The Knit, Old Saybrook
My mother whipped up matching sweaters for each of us when we were little: bright red hoods when we lived in New Hampshire to protect us from hunters, Fair Isle cardigans for our new Yankee life in Cambridge, a slightly misguided red, white and blue argyle vest for the first day of fourth grade. I remember them all. Intricate stitches and fisherman knits never threw her, the more difficult the better. But sadly, my mom was not a saver of things and once a piece was handed down through all three kids, out it went. I have just one baby sweater that was touched by her magic, manic hands: my aunt kept the sweet blue cardigan that she knit for her son and gave it to me when my daughter was born.
Mom knit so fast you barely saw her fingers move. In one marathon beach day she could easily finish off a sweater. She taught us also, in her impatient and distracted way, but I never picked up the craft. I could knit one, pearl one, but the most I ever made before giving up in frustration was half a scarf with the tension curling it to a tangle.
Every now and then I think I’ll drag out a pair of old needles and start something up, but I never do. I’m cowed in the face of my mother’s perfection. But here’s the thing. She wasn’t. There was one tiny mistake in every work she created. Because nothing in the world is perfect, she would knit in an error as her very last stitch.
So, you can imagine the flood of nostalgia I had when I visited The Knit, the new knitting shop in Old Saybrook.
Owner Betty Narducci gave me a tour of her unusual and hand-dyed yarns, offering up everything from alpaca, mohair and silk to lama and stinging nettle (and no, not painful, but it has the slightly course hand of linen). She works with custom dyers to achieve her hues and carries over ninety-nine gorgeous yarns. UFO (Unfinished Project Nights) are every Tuesday evening, so if you have a piece you’re stuck on, Betty will help you bring it to fruition (whether you’ve purchased the yarn from her or not). Classes will be a big part of the biz too, and you can download virtually any pattern you’re after from the genius RAVELRY, available on her website. Betty herself is a knitting master, working on her level 3 at TKGA (think the yarn version of a master gardener) and has a life-long devotion to the craft. Browsing the tactile wares, a thick skein of ivory fishermen’s wool called out to me. Maybe I’ll give knitting another go after all.
My sister, Billie, in a mommy creation!