Almost 16 years ago, my grandmother went into hospice care in Arizona. I had just had my second child and traveled with my newborn to go spend whatever time I could with my grandmother before she passed away. It was a very special time in my life, on so many levels — my dad was there with me, and he and I didn’t usually get a lot of one-on-one time together typically. While much of our days were spent in the hospice care center with my grandmother, the time I was able to spend with my dad was equally as precious to me and is something that I will forever be grateful for.
If anyone has ever sat through a loved one’s passing, you know that it can be a difficult wait, full of many conflicting emotions and feelings. We don’t want them to go, we don’t want them to stay in pain, we aren’t ready for them to leave, we want them to be at peace. It was during this time that my dad’s aunt decided to try teach me to crochet. I say “try” because wow, I was NOT good at it! But I bumbled my way through and within a few weeks (ok maybe months) I had finally made my first scarf.
As the years passed, I made various scarves and hats, never absolutely loving crochet, but having that deep and overwhelming urge to “create” that I just could not find a way to satisfy and like so many others, when COVID forced everyone into their homes and cut us all off from family, friends and loved ones, I decided that it was time to teach myself to knit.
It was as if the heavens opened up in front of me.
I LOVED IT.
“Now, how do I make socks,” I wondered… and I found my way to Ravelry where I searched, purchased, and saved hundreds of stunningly beautiful sock patterns that were FAR beyond my skill level. I lovingly bought the most beautiful skeins of hand-painted sock yarn, learned all the terminology, started to build my “stash,” all before I ever even attempted to cast on the first pair of socks.
In all honesty, I was terrified to try to knit socks. I am almost embarrassed now to admit that it took me almost six months after I learned to knit to do anything more than dream about that first K1P1 cuff. The very first pair I finally cast on was following along with one of the Crazy Sock Lady’s vanilla sock patterns, and let me tell you, if you’re ever on the fence about learning to knit a pair of socks, pick up one of her patterns. They are well explained, easy to understand, and best of all, she gives you video tutorials of all the different areas you could possibly go wrong with.
Within a very, very short period of time, I realized that this wasn’t just a hobby for me, it had become a passion — and a rather expensive passion I might add. Rather than risk my marriage, I decided that I should try to dye some of my own sock yarn, and it was then that I realized I was really in trouble! Who would have thought that dyeing sock yarn would satisfy that need to create even more than knitting would?!? My husband rolled his eyes, lovingly gave up our dining room to become my crafting room, and Cashmere and Coconuts was born into existence.
You may wonder, why Cashmere and Coconuts? The Cashmere part is a bit more obvious, but the Coconuts has meaning for me as well. When you think about a coconut, the outside is amazingly hard and difficult to get past. You can hammer at it, bash it with a rock, and it takes a good amount of time chipping away at the outside of a coconut to make any sort of headway. For me, life has been a bit like a coconut… and my journey into the world of knitting, dyeing and fiber arts in general has been especially so. I chipped away at that hard outside of the coconut, learning, making errors, probably going about things in ways much more difficult than they really needed to be. Eventually though, we get to the inside of the coconut, and we discover something magical. Thus, Cashmere and Coconuts was born.
When I think back on those early days of learning to crochet, all those years ago, and where I am today, I am very thankful that I kept bashing away at the outside of that coconut. I hope that my story inspires you in some way, that you find that perfect skein of yarn, an amazingly beautiful pattern, a cloudy fluff of wool — it can be anything! — and you start chipping away at your own coconut. Learn something new! Try a new technique! And discover the joy that comes from persistence, hard work, and most of all, Cashmere and Coconuts.
P.S.: Our shop is having a 10% off sale now through 2/14.