brief history, part 2 by Corrie W.
Tea and biscuits
At 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 invited her in, while wondering quietly to myself if she would find me half so interesting as I did her!
Time to make tea and dig out the cookies (oops, biscuits in the Queen’s English).
It turned out that she had just recently immigrated here from Wales with her husband and three young children. I was familiar with the immigration experience from my own past; learning a new geography and growing a new social support network is not easy! We did a lot of talking that afternoon, some of it about knitting. Her enthusiasm for knitting engineering was infectious, and her past experiences as navigating officer in the British Merchant Navy intrigued me—her shipboard time coincided with the time where I was feeling discouraged about continuing my studies in oceanography because it was so very difficult for women to get on a Canadian ship for a research trip! (After all, everybody knew that women on ships were Bad Luck.)
Pass the needle sharpener, please!
Her seafaring stories were fascinating and wonderful. A snippet I remember because it conjured up a funny picture: During ‘slow’ times on her ship’s watches, she would frequently sit and knit at the top of the companion way steps—nice view, more space. Every so often, one of her wooden knitting needles escaped and would drop all the way down the steps. If the needle tip broke off as a result of this trauma, Lucy would just sharpen the needle in a pencil sharpener, smile and resume knitting. This worked magnificently, except that during a long voyage, the needles tended to get shorter and shorter!
The Fleece Artist
I could tell Lucy was going to make my life more fun, and possibly be a
bad good influence. Amazingly, she had found a wonderful yarn and fabric shop in Halifax—before she had even left Wales, and remember: this was eons before Google—called The Fleece Artist, located in the old waterfront section of the downtown. So there WAS a source of wonderful fibres here, after all!
Since I never went down to the ’boutique’ part of Halifax, I had never seen this shop. At the time, neither of us knew that Kathryn T., co-owner of the Fleece Artist, would become a big part of our future.
Lucy explained that the move to Halifax was entirely conditional on her finding a yarn shop here! How did she find out about the Fleece Artist? She called the Rowan folks (in the UK) and asked them if and where they had Canadian retail outlets. It makes me nostalgic for the days when one could phone an office and then an actual human answered the phone.
Uh oh, I feel a rant coming on……
Even after several years of dealing with the Alexander-Graham-Hell of “Please press-the-#@&*-key-for-the-department-you-want-the-next-menu-for-so-you-can-keep-doing-this-until-you-give-up-and-go-away”, I long for the days of ringing up a business, and being greeted by a friendly real-life voice. (Sometimes the computerized answering software wins: There have been times that I was totally defeated by the demon machine, and never did get the information I needed.)
Note: Currently, Kathryn’s offspring and their family members are continuing the fantastic dying of natural fibres that Kathryn submerged herself in after giving up her retail shop. I have trouble resisting the both the sensual yarns and the addictive colours. This is how Stash happens.
To be continued…