Wednesday, March 19, 2008

F is for Friendship v2

Sometimes you find special, forever friends when you least expect it. The ones that, if given our "usual" parameters of what draws us to another, are completely off the radar. And aren't those the ones we cherish all the more for the unexpected windfall their friendship brings?

Something else I often ponder is the paradox of the knitting "community". I mean, here is a hobby that many of us execute in the evening, in front of the TV or computer, silent or with the occasional remark from the S.O. thats often met with, "shhhh, I'm counting!" Yet all we want to do is share our hobby!

We seek out other knitters wherever we go. We form groups, and clubs and social networks. We look for our fellow knitters at festivals. We glance at shoppers at the mall and wonder if that stunning shell is from the new IK and we might approach this fellow knitter to share our craft for even a few passing moments. We plan our vacations to coincide with the local knitting group's schedule and we make stops at local yarn shops part of the itinerary. We blog because it let's us "talk" to other knitters and share what we've wrought with our sticks and string. Hell, we go to movies cause we've heard Matt Damon is wearing some dishy knitware!

Yes, despite the fact that knitting can be a very solitary, self contained craft, all we want to do is share with other knitters and be part of that community.

Six years ago when I returned to knitting after an almost 15 year hiatus, I too was hungry for companionship for the hobby I could (and did) so easily perform alone. Unfortunately, Florida isn't the most knitter friendly state....sure we knit wool for relatives "up north" but it's kinda hard to get jazzed about kntting a wool sweater when it's 97 degrees with 100% humidity and it's May!

Ever vigilant for that elusive companionship, I got my "fix" from reading blogs. After all, virtual meet-ups were better than no meet-ups at all. Plus when reading the comments, there was the occasional Florida reader and I held out hope someday one would be from South Florida!

I know "that" day should be infamous but it was a day like any other. I was perusing the comments of a very popular blog and I noticed a comment from a fellow Floridian, woot!

I sent an email and we got to chatting and had so much in common....different knitting styles but we both had much we could learn from the other. There was such a strong connection, it didn't matter that my new friend was in northern Florida, we could be on line friends for now and maybe meet someday soon.

We chatted for hours, day after day...got to know each other but really only in a knitterly way...it didn't matter which of us was blond or brunette, tall or short, what education we had, our a/s/l (remember that annoyance!)....it mattered what cast- on we liked best and where the cheapest source for addi turbos was to be found :)

But that's the thing about stereotypes, no matter how evolved and enlightened you think yourself to be, they can sneak up on ya....cause my new friend had the kind of name that could be feminine or masculine and because I met my wonderful new knitting friend on a knitting blog and because "she" was such an avid and talented teacher and pupil I just assumed I had been chatting with another woman. But you my readers can guess the punchline here....I had been chatting for well over a month with a man....well actually even that's kind of a stretch cause despite his being wise and talented far beyond his years, I had been chatting with a FOURTEEN YEAR OLD BOY. Yeah, I was as shocked as you are now!

I told him we couldn't chat any more, it just wasn't seemly for a 30 something year old woman to be chatting with a 14 year old boy even if it was about something as benign as how to do the German Twisted Cast on.

Well my sweet,YOUNG friend made a very good argument - we did have a lot of knitting in common, we both longed for a "local" knitting buddy, we did enjoy each other's company, why should his gender or age matter -- um, good arguments all but IT MATTERED... but then he asked if I spoke with his parents and it was ok with them, could we still be friends?

And reluctantly, I agreed. I spoke with both his Mom and Dad and they realized their son was quite precocious and much more comfortable with people much older than himself. They told me they felt I was good for their son and they gave their blessing to our friendship....altho had we lived any closer together than a 6-7 hour drive I'm quite sure our friendship would have become just a memory :)

But as astounding as it seemed to me, both then and now, our friendship bloomed. Of course our primary interest was that ole knitting community but we got to know each other as so much more than knitters.

We've shared lots of laughs, almost as many tears and been thru some hairy times together and finally, after six somewhat interesting and volatile years, last week we met.

Meet the man who I'm proud to call my friend......meet my Austin

My favorite pic of the visit, so spontaneous and so Austin :)

One Dude knits, one Dude sleeps

We knit ginormous slippers together

He also cooked a fabulous dinner for us and brought me too many boxes of the first Girl Scout cookies I've had in years! The man so knows how to be a guest, doesn't he?

Mugging for the camera - bonus points if you can name the movie that's on the TV!

Gangsta Austin from the block, hee!



Look at those strong, expressive knitting hands! Knitter doesn't play, he's knitting Bayerische folks - now that's serious knitting ! I'm so very proud, my grasshoppa :)

He's also an extremely talented musician, playing the oboe, french horn and piano. In the next few months he'll either be attending a prestigious musical conservatory or going to culinary school in New York and Italy - ah youth (and talent!)

I leave you with a pic of my two best boys.....


I never expected a boy who became a man to be so very special to me but you've made my life so much richer cause you're in it, knitting dude...thanks for always loving me, warts and all, and letting me love you back even tho you're such a brat! I'm proud to call you friend, APC, and always will be!

43 comments:

twig said...

What a nice story. It is surprising how we're brought together.

WandaWoman said...

Oh, Debi, that is a wonderful story. It's amazing how the Internets has brought so many people together.

Donna said...

Debi, that is an awesome story! :)

Agnes said...

What a special friendship! You said that he was 14 years old and that kind of stuck in my mind while reading ... so I thought wow this is a huge 14 year old boy ... so huge he can fully block your door! LOL! He is not 14 anymore, right? My mistake! :D

kathryn said...

That is such a lovely story! Thank you for sharing it:)

kimberly said...

Isn't it amazing how knitting can bring together some wonderful people??? Never underestimate the power of the needle. Or yarn for that matter. I love the story and I hope he's the one who got the sock yarn because then it stayed in the 'family'. Say hi for me!

Emma said...

A toast to friendship !
May we all know it's true value.

Multi-talented, handsome and an awe inspiring knitter. Cood dude indeed !

KSee said...

what a wonderful story of friendship. precocious=genius. This guy is talented and shows in the pictures what a fun person he is. Hope you can post about him as he makes his decisions on lifes direction so we might keep up.

dropstitchknitter said...

What a wonderful story of friendship! I'm so happy that you found each other!

Dave said...

What a beautiful story. I can fully understand your initial trepidation, but it's nice to know our craft truly does transcend our differences and allows us to focus on our similarities.

Carole Knits said...

That's a beautiful story of your friendship. You made me cry.

Barbara-Kay said...

You can tell when a friend turns out to be special in person -- the cats like them!

Keep us updated from time to time on Austin's future, eh? It's too good a story to not hear the next chapter.

KnitNana said...

Wow! Terrific!!! And best wishes to Austin in his future endeavors - I'm interested in hearing, too, so you have to keep us posted as his story unfolds!
(love the photo of your "two boys" perched on the couch together)
(((Hugs)))

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing such a great story.
I'm in Boca are you close by?????

Anonymous said...

why did I hit anonymous.....how are you supposed to know who I am...LOL

caroline aka FiberTribe said...

Great story, Deb. you BOTH are pretty special, IMHO.

Leslie said...

Great story, Deb! He must be really impressive now considering his maturity, logic and communication skills at 14. I, too, look forward to hearing of his continuing adventures through you.

Dorothy said...

Oh man! I'm sitting here wiping the tears from my eyes. What a lovely story. And want a neat kid. I think you are both very, very blessed. You really hit the nail on the head when you talked about our "solitary" craft and yet our desire to build a community. I think of you and Kris and Lorette and Marguerite - all my friends from blogging. Ain't life grand!

elinor said...

That's adorable. At 18, I know all about knitter friendships crossing all kinds of boundaries. People tend to start out questioning my abilities, but I like showing off, so I usually get some respect. ^_^ Plus, he's really cute.

La Cabeza Grande said...

So few things make me smile lately. This is one of them. Thank you for sharing Austin. And I agree with Elinor. He's a cutie pie, mos def!

Suzanne said...

What an amazing story! I can see the strong knitting in him....I would be proud to call him my friend.

Maia said...

Great story! I love that we know so little about the superficial things when we meet people online. We get to meet the person before we have a chance to judge them based on age, gender, or looks.

Go Austin!

Debi said...

I once read somewhere, that when you meet someone on the Net, you learn to love them from the inside out instead of the usual outside in. You get to know their heart instead of their designer jeans :)

Cookie said...

What a wonderful story!

Carol said...

This is THE BEST post! A heartwarming story.

Teresa C said...

What a great story. Can you tell which prestigious musical conservatory? My daughter attends one, she plays the oboe, but is majoring in voice. If it is the same school I can get them to meet up.

You are lucky to have such a youthful friend with so much in common. This is a great story.

Marguerite said...

What an amazing story.

Love that last picture with your two guys sitting together.

La said...

What a very touching tribute to knitter friends! I'm so glad you finally got a chance to knit-up in person. It looks like you two had loads of fun! And Pman took it in his usual stride I see.

One day, I too shall meet you. Just gotta be able to get to Florida again. Maybe this year will be the year. I'll have an extra week of vaycay more than the DH. Hmmmmm. Time to go price airfare.

How far are you from Ft. Myers? I've got a grandbaby there, you know.

Opal said...

Aww that is so sweet and amazing! What a wonderful friendship. :) And to think he's stuck with knitting throughout his teen years. That's phenomenal!

Sheila said...

Hi Debi,

Came across your site via Ravelry. What a lovely story and thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Deb,

You are too sweet! You'll never know how much I appreciate you! Even moreso, your unrivaled ability to capture my true essence on digital film! I'll have you know that I *just* finished my heel on Bayerische.. and it's *WOW*... and for those wondering... I'm waiting to hear from Oberlin : ] Talk to you soon!

<3- Grasshoppa

Meg said...

oh I just love this story. I hear the weather in Oberlin is much more conducive to knitting!

Jessica said...

Great story! It's so nice to hear that friendship can transcend age in such a good way. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

And I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for an Oberlin acceptance. Great school! But if he gets in, he better bundle up!! ;)

Bridget said...

Oh I LOVE this post! What a smart kid, and good for you for taking the chance. I'm glad that the three of you had the chance to get together and meet in person (in fur?)...

Anonymous said...

Wow, that is such a great story. I totally understand your hesitation when you found out he was 14. With the crazy world these days it was only smart. Glad you worked it out with his parents and managed to stay friends. It is so nice to hear a story of such a simple thing--a friendship formed over knitting! :)

Sharlene

Daisy said...

Way cool meet-up! Love it. I just checked in to say that I bought my first OPI nail polish for my 14 year old daughter. The youngster at the store kept on trying to sell me a purpley-black, but I had to tell her I had a girly-girl not a goth-girl.

Judy B said...

Lovely story, that knitting can bridge the gap between age and gender

Batty said...

That's a beautiful story. And I hope those slippers felted down to a wearable size!

ck said...

That might be the very best knitting story I've ever read!

Rebecca said...

What an incredible story! It is amazing how the internet can provide friendship, isn't it?

Rebekah said...

It is definitely amazing. Strage. Think of what the knitters of the 1800's would think!

Jes said...

Awwww, that is so freaking cute! I don't know what to say. How awesome that it all worked out.

That's quite a future he has planned. You'll have to keep us up to date! =)

Norma said...

Oh, WOW, Bloglines has really let me down on this one! I'm so glad you spoke up. There I was, assuming you were still dead-in-the-water with the computer. I wasn't worried because of knowing about your computer woes, but there you were anyway, and I didn't even know it!

Lovely story, Deb and Austin. Best of luck to Austin in his studies. He has a very bright future ahead of him, I can tell.