By Davalynn Spencer @davalynnspencer
I knitted once.
Many years ago, I needled my way through a scarf for my soon-to-be-husband, hoping to keep him warm in Colorado’s snowy clime while I wintered in temperate California. That scarf was the extent of my knitting career.
When I started writing this year’s Christmas novella, Snow Angel, I discovered that my heroine knitted despite her physical challenge. My own knitting experience wasn’t enough to help her out, so in order to keep the details realistic, I contacted Ann Goldman, owner of Yarned & Dangerous in downtown Cañon City, Colorado.
I asked Ann if a woman like my heroine, Lena Carver, would be able to knit. Ann and her crew grabbed their needles, assumed Lena’s disability, and found a way. Yes – it was possible!
The results of their efforts made it into the story.
I met Ann when she owned the Christian book store in town, Words of Life. She hosted several book signings for me, and our friendship grew over the years.
With the changing times and demise of nearly every independent book seller, Ann survived with the help of a knitting nook she opened at the back of the store. It became a gathering place where women came with their projects, seating themselves around a large central table, surrounded by walls of colorful yarn and thread. It was a veritable visual feast of color and texture, as well as a safe and soft place to share dreams and heartaches.
The book store has since closed, but Ann’s new Yarned & Dangerous thrives at the opposite end of Main Street, just as colorful and just as welcoming. Thanks to Ann and her crew, my heroine, Lena, warms those she loves with the work of her hands. Just like Ann.
“I learned to knit when I was a little girl in school,” Ann told me. “Everybody in the class had to learn to knit. And purl. Because we had to rib.”
(Whatever that means!)
“We were all working on a project,” she said. “Everybody did something with their hands.”
Those days of learning a skill one could actually use turned out to be a good investment for the little girl who grew up to raise a family, earn her MBA, and run her own business.
The image at the top of this post shows the scarf I made when I was 19. My first (and last) knitting project and absolutely a labor of love. The little red yarn doll is one I made last week (no knitting required!). It represents an act of love in my novella, something that warms the hearts of children in a small town during Christmas in the 1800s.
Do you have any handmade projects that have figured prominently in your holiday celebrations, or a skill you learned from a grandmother or parent that lovingly warms the heart? Please take a moment and share your experience in the comments below.
~Love warms the heart. Click To Tweet
Night edged closer to the house. Lena fed the hearth fire and banked the cook stove for morning, but sleep evaded her. Her knitting called, so she trimmed a lamp near her rocker and settled in for the evening.
The fire crackled, its woodsy warmth a companionable presence as she dug through her scrap yarn, leaving Tay’s scarf for later.
Last year she’d made eight yarn dolls for little girls at the church party. This year, two new families had moved to town, their fathers taking jobs at the lumber mill. Each had one girl, but rather than miscalculate or fail to note family visiting from elsewhere over the holidays, Lena chose enough yarn for twelve dolls. Better to have more than she needed rather than too few. No child should be left out of the excitement of peering into a small paper bag and finding cookies, candies, and Christmas surprises—yarn dolls for the girls and wooden tops for the boys.
Connect with Ann via her Yarned & Dangerous web site or on Facebook.
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(c) 2018 Davalynn Spencer, all rights reserved.
#WesternRomance #ChristianFiction #HolidayRomance
9 thoughts on “Love Warms the Heart”
Boy do I have a Christmas treasure that I made!!! In 1976 I made an Advent calendar out of felt. Some of the ornaments I traced out of coloring books, others I created to commemorate things that were special to each member of my family. For Roger I crafted a football, for Bonnie a bunny rabbit with a tail made from hairs from our dog Sparky, for Coleen an ice skate, for me a fireplace hung w/stockings. Of course the Christmas story, baby Jesus, a shepherd, a sheep, the Star. I added to the calendar many years something that completed it more. I have a picture of it on my cell phone, but don’t know how to get it here. I guess imagination makes the best “picture!”
Phylis – what a great treasure! Yes, I’d love to see it, but I can imagine it just as well, with items representing each family member. Wonderful!
My Mom taught me to knit and do all sorts of crafts when I was young. When I was around 10 my first knitting project was a pullover sweater for my baby cousin. Unfortunately bu the time I finished it his head was too big for the neck opening. That didn’t stop me though and when I was in my teens I went on to copy a Norwegian ski sweater my first husband’s family bought in Norway. I didn’t have a pattern except the finished sweater so I had to count all the stitches. I entered my finished sweater in a fair and was awarded first prize. I cherish all the memories of the time I spent with my Mom learning new things.
Jan – I’m so impressed! Congratulations on figuring out that Norwegian pattern. Indeed, those sound like monumental memories.
We made handmade Christmas ornaments every year until we were in Junior High, I think. My mom adored crafts, so she was more than happy to encourage us in this and made the ornaments with us. Sadly, we had a garage fire when I was in high school and all those ornaments were destroyed. . .
And how fun that the first two commenters were by women with the same name, albeit different spellings. 🙂
Phyllis – Those crafts sound like wonderful Christmas memories. So sorry they were lost. Thanks for commenting!
My aunt/Godmother taught me to crochet. My late husband suggested doing something worthwhile with it since I crocheted all the time. I started making wool soldier’s helmet liners for Christmas boxes sent to military members of our county. I’ve made over 2,000 since 2007, the year he passed away.
Nancy, what an amazing thing to do. To think, more than 2,000 of our service members are warmed by your efforts. Thank you so much.
Thanks for the wonderful post