Just Call Me Shirley

On Saturday, just before we opened up, there was a 80 something woman (guessing age here) waiting for us to open.

I greeted her at the door and asked how I could help her. She replied, “When my husband called the other day, they said he could get help on a project if he brought it in.” I adjusted my first impression and said, “of course”.

Henry had knit a toddler dress for his 18 month old granddaughter. It was a sweet jumper knit in purple (I liked him already) with a rainbow yarn for accent on the bottom and waist. He didn’t like the way the shoulder seam came out and wanted help with it.

He and his wife, Johanna, told me how they had moved from Michigan recently back to CT. When they lived in Michigan, they had a yarn store they could go to for help and there was a woman there named Shirley who always helped him.

While I set about to unpick the seam, they regaled me with stories about their life in Michigan. He and his wife were completely charming.

He had weaved in his ends so thoroughly (he wanted to make sure his granddaughter couldn’t undo the seam) that it took me at least 30 minutes to take out. It was almost impenetrable; if Houdini himself was secured with this seam he would have been hard pressed on how to escape.

We talked about the mattress stitch and 3 needle bind off. He had with him printed Google results for the 3 needle bind off. We decided to save that for another project. I didn’t want to take out the bind offs.

He understood the mattress stitch immediately and completed the second shoulder (which thankfully had not been sewn yet).

The only thing left to do on the dress was a round of single crochet on the neckline and armholes. He didn’t crochet and his wife, who does knit and crochet, was having trouble with her glasses and couldn’t do it for him this time.

I volunteered to do it for him if he had 15 minutes to spare. He was very happy and joked that he had 30! He told me he had knit sweaters for both his wife and son, but never for himself.

With the sweater completed (only ends to weave) he said he’d be able to get it to his son in time for his granddaughter to wear for Easter.

His wife turned to him and said, “I think you’ve found your new Shirley!” Awwww, I was so touched! It was a truly warm and fuzzy moment.

It was a wonderful start to my day/weekend and I look forward to their next visit when he picks out his next project.