Welcome, September

After a fairly wet summer, everything here is still so lush and green you would think it was still the end of June. Yet the beginning of this month saw the children head back to school. Each day as I am forced to acknowledge that September is solidly here I find myself very busy getting ready for the cooler days that are quietly on their way. As the kids go back to school I find myself focusing on scheduling classes and workshops.

The beginning of fall brings with it the anticipation of renewed excitement for knitting, crocheting and other fibre related activities. There is still so much to do outside before winter arrives it can be hard to find the focus to knit in the evenings. But there’s something about the shortening days and the cooler evenings that make me want to curl up in my comfy chair with my knitting. Soon!

New stock is arriving every day and my office is bulging with bags of yarn that have to wait to be put out on display. We’ve been plugging away working on expanding the store. We will be ready to reveal the changes after the Thanksgiving weekend in October. Stay tuned for details on that. I’m so excited! The expansion will allow space for me to comfortably hold classes.

I’ll be offering both daytime and evening class times with longer classes on alternate weekends. The daytime classes will (most likely but not etched in stone) run from 12:30 to 2:00pm so that class will be finished in plenty of time before school is out for the day. That way parents or grandparents who need to pick up youngsters can head out without having to rush. Evening classes will run from 6:30 to 8:00 pm. Weekend classes will be announced and determined as they are scheduled in.

So here’s what’s happening. I will offer a knitting course for absolute beginners. I’m talking about folks that have no idea how to hold the yarn and want a human there to guide them as they learn. It will be taught over eight sessions, an hour and a half each. Each class will focus on just one concept and allow time to get really comfortable with it. I remember how clumsy I was when I first learned to knit. I had to be shown each step over and over again before I finally internalized what I needed to do. I will always be grateful to the lovely woman who patiently encouraged me and I want to offer that patient encouragement to others. So if you think that you might fit into this category and you’d like to learn to knit, come into the store and sign up. You’ll have lots of one on one attention to make sure you are feeling comfortable with the new skills you’ll be learning. By the end of the eight classes, you’ll have a solid foundation to build on. This class will be held on Wednesday and Thursday evenings beginning October 22.

I will also offer technique sessions for novice knitters. These will be single sessions of one and a half hours. Each session will focus on one aspect of technique. For instance, methods of casting on; ways you can increase stitches; methods of decreasing; stranded colourwork and so on. If there is a particular technique you’d like me to cover that isn’t on my list, please let me know and I’ll put something together.

Project based knitting classes will include: toques (beanies); mittens; cowls and socks. Some of these will be one day workshops and some will have multiple classes. I’ll be offering the toe-up sock knitting workshop again as well. This is taught over 4 weeks to allow lots of time for homework in between. The goal is to have a pair of socks completed by the end. The mitten class will be a similar set-up.

More than just knitting classes

I’ll also be offering short-classes to cover the basics of other fibre arts skills. Beginning in October, I’ll offer 1-1/2 hour classes on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. Once the beginner workshop is completed I’ll offer these in the evenings as well. I am currently still sorting out the “what and when”. Best thing will be to come and talk to me to let me know what you are interested in and get your name on the sign up sheet(s). Which classes move forward will depend on the level of interest shown.

Here are a few of the offerings planned:

Weaving
Interested in weaving? Learn the basics of weaving on your own student table top loom. It’s downright addictive. There are two sizes of looms available. Pre-registration is mandatory for this class, so I can be sure I have enough looms for everyone.

Embroidery
Want to learn some embroidery basics? Come to a short class and learn a few basic stitches and then put them to work embroidering a small motif on your jeans, shirt, tote or jacket.

Felting
Needle Felting with Niina! Learn the basics of making adorable wee felted wool animals using needle felting techniques.

Macrame
Cover the basics of macrame and make a plant hanger for your home.

Punch Embroidery
With enough interest, I’ll set up classes for needle punch embroidery (used also for making rugs), cross stitch, sewing and serging.

Moccasin Making
A local First Nations instructor has approached me about running a moccasin making class in the store. Once enough people have signed up, we will set a date for that. The suede is already here and waiting!

I’m looking forward to offering these many and varied learning opportunities here in the store. I’m excited to pass along these skills that have brought me so much enjoyment over the years.

Happy Learning!

Empty Nesting

I can’t believe it’s already September 1st today!

It’s been a relentlessly hot and smoky summer here in British Columbia. My flower beds look very sad, along with most everyone else’s. A couple more days and DH takes his son back to University for another school year. And here’s me, getting all sentimental. Isn’t it interesting how each stage of life gives us a new and different perspective on daily life transitions?

When I was little, I got very excited about going back to school.

I loved walking through the deep piles of birch and poplar leaves along the side of the road on the way to the bus stop. That chill in the air in the morning that would give way to a gorgeous warm fall day was so refreshing after the heat of summer. The rain usually held off until October. I loved the anticipation of seeing my friends again after two months without them.

The smell of new crayons, fresh notebooks and sharpening wooden pencils. I can smell it all right now.

When I had kids, they went to public school (for the first few years) and the perspective on those September mornings changed to overseeing them preparing their snacks and making sure they had everything they needed and then seeing them off to the bus stop. After some big challenges, we made the choice to home-school our kids and did so for 7 years. Our approach to that was that learning never stopped. We didn’t really follow the public school calendar and back to school became more of a vague awareness rather than anything directly impacting us. Then when my kids got to high-school age and the decision was made for them to go back to public school I drove them to a larger centre each day to a school that offered more options than the local one. Before I knew it, my perspective was changing again. Instead of me driving them, now I was teaching them to drive so they could get themselves to school… without my help.

At the beginning of all that, it seemed like it would always be the same. With each evolution of our family there was a shift that just happened. In hindsight, we didn’t pay it much mind. Until my oldest was ready for University.

Suddenly I stopped in my tracks and took it all in. My babies were not babies any more. How did that even happen? I mean, I know I was there the whole time, but I was so busy being there the whole time that I didn’t even consciously think about it. And then my perspective took a huge shift. I wondered whether I had done enough, or too much; had I prepared them for what was going to come across their paths?

And eventually I had the realization that it didn’t matter.

I always did what I genuinely felt was best for my children and my family. You can’t do more than that, no matter what hindsight might urge you to believe. And as my perspective on back to school changed, so did theirs.

And here I am. All three of my children are adults, functioning well, with lives of their own. Our relationship is now an adult relationship. (What a huge moment it was the first time my kids mixed drinks for me!)

My DH’s youngest is getting ready to head back to University for year 3.

And as we watch him evolve into a young man and do our best to give him the space to be that man it still pulls at my heart knowing he’s leaving and that we will likely only have one more summer with him before he is completely out of the nest. We had an early Thanksgiving dinner last night so that we could share that with him before he leaves. His birthday is in October, so we had a birthday cake too. He got those Mosaic Marbles socks I made in stage 4 of Tour-de-Sock as his birthday present and he gave me his old birthday socks to repair before he heads off. (That’s next week’s blog.)

I find myself feeling misty.

When DH and I began building a life together I was thrilled that one of his kids still lived with him. Being “Mom” always felt like my first calling. Having the opportunity to be that a little longer felt good. I’m grateful that I was able to build a lovely relationship with him and I’m thrilled that no matter where he goes or what he does, that won’t go away.

And so it’s back to school, back to the routine, back to responsibility.

It’s so easy to get lost in the routine and the responsibilities. At the end of the day, it’s all those loving relationships that we nurture that make that routine and those responsibilities okay. And hey, I get to do Thanksgiving twice this year! I can’t complain about that!

Photo by Jake Ingle on Unsplash