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Immigrant News Queens

An immigrant’s point of view

Writer With A Passion For Knitting

Posted by admin On November - 28 - 2009  Print  Email  

When she was a little girl, Deborah Samuelson wanted to learn to knit but her parents could not afford the knitting needles, so she knitted with pencils.

Then she grew up, became a writer and a mother and life took over. She didn’t have the time to devote to knitting even though she could now afford many knitting needles. Until, a few months ago.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson and Seeta Heeralal discuss her knitting at at Knit-A-Way

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson and Seeta Heeralal discuss knitting at Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn Inc.

For her, readopting the hobby was as simple as a hand wave. “Once I started, it returned automatically. All the stitches I learned as a little girl came back to me with every knitting project.”

Our meeting was serendipitous. I had gone to Knit-A-Way of Brooklyn Inc., a nifty shop at Atlantic Avenue, to interview its president, Seeta Heeralal, and, in bounded Samuelson looking for the perfect yarn for her holiday knitting projects. She whipped out a piece of work-in-progress, a navy blue scarf, from her black and red shoulder bag to show Seeta what she was working on. It was a pattern of squares.

“I just started knitting; I didn’t know I was making squares. I was just playing with it. I didn’t look in the book and the pattern emerged like that. It came right back to me,” she gushed, and held out the beautiful piece of perfectly patterned squares for us to see. “This is for my nephew,” she said and stressed: “I love knitting.” In addition to the present she was working on for her nephew, she also produced another scarf with different shades of blue. That was near completion.

Samuelson, Director of Resource Development at Helen Keller Services for the Blind in Brooklyn, said a co-worker had found Knit-A-Way, the knitting and crochet shop, on the internet and they had visited the store together, several times. “Now I come on my own. This is my home away from home,” she enthused.

She is obsessed with her knitting projects. “It’s an addiction. It’s so relaxing. You don’t know what to make for relatives, friends and for the house again. People have no idea how relaxing knitting really is,” she said.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson at Knit-A-Way.

Deborah Rodriguez Samuelson at Knit-A-Way.

Originally from Brooklyn, and now living in Staten Island, Samuelson said she spent the 25-minute ride on the ferry to and from work with her head buried in her knitting, her fingers working nonstop until time to disembark.

As she entered the store she greeted us and went on to yarn browse. Within minutes, she returned to ask Seeta a question about the yarn. She was bubbling with excitement about her knitting. Her enthusiasm was infectious. I couldn’t help but jump right in and ask if she wouldn’t mind me taking her picture and writing about her love of knitting.

“Sure,” she gushed.

And we got down to talking knitting.

“It’s an addiction. I get pleasure sometimes from the feel of the fabric, it’s very unusual and it feels very neat,” she said.  She’s ambidextrous and does many things with her left hand. She told how she had developed a method for knitting with which her hands were comfortable, especially the left. “I can’t help it, it feels comfortable in my left hand and if it feels good in my hand, that’s all that matters.”

Writing and knitting are like quill and ink for this artistic woman, who not only knows how to compose interesting prose, but how to craft warm clothes with two tapering needles and balls of wool.

“Sometimes I look at a pattern and think I could never make that, but with the needles in my hand, anything is possible,” she said. “People have no idea what they are getting for the holidays, lots of knitted stuff,” she concluded.

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Hi. My name is Susan Gosine-Herrera. I live in Queens, New York. This news blog is my way of highlighting all the interesting things, people and events I come across in this part of New York. If you have an interesting immigrant story or know of one or of an interesting immigrant, I will be happy to feature that story in these pages. Just send an email and I will be in touch. Meanwhile, live like a tourist, enjoy all you can, before you move on.

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