Knitting through this Story

Knitting through this Story

I get asked a lot about how the name for the shop came about and well it was born out of a long list of possible shop names, mostly terrible, and A Yarn Story was the suggestion that resinated most with me. When I picked up knitting in earnest about 6 years ago, one of the things that struck me when I would hang out in my LYS or look through Ravelry forums is that there were so many stories to tell about our yarn and our knitting. For me this was and is an integral part of why the shop exists and why I knit. 

These past few months knitting has been particularly important to me and vital to my mood. My Dad passed away at the end of January. He had had Parkinson's and Lewy body dementia and his decline had been rapid, frightening and simply awful. I had seen him at Christmas and knew it would be the last time we spoke and he very proudly wore the Innishmeane cardigan I had finally finished for him. Even with his brain mostly off in another world he knew what that sweater was and knew that it was from his daughter and he adored it.

When we received word just a couple weeks after returning from our Christmas visit that the end was near, we found the first viable flight back to Oregon. Not knowing what exactly would await us when we landed it was my knitting that kept me from going stir crazy when that flight was cancelled upon our arrival at Heathrow and our journey got longer and that chance to say goodbye felt less and less likely.

I cast on Free Your Fade in three shades of House of a la Mode at the airport and knit most of the flight home. They were three beautiful cheery colors I had chosen a while ago and it was nice to be looking at something so beautiful in my hands as the world around me felt so utterly dark and sad. I then sat by my Father's bedside for the better part of four days and knit. And my Mom knit and my Sister knit and it gave us something to do, it gave us something to focus on and it is an activity that generally brings us joy and that was nice. I'm actually not sure that the three of us had ever knit together before this particular occasion...

Since he's passed I've been knitting a lot more than usual. I'll admit I've been shirking some of my regular responsibilities or usual activities with friends in favor of knitting. It's what I've needed and it's made the last few months more bearable. 

This beautiful knitting community has also made it more bearable. Wonderful people have provided words of comfort, hugs, home cooked meals and produced beautiful yarn in honor of my Father. Heather of House of a la Mode had been working on a special colourway for us to take to Edinburgh Yarn Festival and when I saw her unveil of it on Instagram I was absolutely overwhelmed. Heather created Redmond, a stunning colourway with rich greens and blues dancing on a moody gray undertone that is beyond my wildest expectations of a color. It is a colourway that both perfectly captures that location in the world and my feelings. This gesture has meant the world to me, it was generous and kind and I am grateful.  

My Dad was a chef and he ran his own restaurant for most of my life and it's the first place I had a job. It was a small but mighty place with simple, elegant food. My parent's entrepreneurship has very clearly shaped my own but I hadn't realized just how much until my Dad's passing. His passion for what he did and the generosity and kindness with which he did it have become even more clear to me; from the many messages of condolence we received from his former customers and employees it is obvious that his restaurant was so much more than just a place to eat. This drives what I want for A Yarn Story even more now than it ever has. 

So this is the chapter in my life's story that I've been knitting through lately. It has taken me a bit to be able to share because I wanted to share in a way that felt right for me. And I share because I know a lot of you knit through difficult times in your own lives' and its something else that we have in common.

We will have Redmond available off and on from House of a la Mode and I have decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of this colourway to Parkinson's research in honor of my Dad. 


Comments 4

Rita on

Hi Carmen, want to know what color way you used for your free your fade shawl?

Thanks, Rita

Helen on

I can resonate with what you say . In recent years I quilted but began knitting in earnest when my dad became ill and I found I could knit and he could chat when he wanted . It pleased him as my mother was such a great knitter . And since dad died last year , I’ve found it a comfort to continue knitting . I know it would please him

Elizabeth on

Thank you Carmen for sharing your story about your family especially your Dad who is now at peace. Knitting is wonderful.

Thank you for your newsletters which I love to receive. One day I hope to come to Bath for a weekend just to visit your lovely shop.

Penelope Kostick on

Hi Carmen
Your shawl is beautiful! As are the memories of your dad. In time, the pain does become bearable, and when you do wear your shawl, because of where and when it was knit, I’m sure you’ll feel your dad hugging you in every stitch.
My own father passed away eight years ago after a lingering terminal cancer, it still seems like yesterday, and yet it seems an eternity away. I’m so pleased you managed to say goodbye, it’s so important. Everything seems very unreal at this time but Knitting really is a stabilising influence of good and peace, calm and release. The last thing my dad said to me, literally just before his last breath, he said, “Penny, live. Live your life.” I hope when I go I will be able to have as much grace to pass on such sentiment to those I leave behind. I’m sure your father would say the same to you. So live, for the life he gave you, the memories he made with you, and celebrate the life he had. I hope this might help and comfort you. Us Knitters are all here for you, as you say, this is part of your life’s journey, so just take it one step at a time. I have your AYS card propped up by my chair so my thoughts are always with you, and with buying some more beautiful yarn from your shop soon! Much love, Penny x.

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