Let me tell you a story.
In 1981 Jeanie Downie discovered that she was going to be a grandmother, being a knitter she wanted to knit something special for her grandchild and started to look around to see her options. What she really wanted to knit was a traditional Shetland Style Shawl. Her family was originally from the Shetland Islands and Jeanie wanted the connection to be passed on to her grandchild. Jeanie lived in Trail. There wasn’t much available information on Shetland lace at this time and certainly none in trail.
But Jeanie had heard of this company in Wisconsin. I don’t know how, perhaps she had read about it in a magazine or seen a small ad somewhere. Jeanie wrote (or perhaps made a phone call – I’m not sure of the exact details) to School House Press and received a prompt reply.
Jeanie perused the book and read the Woolgathering and planned her shawl. Later in the year Jeanie wrote another letter, this time to the other half of the business -at this time Meg handled the yarn. The yarn and “Mary Thomas’s Knitting Book” were sent to Jeanie and she started the shawl for her grandchild to be.
Approximately 25 years later and in Nanaimo I met Jeanie. She was a regular customer at Mad About Ewe Fine Yarns where I worked. We started to talk about lace, at this time I was just starting to play with lace and collecting all the books available as I found them. I had mentioned the Sarah Don book and that it was no longer available (this was before Dover reprinted the book). Jeanie mentioned that she had the book and had found it useful. That was the extent of our conversation.
Time passed. I hadn’t seen Jeanie in a couple of years and thought that she had moved away. I was almost correct. This Spring Jeanie came to visit me. She was moving and downsizing and cleaning out her stuff. She came to give me the Sarah Don book and to tell me the story of why she had it. Jeanie wanted to know that the book would be in good hands and from our conversations about lace came this great gift. With the book was a ball of left-over yarn – the extra’s from her shawl. I thanked Jeanie and said good-bye. We were very busy and I did not have time to really look at the book until a little later in the day. Inside the book was an incredible surprise, four copies of Woolgathering. And inside the Woolgathering’s, another surprise, the original receipts from both Elizabeth and Meg. I had received an incredible treasure. Thank-you Jeanie.
Many thanks to those who have shared and will continue to share their stories and experiences.