Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Missoni and Valentino Yarns and Designs

My past life featured in Filatura Di Crosa
Recently whilst in the waiting room of my doctor's office a basket of yarn and knitting needles sat on the coffee table. This indicated to me that my doctor would not be punctual.    I picked up the white wool and continued to knit what looked like a scarf which a previous patient had started. 
I became engrossed in knitting and started to form a pattern using the blackberry stitch. 
Before long a woman commented on my speed at knitting and asked where I learned to knit.
I told her I learned at four years of age, at school, in Ireland.  She was surprised at my knowledge and I shared with her that I did make a living at knitting, designing and selling yarn for many years and had sold my business approximately twenty years ago.

She then asked where my shop was located.  I told her the name of my shop was The Knitting Place in Toronto, Canada and she said "Is your name Helen by chance?   I was stunned and said yes it was, whereupon she immediately pulled out her cell phone and placed a call to her mother and said "Guess who I am sitting with at the Doctor's Office"?   Her mother had been a client of mine for many years.  When I sold the shop she apparently missed me and my name was often mentioned at Shabbat Dinner and her mother still treasured and wore many of the one of a kind sweaters we designed for her.
We exchanged numbers and made a plan for a morning coffee meeting.

Our shop specialized in luxury yarns and we were recognized as the number one seller of Missoni and Valentino yarns, a line from Filatura di Crosa, in North America.  


The Knitting Place featured in Filatura Di Crosa Magazine circa 1992


It made my day to connect with this delightful and memorable client.  
















32 comments:

  1. Dearest Helen: This is the most remarkable story I have ever heard. I was also fascinated by the doctor's office having the yarn and knitting needles and how you naturally started knitting. I tried to learn and was not successful. Your post made me smile. xo

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    1. Hello Mona
      There were about three projects in the basket. I am supposing that the reasoning behind it is so patients will be more relaxed and worry free.The completed projects are then donated to homeless shelters. It is impossible to worry when one is knitting. It was a very pleasant encounter.
      Sending fond wishes to you.

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  2. What a great story, and it seems very unique to Toronto! You must have made a wonderful impression on all your clients and customers.
    Hope all is well with you!
    xo
    Louise

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    1. Hello Louise, I loved the years at my shop and my clientele stayed with me for many years and we became friends as one does. It was a very exciting time too in the yarn industry.
      I hope all is great with you and the fashion world.
      xx

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  3. I've come to believe that daily life is full of tiny little miracles, serendipitous moments like your wonderful meeting in the waiting room. What a lovely reminder of the joy you spread through your knitting and creative life.

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  4. Dear Helen,
    Such a lovely story. Isn't the world such a small place .!
    You were meant to sit there and meet her !
    You have had such an interesting life and still leading one Helen. Living life to the fullest.
    I hope you get to gether for a coffee.
    val xxx

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    1. Hello Valerien,
      I do occasionally meet some of my former clients and it is a joy. This was totally unexpected and one always ponders the question "are there coincidences or...?"
      I am probably a late bloomer and following many years in the travel industry, the opportunity was right to get into knitwear design. My grandmother was a designer but she died when I was 4 yrs of age and she had lived with us. My father told me I shadowed her and did not let her out of my sight. My Aunt Helen was also a very talented artist in so many fields.
      Painting is taking all of my free time for the last two decades. It is all creative as you so well know.

      Helen xx

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  5. This is a great story. I am very impressed Helen. Valerie is right - the world is a small place. There is a saying that slips my mind at the moment about just how close we all are in the universe. Wish I could think of it! Now it will drive me crazy all day :)
    Sam

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    1. Hello Sam,
      It is indeed a small world. It is always wonderful to find connections and be connected. My husband now jokingly says when I return home "so who did you meet today from your past"?
      Hope you have a great week
      Helen xx

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  6. A lovely story, Helen, and I had no idea you had a yarn/knitting shop back in the day. It is such a small world, and these happy coincidences are a delight. I am also fascinated by the idea of the knitting at the doctor's rooms. Perhaps others medicos should take up this idea. So you have lived in Toronto - we are off to Ontario in a few weeks, happily. Lovely post. xx

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    1. Hello Patricia,
      I have lived in Canada for a long time and now also spend time in Ireland and Florida. It is the best of all worlds. My years owning a retail shop hold fond memories and meeting some great clients. It was very creative and I loved designing one of a kind outfits for my clients. One time I designed an evening skirt and top for a clients who was attending a Ball in Boston. I even went as far as selecting her shoes and purse. Her boyfriend proposed to her on that eveving. She did extend a wedding
      invitaition to me and felt the outfit made him propose. We shall never know.
      Have a wonderful trip to Canada, are you going to be near Ottawa?
      Helen xx

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  7. Helen I had no idea about this fascinating side of your life and your obviously famously successful shop!! What a great story to be very proud of! I never learned to knot or crochet although I would love to learn (its never too late, right?)

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Designer Matthew Patrick Smyth

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    1. Hello Karena,
      I certainly loved the years I spend designing knitwear and being in fashion. We had our local regular clients as well as clients
      who travelled from New York, California and various cities in the USA. A lot of repeat business which led to friendships being formed.
      Thanks for visiting
      Helen xx

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  8. What a wonderful story, Helen. I taught myself to knit, but each time I stop for a length of time, I forget everything and have to start all over again. I didn't even know Missoni made yarn as I love their products.

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  9. Oh my-I know your shop. I lived for four years on Deloraine, between Avenue and Yonge, and loved that I had several stores within walking distance. Small world indeed.

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  10. Oh, Helen, your serendipitous adventures are always so magical and sweet! What a lovely compliment for you and your shop. From the meeting of her daughter in the doctor's office, to your upcoming reunion with her mother, (and your treasured client), it is all like a piece of woven whimsy!

    Thank you for sharing this thrilling experience!

    xx
    Poppy

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    1. Hello Poppy,

      It is like a piece of women whimsy or should we say knitted whimsy!!
      It never ceases to amaze me when coincidences like this happen and makes one feel that life is good.
      We had some very interesting clients.
      Hope your week is going well

      Helenx

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  11. Helen this is such a great story! How wonderful to have met the daughter of someone that you made so happy.

    I must say that I was unaware of your past life, I always thought you were an artist/painter!

    Have a wonderful week!

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    1. Hello Elizabeth,
      Her mother was not difficult to love and brought joy every time she entered my store. She knew what she liked and gave free rein on design. The best type of customer.

      My long time friends always joke that I set the trend for re-inventing oneself long before Madonna...Ha Ha. My career has always been in the creative side but it took many years before I knew that.

      Thanks for stopping in and for your good wishes Elizabeth.

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  12. How wonderful to be recognised and have your past self acknowledged so unexpectedly in such a happy coincidence, Helen! I'm sure your morning coffee will be delightful. I also admire your doctor's ingenuity and imagination in having knitting in the waiting room (if not his or her punctuality).

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    1. Dear Mise

      Your words outline so beautifully this happy coincidence. It was indeed beautiful to sit,over coffee, with Mrs X and her daughter and a lot of catching up and changes in that time.
      The said doctor was about an hour late and apologized telling me she got stuck behind a snow plough.
      Hope your are enjoying life.
      Helen xx

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  13. Replies
    1. Hello Julie and Danni and a warm welcome to my blog. Thank you for stopping by.
      We never know when our past will again present itself. It was a special day for me.
      Helen xx

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  14. Hi Helen - that is one amazing story .. fascinating to read about and such a coincidence ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Hello Hilary,

      It was a joyful re-union and I think everyone in the doctor's waiting room were listening in rapt attention to us.
      Hope you have a glorious weekend
      Helen xx

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  15. Darling Helen,

    It is this serendipity of life that is so wonderful. How delightful to make this connection of your business which is now but a distant memory for you. And, how very stylish to have been stocking such exotic yarns. No wonder you were the talk of the town and, clearly, have been sadly missed.

    It certainly makes a change to have knitting in the surgery waiting room. We used to rely upon such visits to keep us up to date with the celebrities of Hello magazine, but that seems to have been sacrificed in the name of infection protection. Still, the waiting times have not been improved and the piped music reminds one of call centres......oh dear!

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    1. Dearest Jane and Lance,
      It was a delightful interruption of my knitting whilst waiting for the laggardly doctor. The infection protection memo must not have been transmitted to the laggard as well thumbed ancient copies of Hello Magazine were sitting the table too.

      My years in the yarn business were most memorable and with regular clientele fond friendships were established. As in all fields of business when one moves on it is not always possible to keep in touch with many

      Piped music is bad enough but talk radio takes it to another level of annoyance.

      Hope you are enjoying Spring in Budapest
      Helen xx

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  16. Isn't it amazing when something like that happens? The odds are so great and yet ... Never say never, I suppose.

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    1. Hello Loree,

      You are right "never say never" and don't burn your bridges are good reminders.

      Fond wishes
      Helenx

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  17. How lucky that the doctor was running late ( aren't they always?! ) and you were able to rekindle this connection. And how fascinating about your wonderful shop.

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  18. What a wonderful coincidence! I am sure her mum was made up too, to rediscover you, I wonder if she will ask you to design some new things for her!

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  19. Hello Jane

    Glad to hear the doctor's in your part of the world are also laggards. On the other hand I am always glad when my doctor will squeeze me in when I have an emergency. So I try and be patient.
    Helen xx

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