Tis the season, as they say, and many are rushing around trying to find the perfect gift. One might suggest that presents often don’t come in the form of an actual object, but instead as a memory that returns to the forefront while your hands are busy knitting, for example.
A few weeks ago, I attended a knitting afternoon arranged by my fiber friend extraordinaire, Abigail Doan. She wanted to introduce a group of us to the “Turkish slipper.” After consuming soothing cups of tea, we seated ourselves in a circle, and received our kits containing the pattern for the “Sifa Silver Turkish Slipper” and balls of Figgi yarns.
Abigail explained that the pattern is designed by Catharine Bayar, a textile expert living in Istanbul, and is based on the traditional slippers her husband’s female relatives knitted for generations. Furthermore, the yarn, made from delicious, durable Turkish cotton, includes a strand of silver and is called sifa defined as healing in Turkish. We could not wait to start, and all cast on and began to work.
When the event finished, we packed up our work and headed off, with promises to be wearing our slippers soon. I am adoring knitting my slippers, not only due to texture of the yarn in my hands as I work combined with the stitches that create the lace work of the pattern, but for the memory that it sparked, and this present to me is invaluable.
Knitted slippers. Like a bolt of lightening, I recalled Nannie, my grandmother, giving us presents of her hand made wool slippers at Christmas time. Each year we received a new pair, sometimes with pompons, others with reinforced-soles, always knitted perfectly in bright color combinations, and so warm.
It is a long way from Hickory, NC (Nannie & Papa lived there) to Istanbul in real time, but in memory time, the distance is quite short, linked for me by yarn. This holiday season, I am thankful for the cherished recollections of time spent with Nannie, especially when watching her hands transform yarn into slippers or sweaters and crops into delicious dinners. And I am thankful for my friends and their experiences and memories. A true present indeed.
Pattern for Turkish Slipper maybe found on Etsy.
Information on Figgi Yarns found here.
Information on Bazaar Bayar and their knitting retreats found here. Perhaps, this is something to put on your to-do or wish list for 2015!
Such a wonderful post, Brece. Thanks for sharing your reflections and this fantastic account of your family’s traditions. These memories are truly invaluable.
Best wishes for the year to come,