<Insert vague excuse about delay in blogging here>
Sorry I have been so lax with the blogging lately. I’m back, though, and I have lots to talk about!
First up, this, which rendered me speechless:
My Knitters’ Guild did me the incredible honour of selecting me as the winner of the Sally Melville Award for 2012-2013. The award is named in honour of Sally Melville, who founded our Guild, and is awarded (by members’ nominations/votes) to “the knitter who has most inspired its members.”
Normally the prize is awarded at the May meeting, but since I was literally on a plane to England on the evening of that meeting, and since we don’t meet over the summer, the Guild waited until the September meeting to surprise me with this lovely, lovely announcement.
This is just such an incredible honour, to me. Past award recipients are pretty much a who’s-who of my local knitting heroes, people who have done Big Things with their knitting — whether that’s Karen, who opened the best danged LYS I know of, or Selina, who knitted and felted a mindblowing chess set of magnet-enhanced brain slugs. To be counted as one of their number feels like I’ve joined a very exclusive, very very exciting, club.
The prize, presented along with the award , was a yarn bowl full of lovely things — including my favourite locally-made stitch markers, a fun flip+tumble project bag, a knitting abacus bracelet, a Perl Grey shawl/sweater pin, and a squooooooshy ball of this Qiviuk blend yarn. (Totally have to find myself a pattern for a small but luxe accessory to make with that!)
One of the Executive members, who is a good friend, made the actual presentation. She started by talking about how “the recipient” had started with the Guild and fairly quickly began volunteering, and soon became heavily involved in the Executive. It was all rather vague and generic, until she talked about how she actually connected with “this person”. She started the local group on Ravelry, and put out the call for someone to help create a banner image for it. “This person” stepped up, and chose an image of an iconic local landmark, the shuttered windows of the barrel warehouses from the old Seagram distillery in uptown Waterloo. (Side note: the warehouses had many windows, with shutters, so that the workers could let in daylight when they needed to work inside — lighting an oil lamp in a building full of alcohol fumes would have been explosive!) This was unsettling to my friend, because she lives in a condo in one of those warehouses. Was “the recipient” stalking her? No, it turned out — “this person” actually works in another of these buildings and is therefore basically her next door neighbour! At this point, I knew exactly who she was talking about, of course, since I was the one who made that image. I am quite sure that I was turning Fifty Shades of Red while she was talking. I know I had to stop knitting because I was trembling.
Apparently many of the Guild members, or at least, my circle of friends within the Guild, had known I’d been selected for the award since last spring, because they’d all been involved in trying to figure out what to do because of my trip to England. The two Executive members who I’d just had dinner with had also kept it secret, even when I asked point blank if they knew who the winner was this year. Super sneaky ninjas, the lot of them!
The other very lovely and very flattering part of the evening was the opportunity to be on a panel with Lynne (also a previous Sally Melville Award winner!) and Alison, discussing accessories. Our Guild theme this year is “Head & Shoulders, Knees & Toes… and we don’t mind Arms either!” — in other words, accessories. The three of us, along with Programming Coordinator Cheryl, got to just chat about why we knit and design accessories. Basically, this was the consensus:
- They’re small and relatively quick to knit.
- They don’t have to be fitted the way garments do, so they make great gifts.
- We live in Canada and it gets cold here (duh).
- They’re a great way to use single, precious skeins of special yarn.
- They are a relatively low-risk way of trying a new technique — they’re literally the first projects where I did knits, purls, increases and decreases, lace, cables, colourwork, beading, used my own handspun yarn, AND tried my hand at designing. (Uh, not all in the same project. And not always successful on the first try, either!)
- They allow you to challenge yourself in ways that wouldn’t be practical over a larger project — my Chawton Mittens are 11.25 sts/inch, in colourwork, with added cables, and that’s just never going to be something I’m willing to do on a garment or a blanket, but for mittens? Sure, bring it on!
Overall, it was a really incredible evening, and I am so overwhelmed by the love I receive from this knitting community. Thank you, friends!