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Home : Community : Newsletters & Stories
 

Newsletters & Stories

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Sisterhood of the Needle
By: Michelle Edwards
 

My middle daughter, Flory, and I were sitting companionably at the airport gate waiting to complete the last leg of our journey from Camp Hochelaga in South Hero, Vermont, to our home in St. Paul, Minnesota. Flory, then a 7 year-old, was chattering away about her adventure at my camp reunion and expressing her deepest thoughts and lively opinions about a place and people we now shared.

I listened while working happily away on a baby hat, knit in pale pink fingering weight wool on long, skinny size two needles. Somewhere in the twilight zone of listening and knitting, I lost track of the pattern. The hat had morphed itself into the oddest shape, too long and too wide. Could I fix the problem without disrupting our mother-daughter bonding?

“You need some help?” asked a middle-age Indian woman sitting in the bank of seats across from us.

I’d been so involved with Flory and my knitting that I hadn’t noticed her before. I looked down at the knitted blob in my lap. Did I need her help?

“Bring it over here,” she said. Her accent was British—dignified, confident, and commanding.

Flory and I gathered up our stuff and left our private, summery world of Camp Hochelaga behind. We took our places next to our new acquaintance. I put my knitting in her capable hands. Stitch by stitch, she carefully released row after row of my lop-sided work, searching for the very point where I’d started to stray. I admired her silk sari and her skilled hands as Flory and I worked to wind the pile of cast-off curly yarn into a usable ball.

The three of us were on a mission. Focused on getting the pale pink hat back on track before our plane arrived. We spoke only of counting stitches and knitting errors. We made no formal introductions. No exchange of business cards. We didn’t need to. After all, we belonged to the same international sorority. The Sisterhood of the Needle.

Can you hear us click-clacking on every horizon? Peacefully. Joyfully. Hopefully. Anxiously. Through all seasons of our lives. Alone and in groups. Each of our needles pulling yarn through loop after loop, joining our thoughts, our hopes and our dreams with what our hands are making. What our hearts are feeling.

“Let evening come,” wrote the poet Jane Kenyon. “Let the cricket take up chafing, as a woman takes up her needles and her yarn. Let evening come.”

Evening is here. A universe of knitters and crocheters is at work. Each of us with our own story. And what stories our sisterhood has to offer us, all of us. Stories of why we knit or crochet. Testimonials to the restorative power of working with our hands. The solace it has brought us in times of need. The lessons in perseverance. And contentment. Giving back. And showing love. Helping us cope with illness and death. Bringing us friends. Changing our lives. And saving our sanity. Allowing us to express kindness. Gratitude. And creativity.

Finally there’s a home for these tales. Stories from the Sisterhood of the Needle. It’s located on the Lion Brand Website. To read them, click here.

And what about you? Come and be a part of this innovative and important online archive of women taking up needles. Click here to share your story. Let your voice be heard. Let evening come.

Here are just a few of the personal essays found in Our Readers' Stories collection. Read them all by clicking here.



Authored by Michelle Edwards

Michelle Edwards is the author of A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION. She has also written and illustrated many award winning children's books. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, Room for the Baby, will be available from Random House in Fall 2012. Visit Michelle Edwards at her website or on Facebook.
 
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