We sing these words every New Year’s Eve but if you’re like me you only have a general idea of what it means, a sentimental toast to friends and the past year. If you’re also like me you don’t really know the words and the whole song comes out sort of as one long vowel movement. So today I looked it up and it literally translates to “For times long past”. It’s a drinking song for sure (which also accounts for that long vowel movement).
And so another year has passed for Westport Yarns. It’s been a year filled with wonderful wooly creations, friendships (both within the store and our friendships that we’ve developed with our customers), and creative inspirations. It hasn’t always been easy. We fight an ongoing battle with the internet knitting sites that have economies of scale that we can never have. We also wrestle with indie dyers who only sell at sheep and wool festivals. So we are so grateful when you choose to spend your knitting dollars with us!
So let us raise a (figurative) glass to you, our friends and customers
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne
We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet
For auld lang syne
The other day a mother called to ask if she could make an appointment for a lesson for her young son. She assured us that he could knit and only needed help with a pattern.
Well, I don’t know what we thought would walk in the door but 9 year old Theo was a revelation. Number 1, he knitted better than many of the adult customers we have. He didn’t fret if he made a mistake, he just wanted to make it right. Number 2, he was knitting with lovely yarn (Rasta) and in the round, making a cowl for his teacher. He sat quietly while I looked at his work and listened intently while we discussed the pattern. His mother told us that he also knew how to sew and when Theo and I sat together he talked about his love of fabrics and which was his favorite outfit at the recent “Manus ex Machina” show at the Metropolitan Museum. When he left an hour or so later we were just in awe of this truly special child.
So why am I writing about him? Clearly this kid has a “calling”, he’s been very focused on creating with fabric and yarn from an early age. He loved fashion, although I don’t know if he liked it from the finished product point of view. I suspect he was more interested in the materials and the construction than the actual dress. But more importantly than any of his “gifts” was that his mother (and presumably his father) was behind him every step of the way, encouraging and nurturing this special talent.
It is important to nurture every child but it can be difficult when the gift is unusual for the gender. Many parents can feel off-balance with a girl who loves to play football, a boy who wants to do ballet or in this case, sew and knit. It’s a much easier parental path when our children are in step with their peers, or excel in areas “typical” for their sex. When a talent is outside of the norm, parents know that there will be bullies and battles and perhaps even ostracizing, despite the strides society has made towards acceptance of different lifestyles. We dream of them having comfortable banker/lawyer/digital lives, with a spouse and 2.3 children. But what a boring life it would be without those who march to a different drummer! It makes me think of the apocryphal story of Bruce Springsteen whose father told him that he might amount to something if he would just “put down that damn guitar!”
So keep knitting and sewing Theo! Think of that other Theo who encouraged his brother to follow his gift despite the odds. That brother went on to pour his heart and soul into painting and left the world an enduring legacy of beauty. You are one of the special ones who makes the world an interesting place.
Julie, WY's Do-bee and store wordsmith.