In honor of her recent birthday, I thought I should honor my erstwhile knitting companion, Jody Hennings, this week. Long-time readers will have been hearing about her for years, but we can always learn more, can't we? So, what's so special about dear Jody?
I met Jody pretty soon after my local yarn shop opened up. She was young, funny and a pretty good knitter. I enjoyed hanging out with her. Then she disappeared for quite a few months. When she came back, she was a GREAT knitter. You see, Jody's mind works differently from some of ours. Where people like Suna have lots of hobbies and dabble in some other things, Jody's mind is compelled to learn everything about whatever takes hold of her interest. She could never be someone who knitted simple patterns to pass the time. No way. She was driven to master the most complex construction methods (whoa, can she do short row shaping on a sweater), the most technical uses of knitting stitches (things she did with cables make yesterday's sweater look like a kindergarten project), and the most artistic possible projects (that woman, she can make lace sing).
The nicest thing about Jody's intense drive for learning is that she has an equally intense drive to share what she learned with her friends. When we all three lived in the same town, Jody would regale Cheri and me with technical details on yarn composition, dye, needles, construction of garments…you name it. It was like our own little University of Knitting. She used to share a lot of this stuff on her blog, and I hope she gets back to it some time, because everyone enjoyed the writings of KillerPeach!
Another wonderful thing about Jody is her generosity. She made me the incredible shawl you see at right as a birthday gift (that counted as a gift for like the next ten years) that I will always treasure. Silk and cashmere, in my favorite colors. Ahh. I wish I had a photo that showed it off better. But that's just the start. How can I ever thank her for buying and then spinning the yarn for my wedding shawl (see below)? She had to mail that yarn from the Netherlands, even!
I've been the beneficiary of a couple of Jody's other intense learning experiences. Though I'd been studying tarot cards and how to use them for many years, her knowledge of it quickly surpassed mine as she immersed herself in that topic a couple of years ago. She found decks I'd never have found for myself, and happily shared all her new ideas and thoughts on tarot.
And we can't forget dyeing. She, Tina and I spent a memorable evening dyeing yarn with KoolAid a long time ago…Tina (Chemical Pink) and I have stuck mostly with KoolAid, but not Jody. She bought wonderful professional dyes and spent long hours perfecting deeply shaded and incredibly nuanced semi-solid yarn. I got enough of one sample to make my Garden Path socks. It's the prettiest brown I ever saw. I hope she is able to actually get that business going, because I'd sure be among the biggest customers.
Then there was spinning (at left is my wedding shawl, of yarn she spun). Once she got serious on that one, she didn't produce lumpy masses of strange colors and textures. No way. She purchased only the loveliest of roving, got her own drum carder, and spun on her incredible new wheel some of the most beautiful yarn I ever saw, with glorious flecks of color or shimmer, but nothing gaudy or overly showy. That lets her knit the yarn up into mind boggling lace and garments. Shoot, I haven't even managed to spin a spindle's worth. I need me a new spinning mentor, that's for sure!
I've mentioned it before, but it was very sad for me when she followed her man to another country last year. It's a great adventure and I am hoping it gives her wonderful memories. But I miss having her around to share whatever new enthusiasm is growing within her. When she is on to a new topic, she's a sight to behold! Get out your notebooks and take notes, Dutch people!
Since I don't get to see her any more unless she has a few minutes during a visit with her family, I'm glad to at least get to look at her work often. Whether it's a shawl on my own stair rail, the lovely things she knit as yarn shop samples, that one pair of socks I have from yarn she dyed, or just the fun photos I have on my computer, she's never far from my mind. I am glad for email, Ravelry, and Facebook, which lets us far-flung friends stay in touch and keep learning from each other! Thank you, Jody, for bringing so much friendship, fun and knowledge to my life. Knit on!
More on Jody
She's KillerPeach on Ravelry
And you might enjoy the archives of Killer Peach, the Blog