved me from a dark place and I fell deeply in love. I made the cardigan and then another one. Then I tried bulky socks and hats, mostly hats. When I found a job at an elementary school running the computer lab, I found that there were kids who wanted to see what project I had in my bag so I started teaching a few girls to knit at lunch..And then more, and then other teachers wanted to help. We ended up with 78 knitters that year who made blocks for charity blankets. All over the school, kids were sitting in groups at recess knitting and it was amazing. Troubled students became better students and we made blankets. I sent out a request for yarn through the local RAvelry knitting groups and we were swamped with gifted needles and yarns. So you see knitting saved more people.
And then we moved to a new town. My husband is in construction and in California, Construction fell apart in 2009. We were going broke. I had a stack of old sheets, a basket of yarn and a computer. I jumped in with my big dream of my own business, opened a Facebook page and an Etsy shop and started working that page like it was my job. I made aprons and bags from the sheets and knit hats and headbands. And they sold. And then more sold and then I did a show and another show...and here I am...A girl who makes stuff for a living. Knitting and sewing...saved me and still does every single day.
So that is my story and I love that you started with 100 hats and I am committed to 100 hats this fall... this is the stuff that makes me giddy...Thank you again for allowing your patterns and story be a part of this project.
Thank you Barbara. For letting me share your story, and for being the amazing you that you are!!
I'd love to share other people's knitting stories - if you'd like me to share yours, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org