Sometimes life leaves us speechless..

Autumn 2016

Sometimes life leaves us speechless. We are left with no words to describe all that is going on within and around us, while other times there are so many words that we don’t know where to start, or how to sift and sort the tangled collection of them so they may be communicated with some sense of order.

At times like this it seems that we have to remove ourselves from everything and wait. Wait for the emotions to settle, for the piles and busyness to be out of reach, and, in the quiet, wait for the words to come. Some things just take time, and we have to allow ourselves this time for the turbulent waters and sediment to calm down, so we can see things more clearly.

Accompanied by my mother and sister, after almost three years of not being altogether in one place at the same time, I view in the distance the Teton Mountains, a view I have not witnessed for over 40 years. Far away from The Net Loft and all of its busy life, I can somehow feel the words that have been hibernating begin to awaken. As I start to write, I listen to the gentle hum of the voices of my mom and my sister, a comfort felt deep down in my soul. This comfort calms and settles this chaotic mind of mine, which has had difficulty these last several months quieting down enough to even begin to think about the thought of returning to the blog, especially when I wasn’t sure where to pick up after I finished writing the “Long Story” about the Cordova Gansey Project origin.

As I continue to listen to the quiet voices and their long awaited up close and personal conversations, my eyes take in the expansive view. It is stark and dry, with craggy mountains in the distance. In the foreground, the wind sweeps across the valley of subtle shades of sage interspersed with gold and reddening grasses.

Fall is in the air, and the colors of the trees in the distance seem to be changing right before our eyes from green to brilliant yellow gold, as chokecherry bush leaves cry out with hints of rose and scarlet.

And so the message is not from me, but to me. The brilliance of the changing colors reveals a message and not so subtle reminder that time is marching on, and there is no holding it back. Time presses on. Our compliance is non-negotiable. Either we leap into life and observe and embrace each moment of it while we have the opportunity, or we will simply miss it. This moment will pass, the colors will fade, and the leaves inevitably will fall, with or without us. There are times such as this that we have to stop and let every part of ourselves experience and appreciate this moment, the views, the company, the sounds, the smells, regardless of everything else vying for our attention.                              

Along these same lines, if I had to describe anything about this time since last writing here, it has been something of this sort. There have been these opportunities that have continued to present themselves to me, and although I often feel incapable in so many ways, I have learned that I cannot let my inabilities keep me from doing what I am meant to do, and for that which I am actually capable of doing, even if it is a little difficult or challenging. It isn’t always simple, or easy, or without complications. I have also learned, however, that just because we face barriers, or stumble along, it doesn’t mean we are not supposed to be doing something. I think I have mentioned this before, but I keep going back to an old “Trigger Bill” camp motto, “You cannot let what you cannot do keep you from what you can”.

And so, it is with this attitude that I flung myself full force into FisherFolk, our event that was aimed towards honoring the heritage of the fishing and knitting connection. It was an idea and opportunity handed to me, and so I obediently followed its lead. As the year progressed, FisherFolk began to take shape. As I followed along caring for the details, the ideas grew and began to take on a life of their own, as each person involved embraced the concepts and ideas and injected their own inspirations triggered from within, prompted by the mission and goals of the Cordova Gansey Project and FisherFolk gathering.

After an intense season of planning and preparation, June 24 arrived, and our ten day FisherFolk event took place here in Cordova, bridging the gap between dream and reality, and creating an outward manifestation of past knitting and fiberart traditions entangled with our here and now actively engaged fishing community. With a bustle of activity, the arrival of old and new friends began, as we all joined together to celebrate the fishing and fiberart connections.

Event bags were packed, tables were set, classrooms were staged, baked goods prepared, and one by one details unfolded thanks to the many helping hands who brought life to the lists.

From my perspective, there seems to be an ongoing truth that I have witnessed throughout the years at The Net Loft, and I am sure it exists elsewhere as well. It is the life within people that bring things to life. Knitting patterns are just lifeless pieces of paper without the knitter’s hands that bring the instructions from concept to reality. Yarn is lovely, but it is that human touch behind the needle that create form and function. And so, in like manner, ideas and events such as this cannot or would not want to be performed singly, as it is in the group effort that community is found and experienced. Thank all of you who made this come together. You all know I could not have done it without you.

I suppose it is true wherever we are in the world as we come together to celebrate life via the fiber arts and handcrafts in general, that it is this commonality we share that create these special bonds of friendship. There is also this collective interaction that takes place with the dynamic of students and instructors multiplying ideas and instilling a special energy that is conducive to creativity and new ideas that happens when we are physically in the presence of one another.

Despite my busy role, there were so many moments of this event I will remember. I am grateful for the new Cordova Center for providing the space for our dinner, classes, and evening programs.   I tried ever so hard to soak every bit in. As I ventured from class to class to check in on things, I remember sitting in with handspinning instructor, Elizabeth Johnston from the Shetland Islands, as I walked into the room with those old wooden planks in the Pioneer Building.

I loved hearing her soft Shetland accent to the hum of the spinning wheel whir, smelling the fragrance of raw fleece, and then, as I left, sneaking off with a fresh baked blueberry coffee cake with homemade icing taken from the table with the big bouquet of wildflowers, made by the class hospitality helper, Kristi.  I was in heaven….

So many moments. It all came together (despite my many fears) and I reflect on it all, it was this lovely bow, tied from the golden ribbon of all my years….

In retrospect, because I had felt a prodding to explain the origins of the gansey project, I found myself writing and sharing these thoughts in what became “the Long Story” which is an important read to make sense of how things came about, as well as the heart and soul behind the project, and the event as well. All those blog chapters, one by one, each building on the last, and as the tale unfolded of its own accord, chapter by chapter, I realize now that something happened within me as I began to connect the dots of my own life in a way that I had not previously taken time to reflect upon, and in that, I was able to see that amidst this fractured life, there existed a golden ribbon that connected a lifetime of seemingly random events and encounters, and I gained a wide view perspective of meaning and purpose, especially in regard to my life as a “fisherknitter” and craftsperson. And so, as I have said, FisherFolk was the bow that tied the ends together, and wrapped up this lifetime of craft, fiber, and fishing into something concrete, while at the same time intangible, and I in the midst of it did my very best to absorb every drop of it, with thanks to all who helped bring  it to life.

To be continued….

I would like to thank Karen Templer for her interview and posting on our gansey project and event on her excellent blog for Fringe Association, released today in conjunction with photos and post from one of my favorite yarn shops, Tolt Yarn & Wool's Anna Dianich, who attended our event with gracious project and event photographer friend Kathy Cadigan.  Always so nice to meet these fiber friends along life's path whose friendships enrich our lives.

the continued story


Papercut designed and created for us by Annie Howe Papercuts.

(Story to follow at future date.)


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I remember you from the first entry of the Long Story. It seems like I am still telling this tale!
Thank you so much once again for your comment on the blog. I really feel compelled somehow to continue and not exactly sure how just yet, but I do believe and hope it is a means for stories to be shared, and mine just the gateway for others as well .
It truly is a story about here and now, entwined with a rich history, a past and a present, and I look forward to connecting with you as well as others more in this regard. There are definitely stories to be shared via our knitting connections, and we shall see where this leads us.
Please keep in touch,

Dotty Widmann

I have been with you since the beginning of your journey. I would find myself checking and recheck Ingles the blog, not wanting to miss one word. Being raised in a town on the Pacific Ocean myself, and living with one of the biggest Tuna Fishing Fleets in the world, my Dad being a Captain in the Navy, gave me sea legs with my first steps, gave me an even deeper understanding of the people the life and a true love for the Ocean. Many may not know, that even countries, that most don’t associate with the Oceans of the World, or fishing, have rich heritages in both and all have their idea and design of the perfect “fisherman’s sweater”. There is more to be explored, more tales to be told and designs to be shared. I too, hope that you but this fantastic adventure into a book. That those that participated, and those that wanted to, but could not, might share their stories and finished Ganseys, in a light that let’s everyone see, that this is not just a story from the past, or forgotten heritages, but like our children, our grandchildren, the story of a continuing way of life, connected to and shaped by the Sea!



Please do gather up the Gansey Project into a book. Clearly you were called to this work for whatever reason: To make sense of your own life, to create connections among fiber artists, to help fellow entrepreneurs, to bring more people to Cordova, to give voice to fishing as a lifestyle and the cultural pathway of knitting that has gone along with.

It seems that there is something sacred here. I am so touched and clearly others have been too.




Thanks for this lovely post. Can’t wait to read more! I also agree with the above comment- the event bags are gorgeous! Will they be for sale anywhere?

Mary Connerty

I love those event bags! They look so sturdy and useful. Will they be in your shop??


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