Happy Stitches

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It all started with Knitting June 17, 2016

Filed under: Guest Post,Tradewind Knitwear Designs history,Uncategorized — codeandknit @ 10:45

   A brief history, part 1

by Corrie Watt, aka CyberCrone


A year and a half—and a bit more—ago, when I launched Lucy’s redesigned (refactored – for you techies out there) website, someone who shall remain nameless (to protect Lucy’s identity), asked me: “Would you write me a guest blog post on how you came to be a computer geek in your dotage? A couple of knitters at my last workshop wanted to know.”

This was at 6:30 am; it was early enough for me to answer without thinking: “Sure, that might be fun!”  Yes, at Lucy Neatby Designs we do start early in the morning.
So, now I am committed.  A single guest post? Not likely it could all be done in one post! “OK, why don’t you do a series of posts, then?”

My journey to computer geekdom is intricately entwined with the history of the Lucy Neatby Designs enterprise: this history probably ought to be recorded, just in case Lucy becomes famous someday.

What to write? The problem is always with the beginning. How much background information? How many rambling anecdotes? Happily, you are not being forced at knitting-needle-point to read any of this, so I can write whatever I like! When you find it TL-DR, just click back to your regularly scheduled life; I won’t know. Honest.


Is this all true?

Reader’s advisory: Since I did not keep a diary, all of this early history is written from my memory, and by searching for artifacts of the past. Where I could, I tapped Lucy’s memory as well. Memories being the mutable squishy-ware that they are, my remembered ‘facts’ might be off in time or hue every so often, for which I apologize in advance. On the other hand, if any of you have charming or hilarious anecdotes from Lucy’s early days to contribute, please do so in the comments section below—we would all dearly love to read them.


A long time ago, in a land right about here…

A long time ago (early in 1991), when I was ripening into a middle-aged housewife, before the Internet and the World Wide Web, and a very long time before iThings—and even before there were blackberries that weren’t fruits—two knitters met in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Up to that time, I was quite sure there were NO other knitters here—I had lived here for two decades, always on the lookout for fellow knitters: none were ever sighted. The local yarn stores, where proper wool had once been available, had disappeared, to be replaced with big-box ‘craft’ shops replete with bales of bright acrylic and other plastic yarns (camouflage Phentex, anyone?).

Real wool, never mind high-quality wool, was rare as knitters with only one WIP and no stash. The knitting scene here was dismal, so I looked for another hobby to help me through these dark times. I took up writing letters to the editor, any editor, among other things.


There was some hope, however. The previous year (1990), at the Halifax Craft and Needlework Show, I had been elated to see a little booth advertising the possible launch of “The Knitting Guild of Canada”.



And then came Knitters’ Forum

Knitters' Forum

The first ever of Knitters’ Forum, here resting on my first handspun yarns


A knitting guild? In Canada? Woohoo…

I signed up for further information. It would probably never happen, but…a guild membership form arrived from Ontario early in the next year: the envelope was addressed in gold ink! The first issue of the guild’s newsletter, Knitters’ Forum, soon arrived in my mailbox. It, too, was addressed in gold ink: It made me feel quite special.

(Did I tell you there was at this time no World Wide Web, no Ravelry, no email, no Google Search?) Here I was suddenly given a magic connection to other Canadian knitters—right across the country! Yes, it was a Very Good Thing.

In my guise as writer of letters-to-the-editor, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Knitting Guild of Canada; it was published in the next month’s Knitters’ Forum.  Lucy, who had recently subscribed to the Guild, came upon it and, being as keen for the company of other knitters as I was, wrote to the editor to ask for my contact information. The editor (Cindy N.) wrote me, letting me know of Lucy’s request, and including Lucy’s phone number “should I wish to contact her”. Luckily, Lucy lived just across the harbour in Dartmouth! Did I wish to contact her?  Yes, I did. I suspect I phoned her before I even finished reading the note… (Yes, on my land-line phone attached to the wall; only the rich-and-famous had shoe-phones or cell phones).

This entire letter-to-phonecall event sequence took over a month from start to finish. Can you imagine being that patient today? I have a friend who emails me, and after waiting for an answer for a whole hour, phones me to tell me she sent me an email! Yes, we old folks occasionally have odd ways of adapting to online culture. 


Meeting Lucy…

The day after the phone call, Lucy was standing on my doorstep, a young woman wearing a stunning fine-gauge intarsia vest (Garden Path, I believe), and life became very interesting again.

Lucy's Garden Path Vest

Lucy’s Garden Path Vest, with a gauge so fine that it’s hard to see the stitches!

I had thought that I was a very capable (i.e. awesome) knitter, but this vest made my jaw drop—and she had designed it herself—and then there was her freshly-imported British accent and  brilliant smile…


To be continued…


17 Responses to “It all started with Knitting”

  1. Mary Graves Says:

    I enjoy your writing and look forward to reading more!

  2. Dee Jochen Says:

    Way to go, you two! Yes, I see Lucy in this also; what a fun read, especially since I date back to phones on the wall, etc., and being a solitary knitter. Go Girl!!

  3. Painting for Joy Says:

    Loving the new redesigned blog. Lucy is very lucky to have you. I met Lucy online through her Craftsy classes and she taught me how to knit socks. I’m so glad she’s doing those classes. She’s an excellent teacher; And you are an excellent writer! 😊👍🏻

    • codeandknit Says:

      Yes, Lucy has grown into a fabulous teacher. (Not sure if Lucy actually ‘has’ me, or if I ‘have’ her — we seem to instigate things for each other, and it has been fun.)

      • Painting for Joy Says:

        That’s awesome! 👍🏻😊

      • So fun to read! Thanks for guest posting!
        Oh, the pre-Internet days. Our very large dictionary got a regular workout, and we’d often get distracted by definitions of other words on the facing page. Someone would always get annoyed that the encyclopedia was open to the same page and flip it to a new letter to provide new attention catchers.
        One summer we rented a house for vacation in which there was a wall-mounted rotary dial phone. My son thought it was the coolest thing ever and asked if you could stick your finger in one number, but not dial all the way around and make it dial a four instead of seven, say. Umm, yup.

      • codeandknit Says:

        Oh, I had forgotten about the encyclopedia thing–yup, we did that! I have a rotary dial phone that still works (at least for answering a call). I keep it for young-visitor-entertainment purposes. I might be getting old.

  4. henhouse Says:


    This is going to be fun and interesting. When I clicked on read more the computer moved me to Word Press where I belong to another blog. Your post was so tiny I had to enlarge several times to be able to read it. When I started to post the other blog intervened even though I had not signed in to it.. What do you suggest ? I was bit by the computer bug too, in my late 60’s. Beats crossword puzzles any day.

    I have followed Lucy for years and even took a class from her she taught at the Madison Knitter’s group (at a small town south of Madison) That was great. She is an excellent teacher which is reflected in her patterns.

    I look forward to more of your history posts.

    Lee Scoville

    • codeandknit Says:

      Lee, glad to hear there are more of ‘us’ out there! Computers are not all that scary, mostly interesting, and occasionally very vexing. 🙂
      As to your issue with reading the blog post: I am new to fighting with the WordPress interface, bless its little heart, and do not quite understand all the shenanigans they put our web browser windows up to. My suspicion (not backed up by any evidence) is that WP somehow told your browser you really wanted to be signed in on that other site and were probably making a mistake going to Lucy’s blog, so it signed you in. In other words, I have no idea what’s going on there. You do not want to know how long it took me to make my post work the way I wanted it to. 🙂

  5. Kris Says:

    I adored Knitting Guild of Canada’s newsletter/magazines! Sadly lost them in a fire. Thank you for a wonderful memory, of reading of other knitters in far flung places, doing incredible things! Can’t wait for the next installment!

    • codeandknit Says:

      So sorry about the fire! Losing things dear to you really hurts.

      I had, until recently, never stopped to look back. Since every day just fills itself to the brim with its own demands, taking an hour or two off for idle reflection feels almost sinful. However, there is a lot of time behind me now, and some of it is quite fun to revisit.

      I was very sad when the person that had contracted to continue Knitters’ Forum just kind of quit before even getting the next issue out. I know that the previous owner, Cindy, was heartbroken. She had needed to step back from doing it, but had put a huge amount of effort into it making it a very special publication, and hoped it would keep going.

  6. […] the end of my last blog post we left Lucy standing on my doorstep. Once I stopped staring at her vest, I am quite sure to have […]

  7. […] history, part 3 (You can find parts 1 and 2 here and […]

  8. […] A history, part 4 (previous history posts are here: 1,2,3) […]

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