I alluded to the transient nature of my childhood in my last post, but wanted to share a little more insight into who I am and where exactly I’m headed in this knitting autobiography. I don’t suppose my story is more exciting, traumatic, or important than the next, but I do think there is great significance in processing the times, places, and people who have shaped us. And so I don’t just mean for this to become a singular collection where people can peer into my life and knit things that have great significance to me. It is also an invitation– to remember, to process, and perhaps to dream up your own creation, worthy of a cedar chest. An invitation to the incarnation of memories through craft.
Throughout my life, I have lived in nine cities in six states and three countries, with wandering summers in yet more far-off locations. Some were just pit-stops, others homes of great significance. Sometimes I have moved willfully, others by force and with great pain. Some moves have been accompanied by family, and some have been adventures with new people. I have had so many different accents and learned enough foreign languages that the tone and cadence of my voice literally changes depending on the people I’m with. I don’t mean to morph like I do, but over time I have adapted to my surroundings in such a way that I don’t even really know that I have a default. When I think of going “home,” it’s impossible to decide only one place to long for.
I was born and raised in upstate New York in a dying suburban neighborhood. Through divorce and remarriage, I imagine my childhood in a blended family was pretty typical. We rode bikes to the corner store for candy and wove friendship bracelets to sell at the bait shop. I missed my dad.
Family trauma moved me to Maine for three brief months, and forever altered the course of my future. My parents changed custody. I learned just how much loved ones can cause you pain.
A career change moved us to Western Michigan. Amidst corn fields, hog farms, and Friday night lights, my hardened heart softened. I met Jesus. A dear friend died. I spent summers on the lake with precious friends, and discovered roots in a place I’d never expected.
I went off to college; the lone girl from a small farm-town. I made bad choices, and then I made better ones. I changed majors, learned to love football, and made the best friends I carry with me today. Michigan settled into my bones.
I spent two college summers in Colorado. The mountains and the open sky lit fires in my spirit I could never imagine. My legs and lungs grew stronger than ever before. I also met a boy.
I finished college, madly in love with the boy. But we were crazy, and we both moved overseas– to different places. My year in Istanbul was hard and so beautiful at the same time, as I came into my adult self and learned about cultural identity and embracing your own insignificance in a world where you are an outsider. I drank tea and ate the most delicious foods. I learned to knit in earnest.
I returned to the US and the boy asked me to marry him. I did.
We moved out to the mountains of Southwest Virginia, where we began our little family and started a life together. We planted roots, we bought a house, had another baby. I found my tribe of women- mom friends and singles- who have made my life so very rich.
And now. We sold our house, and again like crazy people, packed up our children and our suitcases and moved to Asia. I’ve already eaten my weight in dumplings. I started a blog.
Some people make scrapbooks. Others journal. I am pretty lousy at both, but I have been longing recently to take time to remember these different signposts and stages. To sit down and really do them justice, to delight and remember the sweet spots, to grieve the losses and injustices. And while pen-to-paper doesn’t seem to be quite my style, needle to fiber feels just right. So my ambition this year is to take these chapters and turn them into a project– patterns inspired by the people and places that have made me who I am. I don’t plan to go in any particular order, and I have a feeling at the end of all of this, my “collection” will be a bit more of a hodgepodge. But that’s alright by me.