Last Thursday my Aunt Sandy, one of my lovely aunts who taught me how to knit, passed away suddenly. It's surreal that she's gone, and she will be sorely missed.

Aunt Sandy at my rehearsal dinner
Aunt Sandy (left) and Aunt Donna at my rehearsal dinner

I've been lucky to have her in my life. She knit me sweaters as a kid (all the colorwork sweaters in Knitstory), and if it weren't for her and her sister, my Aunt Donna, I probably wouldn't knit. Like all good aunts do, she spoiled her neices and nephews, and I will always treasure our moments: at the shore, birthday manicures, knitting, and so much more.

Aunt Sandy dancing with Hailey

When I was 3, I was convinced that the best gifts were those gift baskets that come wrapped in cellophane. (Unfortunately, most come with coffee and other things that kids don't like.) After learning from my mother that all I wanted was a gift basket (and that the cellophane and bow were very important), Aunt Sandy assembled a gift basket for me, got it shrink-wrapped, and finished with the perfect bow. Although I only remember it through the retelling of events, I am still that little girl who shrieked and jumped up and down from the love of her aunt.

Ocean City Boardwalk
Aunt Sandy's the glamourous one on the right.

As a child, I spent a week each summer at a beach house on the Jersey shore with my aunts and grandparents. There I learned to love walking the shore for shells, to love skeeball, how to felt, that frying seafood doesn't make me more likely to like it, and that I can't sit still long enough to tan on the beach. After I learned to knit, we had competitive knit alongs each summer (with three entrants) with ambitiously large projects considering the time we had allotted.

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One of her favorite stories to tease me with was the time when we were at the shore when I, wanting to have a burger like everyone else (but hating those of a beef variety), ordered a bacon cheeseburger with a vegetable burger. My bacon veggie cheeseburger got me an "Excuse me?" and strange looks from the server and the rest of the table, but it was quite delicious and worth it.

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When I learned to knit, my aunts explained to me that some people are more "texture knitters," preferring to add cables or lace to their projects, and others are "color knitters," adding complex color work to their projects. Aunt Sandy was a color knitter. For the longest time I've been more of a texture knitter; however, I've recently started learning how to color knit and was very excited to show her the charity hats I've been adding color work to.

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I can't find any pictures of the two of us knitting (probably because she was often behind the camera); however, I have the many projects we knit together at the beach and in the winter. Although she's gone, I will always be her knitting pupil and loving neice.

Walking the Jersey Shore