I have introduced you to my great friend and knitting buddy Linda Kaufman, but I haven't introduced you to my other friends. I am going to do that through the things I have knit for them. I don't know about you but I am very particular about who I knit for. I must love them and they must appreciate the art of knitting. I must feel that they truly get the time, talent, treasure and love that goes into each garment. I once knit a Christmas vest to raffle off for United Way. It was adorable. It had a Christmas Tree which I decorated with wonderful little trinkets and tinsel. The yarn was an exquisitely soft one that felt great to knit. The woman who got it was thrilled. A co-worker asked if I would knit one for her. I said of course and she only had to pay for the materials. It was $100. She said she wouldn't pay that much and she would buy the yarn at Walmart or Hobby Lobby. That is when I learned for sure that I was a yarn snob and understood more about who I would and wouldn't knit for. I said I would pass on knitting the vest. I knit for people who love great yarn.
I would like to introduce you to one of my best and most memorable friends Toni Carrol.
I would like you to squint and use your imagination on this picture. I knit this pattern as a shawl for Toni. It was knit the long way (cast-on 160 stitches) so the ribbon yarn went the length of the shawl. It was knit in a beautiful copper. Toni loved to slip it on for the cool South Haven evenings. It was really very lovely.
Toni passed away 2 years ago. I would like to share with you the eulogy I gave at the celebration of her life. I even mentioned my joy in knitting for her.
"My name is Jan Parson and like many of you Toni was my dear friend. I would like to talk about what it meant to me to have Toni as a friend.
Toni collected friends like many people collect fine wine. She found those she loved, kept us close then nourished us with her wit and wisdom. Toni preferred cheap wine and fine friends to fine wine.
Toni loved to cook and share her creations. Was there anything better than a pot of Toni's soup? Some of my best memories of Toni include soup, salad, bread, wine, Tim and Dick. She was a master of vegetables and herbs in a pot.
Toni was my bridge partner in Adrian for years. She was a teacher, student, and lover of bridge. We had many adventures playing together. We taught and learned from each other but we didn't always agree. When Toni kept score she was known for making addition mistakes. When confronted by one woman about the incongruence of her being a math instructor and making mistakes adding Toni said, 'I am a mathematician not an arithamatician.' How many of you have heard Toni say, 'Down one is good bridge.' or 'The tens provide texture.'
Toni loved color, the brighter the better. You could see it in her home and the beautiful jewelry she made. I loved knitting for Toni because I could always pick the beautiful, brilliant colors I loved and know she would love them, too.
Toni loved books. Some of our best conversations included a pencil and a piece of paper sharing the titles of books we thought the other would enjoy. I was fortunate to be able to attend one of Toni's book clubs. What a hoot. All books with strong women as the protagonist solving mysteries. Doesn't that fit how Toni lived her life?
I learned much about feminism and liberal issues from Toni. No matter how far left I thought I stood on an issue, I could always look over my left shoulder and find Toni standing there. I was happy when the affordable care legislation past, but Toni felt it had not gone far enough and was disappointed it had not included the public option. Once again Toni was thinking of others. Not only was Toni a believer, she was a worker for issues she believed in.
I talked to Toni a lot as I wrote this. She provided guidance reminding me of things I should say. She wanted me to remind you that we need to take care of each other. She wanted me to remind women to stay strong and proud.
On behalf of all of us who called Toni "my friend," I would like to thank her for everything she gave to us."
Of course, Toni was the recipient of a Jan Bag. The one thing I wanted to make for Toni but didn't was a scarf with beads knit in. Toni, I love you and am thinking of you. I hope you enjoyed meeting my friend Toni.