Emily is an elderly woman who I consider a very special friend and a very special person. She would not be insulted for me to call her a feisty old broad. I mean it in the very best way. She has a spirit that says I won’t quit no matter what, I can do anything I set my mind to and I will overcome any obstacle. She also has a generosity of spirit that is hard to find these days and she is an Encourager.
I met Emily because i wanted to learn how to knit. I had wanted to for years, but I thought the only way to knit was the way I tried to learn when I was young and that was very difficult for me. I crocheted mostly and knitting was so opposite of that method that I could not get used to it. Add to that, the needles were almost as long as my young arms. lol.
Many years later, I saw a woman knitting with circular needles. I had never seen such things and watched her for a little while before asking her about them. Not only were they circular, but she was knitting like I crochet, the yarn on the same side and everything. I had entered the world of continental knitting.
The little storefront I met this woman in, had a knitting group that met once a week. I went.. all excited and ready to learn. I learned to knit and purl and started a scarf. By the end I hooked. I loved it. My mind was filled with visions of sweaters, scarves, mittens and the holy grail of knitting in my mind…socks. I couldn’t wait and with my finished scarf in one hand, and a piles of patterns in the other, I went to the meeting the next week.
I won’t go into a lot of detail other than to say…I would still be doing scarves if I had stayed there. It was very much a clique and hard to feel part of the group. My little piles of patterns was pushed aside with barely a glance and was told to work on another scarf. I was discouraged to say the least.
The store next to this one was a shop called Emily’s Needleworks. I walked in there, less brave than I had been the first time and started looking at the most beautiful…and expensive!…yarns I had ever seen. All I knew of yarns were the ones you buy at Walmart/Kmart. I now know the difference. Those prices seem very reasonable to me now that I know what a difference luscious wonderful yarn can make to an item.
Anyhow, I showed Emily my patterns, in front of the other ladies sitting around her table and knitting, and waited to hear the same thing… I can’t do it, the patterns are too hard, I shouldn’t be looking at things like that yet. Instead, I heard, “Which one would you like to do first?”
Instead of feeling like I was a bother, that I was a bit dense for not understanding something the first time she showed me or how dare I even consider moving into the greater knitting world, I felt welcomed and encouraged to try whatever my little heart desired.
When I made mistakes and couldn’t figure out what to do or how to fix it, Emily would patiently undo my messes and knots and show me how to do it right. When I finished something and all I saw was the mistakes hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) within and pointed them out, Emily would say, “I don’t want to hear about the mistakes. It’s beautiful and if you don’t point them out, most people will never know they are there.” She would also tell me that if people pointed out all my flaws, mistakes, booboos and knots in my finished items, then they were not very good friends and don’t deserve to see my lovely projects or have anything made for them.
It took a while to sink it, but I’m much better about it now. I know where my booboos are, and I may show them to her so I can ask how to do it better next time, but I don’t broadcast them unless its for a reason. I take the time to admire what I made and see it for the good things in it; the lovely colors, the soft textures, the warmth or fit of it. I proudly hold up my finished treasures and say I made it! If its not to everyone’s taste, that’s ok. Quality people, quality friends will appreciate it for what it is even if its not their taste and will be kind and encouraging about it. One or two friends, you can point out little things and laugh together about it, rather than judging it. I learned all this from Emily as have many, many other people whose lives she touches.
People get torn down enough. A person who can encourage you, cheer you on, tell you you can do it, laugh with you not at you, teach you without talking down to you and show you how to age with fire, with spit and vinegar and being true to who you, not what others think you should be …that’s hard to find. That’s Emily.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if we all could be an Emily to someone?