Friday, September 10, 2010

Bon Voyage Fran!

I am so not fond of goodbyes but it's time for us to bid Fran farewell and good luck. After having the wonderful pleasure and honor of her company at HCW for five years, we are releasing her into the wilderness of New Jersey. Fran's from the NE and after some amazing world travels back in the day, and 18 years in Austin, she and her husband are heading back to their roots. But the good news is that Mr. Fran still has work in Austin and will be coming back regularly and yes, Fran says she's going to make some of those trips with him. So YAY for us!

I talked to Fran a bit this morning, right after she signed off on the sale of her Austin house and went out for celebratory pancakes at Kerbey Lane. I asked her to tell me again about her history with the shop. As she recalls it, back in the spring of 1997 a friend of hers started talking about knitting. Fran said she used to knit and so she became a born again knitter, visiting HCW when it was downtown. Then, like a lot of us do, she started working with Suzanne.

"I loved working at the store," Fran says. "It was a great opportunity. I had always worked with children. I had never really been around so many adults at one time. That was really a nice experience for me. It was nice because knitting is fun-- it’s not a critical thing, like you’re worried about some child learning to read."

While I understand what Fran means by that, as I told her, her teaching skills helped me so much that it was almost as big as if she'd taught me to read (the one passion I have that rivals knitting). When I took a sweater class with her, it changed my life, really. I had so much fear around trying out a tricky pattern and learning how to sew seams and finish. But Fran's patience was amazing and these days whenever I make a sweater I do it with joy, not fear, and I think of Fran. So thank you for that Fran, thank you more than I can say.

Fran says she hasn't made any knitting connections in her new hometown yet but figures it won't take long. "I know where all the stores are. There are about four that are not too far away. Plus one of those has weaving, too, so I won't have to call Suzanne every time I need help. There’s an active weaving guild there I’ll join. I’ll find my little niche."

She figures she'll teach some private knitting lessons and, one of these days, visit a shop and see about teaching a sock class. Her students will be lucky to have her. I asked Fran to tell me a little about her teaching philosophy as I worked to keep her on the phone for just a few more minutes...

Here's what she said:

I think it’s helpful to take a class for a sweater and have somebody hold your hand through the first time. Then you get so much confidence you can tackle it on your own. And you know you can always go into the store and ask a question. Suzanne has created such a great climate for that. We're always there to help everybody. We love knitting and want everybody to keep knitting. I loved teaching knit 101. I loved to see those people come back again and again. And to see people who’ve joined my Tuesday night class. I loved to see the progress people make over time, and I loved to see the enthusiasm.

Fran-- thank you. We are going to miss you so much and we hope you have a spectacular time!


The Gang


Sara said...

Fran- where are you moving in jersey? I live just outside of Philadelphia in new jersey and teach knitting classes in Philadelphia. If your coming down here I'd love to meet up! I love HCW - I discovered it on my last trip to Austin.

Tara said...

Oh wow, that's one of those bits of news that hits you so many ways. I'm excited for Fran and her husband moving back "home" but I'll sure miss her. Fran has always been a part of HCW for me. Here's to you Fran, thank you for all the help and best wishes for your future.

lindar said...

Gonna so miss my bud in color! Yes, we love the same yarns and colors...It has been wonderful being friends with you and I know we will keep in touch!! Have fun in "up North"! I am a little bit jealous.... a little bit!

Stacey Smith said...

Farewell, Fran! I enjoyed the lace class that I took from you several years ago. Good luck and take care! You'll be missed!