Hi there! I'm Cristin, the coffee addicted designer behind Kozy Komforts and I am thrilled to be sharing my story here on the Our Maker Life blog!
I remember the first time I got a message from someone asking if I also repaired knit items.
The lady told me how she had dropped a stitch in a pattern and couldn’t figure out how to fix it. She told me that it had taken forever for her to get that far and that she was sick at the thought of having to frog back thirty rows to correct her mistake. After explaining that it was difficult for her to leave the house, I agreed to go to her - the minute she opened the door realization set in. She shuffled awkwardly back to allow me to come in, leaning heavily on the door as the corner of her mouth drooped, the muscles of her face clearly damaged or paralyzed. She mumbled something and gestured for me to follow her.
My feet moved of their own accord and I followed her into a brightly lit kitchen backed by enormous windows with a view of the lush back yard. She had a scarf laid out on the table with the offending stitch in full view. I looked over at her and she picked up a tablet and began to write with a stylus. She held it up for me to see and there were three shaky letters written…ALS. Now I understood why the scarf had taken so long, and why she didn’t want to rip back her work. I pulled out my bag and dug a crochet hook out, and then patiently showed her how to pick up the dropped stitch and correct the mistake. With the aid of the tablet we talked, she asked questions and I answered. In all it maybe took me five minutes to fix and an hour of conversation via the tablet, but it was the most meaningful thing I had ever done with yarn. When I went to leave she tried to hand me some money, but I waved my hand and refused to take it. Somehow it just didn’t feel right under the circumstances. I am not too proud to say I fought back tears all the way from her front porch to my parked vehicle where I sat until I could regain my composure. Somehow that one small encounter had really affected me on a level I wasn’t prepared for.
As news tends to do in small towns, word travelled fast and I quickly became known as that lady who knits things. There was a woman who messaged me almost frantic - her husband’s grandmother had crocheted him a blanket, one that he held dear particularly after she passed away. A thread had come loose and the blanket was slowly unravelling so she literally had to smuggle the blanket out of her house to get it to me for repair. I fixed it the same day and she smuggled it back with him none the wiser. Then there was another lady whose grandmother had made a blanket when she was a child. Her son later claimed it as his own and loved it so much a couple of holes showed up.
While I couldn’t fix the holes, I was able to duplicate the pattern and create a kind of patch to stitch over the hole. When I presented the blanket to her for inspection the look of utter relief on her face was all I needed to see. Later she sent me a photo of her son cuddling the blanket and once, while I was shopping for groceries, she ran up to me in the store and thanked me again.
Several years ago I fixed a wool cardigan for a woman whose father had passed away. He wore that sweater every day and it was all she had left of him. The sleeves were frayed and there were holes all over. It was clear this was a well-loved sweater and I completely understood why she needed it fixed.
The most profound repair I ever made wasn’t a repair at all. The same local lady with ALS that had first messaged me about fixing a dropped stitch messaged me again. This time she had a crochet blanket kit she had started with the intention of presenting to her grandson as a grade 12 graduation gift. Her message to me was simple: her ALS had become too advanced and she wasn’t able to hold a hook and finish it. She asked if I would finish it for her and without hesitation I agreed. Her husband dropped off the yarn and pattern from the kit she had purchased and I spent the next several weeks working on it when I could. Finally it was finished and I snapped photos to message to her. She immediately messaged me back her gratitude and relief that it would be ready in time to gift to her grandson after all. She promised to make arrangements to have the blanket picked up soon.
It must have been about two weeks that passed when I got a message from her husband asking when a good time would be to come get the blanket. He arrived the next night to collect it and I remarked that I hoped she would love it as much in person as she had the photos. His eyes filled with tears as he looked back at me and he told me she had passed away a few days earlier; the disease she’d been fighting had won. Out of pure reflex I hugged him and told him how sorry I was for his loss and relieved I was she had been able to see the blanket completed.
It’s been a couple years since, but I think of her every day. Motivated by how graceful she was even knowing what the outcome of her illness would be, she was the kindest and sweetest person I had ever met. She was the first person I ever fixed a knit item for but she wasn’t the last. It’s because of her that I still offer my skills at no charge because it’s an easy way to give back to the community around me. I am always humbled when people trust me with heirloom treasures made by grandmothers and relatives long since passed.
As a Maker I know how many hours went into making these items and how much love they were crafted with. I am fascinated by the stories behind each of these items and honored to be part of the history. When I first became a Maker I couldn’t have fathomed how far it would take me and the people I would meet along the way. People I would never have met otherwise.
Happy making, happy mending,
Cristin is a Mom of three daughters living in Leduc, Alberta whose design concepts are almost exclusively inspired by nature. When she's not reheating the same cup of coffee or creating she and her tiny humans can be found seizing every opportunity for adventuring in the outdoors. You can follow her Maker journey on Facebook or Instagram.