The cat: Ansel
Home: The evergreen State of Washington
Back in 2012 Dave, Miss Ricki (our last sweet kitty), and I finally escaped southern California for a climate that is much more to our liking: southern Washington State. We lost our sweet Miss Rickie late in 2016, and I missed her terribly. In late February 2017 a small, female, orange tabby came to live with us. When she moved in she was barely over one year old, and had been fixed mere days before. She was at least as delighted to leave the crowds at the humane society, as we were to invite her into our home. It’s a match made in heaven. Sweet little Queenie charmed us, and stole our hearts. Then tragedy struck. In late April, 2018, a mere 14 months after Queenie decided to come live with us, she broke through a window screen and ran off into the night. We haven’t seen her since. Saying we were devastated is putting it mildly. A little more than six months after Queenie escaped her haven, Ansel came into our lives. Sweet little Ansel was only eight weeks old, and weighed a mere two pounds when he decided to live with us on November 1, 2018, but oh! his joy, his happiness, his adorable personality, and his marvelous gray tiger stripes are working their magic, and allowing the pain from Queenie’s loss to fade into the past. He’s helping to replace the pain and sorrow with new joy.
Anyway, I’ve been knitting off and on since I was probably about 7 or 8 years old. Grandma taught me to cast on and to knit, but not how to purl; Mom taught me to bind off a day or three later, but she couldn’t remember how to purl. I remember sitting in the backyard while Mom was in the kitchen, knitting up what must be the world’s ugliest vest for her out of green variegated acrylic yarn that she bought for me at the grocery store. The vest was hip length, opened in the front, and was fastened with two huge pompoms connected by a crochet chain. You had to pull it on over your head as those pompoms didn’t come off. I had no idea what a pattern was, much less how to read one, so I made it up as I went along. That was sometime back in the 1960s. You can imagine how horrible the yarn was.
After that I crocheted a lot, did needlepoint, embroidery… whatever. I took two knitting classes at a yarn shop when I was in my 20s, learned to purl (finally!) among other things. I still have the sweater I knit in that first class. I used to wear it all the time.
Between then and now I phased in and out of knitting here and there, now and then. Made scarves and sweaters mostly, then a bunch of socks and an intricately cabled Aran for Dave in the 1990s. This was one time when the infamous “boyfriend sweater curse” didn’t strike, as we weren’t married yet when I made that sweater for him. Knitting was replaced with a flurry of counted cross stitch projects for three or four years before knitting resumed. After about 15 years of husband-ly prodding, Dave talked me into designing my first piece, Pinwheel, a lap blanket for him to use in his home office in winter. I’ve been designing non-stop ever since, and loving it.
About that time I started knitting a lot of lace, and didn’t have any blocking wires. I borrowed a set from a dear friend, and that got Dave to thinking. That year he gave me a set of blocking wires in a clear acrylic tube for my birthday. We talked about what it would take, and decided that we had a product there. The clear acrylic tubes were pretty, but the finish was fragile, scratched easily, so Dave started sanding them to give them a more resilient finish. Since then we started having the tubes custom made for us, then getting our label printed directly on the tubes. Not only are the new tubes more resilient, but with so much of the work done it means less time in the shop for Dave, while simultaneously giving us a more professional product.
In June of 2009 we signed on with Bryson Distributing. Getting on with Bryson has done wonderful things for sales, as I’m sure you can imagine. In January 2011 one of my shawls, Evening, was in the fashion show at TNNA. It was fun to hear the oohs and aahs, and know they were reacting to my design!