Monday, September 29, 2014

Angels' Wings

In place of my regular blog post this week, I decided to hold sort of a celebration of life for my dear friend, who passed away early Thursday after a prolonged illness.
I invited a few people to share their memories of Susan. Most people online who knew her are on The Knitting Community. However, if you're here, and you have memories to share, you can add them in "Comments." 

While you're thinking about that, please enjoy some of the cheese ball Susan made for my cast-off party when I was recovering from thumb surgery. (It's still tasty and calorie-free!)

Jenny, from the Knit Picks Knitting Community, had this to say:

"Susan was an integral part in making the Knit Picks knitting community the wonderful place that crafters have come to know and love. Her support for her fellow crafters was incredible, and it was clearly a passion of hers that she loved to share with others. Susan was a very special lady and she will definitely be missed by all of us here in the community."

One of Susan's early friends on the Knitting Community was Carol, who actually managed to meet up with Susan in person:

"I remember how Susan encouraged me as a new knitter to just keep knitting.  And although she liked doing intricate patterns (and thought just knitting was boring) she said it was the knitting itself she wanted me to pursue. (I still am just doing the old knit stitch and nothing else) and when we met in Ohio, Susan's generosity of spirit showed when she gave me some gold yarn she had created and I gave her some wonderful curly fleece I had gotten at a local wool and sheep festival." —Carol Meissner

Some of us who probably knew her best never got to meet her in person. Cherylbwaters and I had a special bond with Susan:

"In the fall of 2007, I broke my wrist. Shortly after that my mother-in-law fell ill and came to live with us. Then in early 2008, one of my sisters was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. So by the end of 2008, I was extremely stressed out. So, I was puttering around Knit Picks desperately looking for something new to knit. About that time, the first Mr. Foster kit came out. So I ordered the kit, but I knew I might need help. Although I had been a long time customer of Knit Picks, I had never joined the Knit Picks Knitting Community. I became a member in order to join in the Mr. Foster KAL. At first I lurked around and didn't say anything. Soon I became hooked and started making comments and once I made a few comments, I found that I couldn't stop. I quickly joined several other KALs. I had joined Ravelry but found it quite intimidating. But the knitting community here felt comfortable. It was better than my local guild and the small knitting group I belonged to because the time was flexible and the people were very helpful and friendly.
"Then Kelley Petkun decided to interview some of us for one of her pod casts. She happened to choose Peggy Stuart, Susan the Blue Lake Knitter and myself. Although we knew of each other in the community, we certainly were not close at the time. But the three of us started corresponding in anticipation of our interviews. Then we had to wait quite a while for the pod cast to be released. So we kept corresponding in anticipation of the pod cast. This created a long lasting friendship between us. We have messaged each other almost daily since then. We didn't talk just about knitting, but also about our families, any problems we had, just about anything. And when Susan would discuss us with her sweet husband, we were known by the states we lived in: Utah (Peggy) and Texas (me).
"I cannot say if we would have become such good friends if we had met in person, but there was something about our correspondence that allowed each of us to open up and share our joys and our miseries.
"Susan was the baby among the three of us, in age and knitting years, yet she was a very guiding light. We always had to tease her because she would always describe herself as a newbie. Susan was never afraid to try new techniques. This made her grow rapidly as an experienced knitter. We had to constantly remind her that although she may not have been knitting super long, she was experienced because she wasn't afraid of knitting. She soaked up every thing she could about knitting. Then she and Peggy took off spinning. They had to drag me into it, kicking and fighting all the way. I can never forget how much they have made me blossom in the world of fiber.
"I cannot believe that Susan is gone. She will always remain in my heart. Thank you, Susan for being such a wonderful friend and being a shoulder to lean on when needed, for all the encouragement you have given me, and for all the laughter you brought into my life. I'm not sure what I will do without you."

Cheryl has pretty much told the tale. I remember getting the email from Knit Picks in September 2009 inviting me to be interviewed by Kelley on the podcast and noticing that the email had also been sent to Cheryl and Susan. We began communicating through emails and personal messages. ("Are you going to do it?" "I'm so nervous!" "Just imagine everyone in the audience naked.")

Soon we were "talking" virtually every day. Over the following years, Susan brought in one or another of our Knitting Community friends to participate in our "talks." These people would stay for awhile and participate, but mostly it was just the three of us. If one of us found out that someone in the Community had a fiber issue that one of the others could handle better, or we thought it would be good for the others to put in their two cents' worth, we would share that information. We popped in so often that we became known as the Knitting Community's "Fairy Godknitters." We made Baby Surprise Jackets, Cookie A Socks and Entrelac together. We explored spinning and even weaving together.

While we didn't agree on everything (who does?) we shared an obsession with fiber and what we could do with it. Susan and I shared our love of dogs, nature and red wine. We had grandbabies at the same times (more or less) and rejoiced over each other's new additions. Susan and I had the same drop spindle (Golding Tsunami), spinning wheel (Kromski Sonata) and, until Susan broke hers, camera (Canon PowerShot A1000 IS).

Sometimes the three of us would pass messages back and forth until late in the night, always finding something to laugh about or cry over and sympathize with, such as when we lost a person close to us or we had a medical problem, or I would take the wrong meaning because of a typo or ambiguous wording.

We even planned to get together in person, but somehow it never happened. However, I think Susan's message to the two of us--shortly after we found out about the podcast--sums it up. In fact, it was prophetic: "Well, one thing for sure," she wrote, "the three of us will know each other a little better when this whole thing is done. --S"
Some of us are making Susan's family an afghan. If you are interested in participating, please let Cheryl know (Cherylbwaters). The squares can be knitted or crocheted, earth tones or neutrals preferred, washable wool if possible, plain or complicated, and 6" blocked. She will put it together for us. If you are in the UK, send your squares to Mrs. K, and she will send them to Cheryl.

If you want to take some time to remember her, here is Susan's page on the Knitting Community and here is Susan's Ravelry page.
Somewhere in Heaven there's a new angel who has gained angels' wings in place of Fairy Godknitters' wings.

If there's no knitting or quilting in Heaven, it isn't Heaven. Share your memories in comments.
My regular blog will be back next week. I'm working on a quilt and my sock monkey, and should have something to share by then.

No comments:

Post a Comment