In April of 2009 I wandered into Tess' Yarns in Portland, Maine totally by accident. My best friend Mary Jo and I had attended a matinee at the Portland Stage Company and we had dinner reservations for six o'clock. We had an hour to kill and it was a gloomy, rainy day. We stumbled into the small shop primarily to escape the weather. Just inside the door, we saw bins filled with ribbon yarn. Neither of us could make a connection between these skeins of colorful nylon ribbon and the gorgeous knitted creations hanging above them. The colors were the same, but how could these cheerleader pom-poms morph into such amazing tops and scarves? We wandered through the rest of the cozy shop, met Melinda (the owner, who dyes ALL the yarn in the shop), Max the cat, and Deuce the dog. But we kept returning to the ribbon - marveling at the range of colors, touching the unwound skeins and the knitted tops. Such a great feel! Such wonderful color combinations! I was entranced.
Mary Jo and I were both knitters. But, since I had left the busy world of medical practice behind, I had much more time to spend on the craft. Mary Jo was still working as an Occupational Health physician. I was a somewhat new knitter and loved to challenge myself; I enjoyed trying unusual patterns and experimenting with new yarns. Mary Jo sensed my intrigue and offered to buy the ribbon and pattern for me to make a top for myself. "It's a birthday present," she said. Hmmm.....my birthday is October 1. It was only April. She explained that I had six months to finish making the present. Well, I was not about to turn down such an offer/challenge!
That is why this knitted top is so very special to me. I wear it on my birthday every year in Mary Jo's honor. I consider it my good luck top - I wear it when I attend my son's performances and when I do craft fairs. And I wear it on those days when I just need to feel Mary Jo's spirit.