When we create something with our hands and a loved one wears it, knitters know that this is special, that it is essentially a hug from us. But those of us who make a living knitting, designing, teaching…we rarely have anyone knit for US. A friend/student made me coasters a few years ago. They are about 4 in. square, garter stitch, and I have one on my desk right now. I absolutely treasure those coasters, because they were made for me. (thanks, Jill, I love you!)
So, when it was discovered that Mavis Smith needed a hug, and had no handknits made by someone who loved her to cuddle with, it was obvious that something needed to be done. Let me tell you about Mavis. She works all year round to bring Stitches events to knitters. These events are complex jig-saw puzzles with a zillion details to manage, manipulate, and keep track of. Right now, she is cleaning up from Stitches East, preparing for Stitches West, and planning Stitches South. It never ends. She has a cracker-jack team to help her, but the buck stops with Mavis. And she takes her job very seriously.
Mavis is the person who helps registrants whose course schedule got messed up, who lose a nametag, or who can’t find their classroom. Mavis’s cell number is on the back of teacher badges, so that we can call when the room is too hot/cold/dark. She makes sure the conference runs smoothly, and people are taken care of. Mavis is amazing, and really knows how to Get Things Done.
The teachers know all of this very well, and are devoted to Mavis. I haven’t been teaching at Stitches for nearly as long as other teachers, but I recognized her worth at my very first show. Anyway, there is a forum for teachers to communicate with each other, and I posted that Mavis needed a hand-knit hug. And….we were off. Sarah Peasley suggested that we knit garter stitch afghan squares, and she would sew them up. That was popular, but this is a large group of creative designers/teachers/think-outside-the-box types, and they didn’t all want to do garter stitch. I decided to do Annetarsia garter stitch, right out of “Annetarsia Knits”, which suited me perfectly! But, variety is the spice of life, so together we decided on a garter border, 50 sts wide, and 100 rows (50 ridges) deep, and anything the teacher wanted in the center.
Laura Bryant volunteered to arrange the squares and dye yarn for assembly to tie all of the squares together. There were some extra squares, and some blocks that weren’t square, that were made into pillows. Sarah assembled the blanket and brought the afghan personally to Stitches, where I got to see it before presenting it to Mavis. That is Laura standing by the bed, in the photo.
The Hug was presented to Mavis on Saturday night, the final night of Stitches East. Unfortunately I had already left by that time. But the whole point of this was for her to feel loved when we aren’t with her. I am assured by all that it was a huge and very welcome surprise, and that Mavis is now well aware of her place in our Knitting Universe. And now, she will always have a hug when she needs one.