Photo-Take-Outter Friday #12 – The Holy Nativity Convent (AKA ‘A Good Yarn’). A Photo Essay about a crazy journey.

Photo-Take-Outter Friday #12 – The Holy Nativity Convent (AKA ‘A Good Yarn’). A Photo Essay about a crazy journey.

I apologize in advance for the image heavy post – but there was no short way to tell this story :)

In December, the Yarn Harlot very kindly featured my yarn bowls on her blog, which resulted in my being inundated with requests from the US. I don’t ship pottery any more, but decided to fill just one order which had caught my eye – a yarn bowl for the Mother Superior of the Holy Nativity Convent in Boston. How could I say no?

The person who contacted me, Mother Pelagia, became a wonderful pen pal over the weeks that followed. By the time the bowl was ready I made the totally random decision to travel to Boston to meet her, and to give her Mother Superior the bowl as a gift. As a gift for Mother Pelagia herself I took the most Canadian thing I could think of – yarn from Alpaca Acres here in Ontario.

The story begins with me flying to Boston cradling (and occasionally using) the yarn bowl. The next day I took a taxi to a yarn store called ‘A Good Yarn’ which, according to google, is only  a 15 minute walk from the convent, so I thought I’d show up early and do some shopping. This is Paula and Maria.

I shared the story of why I was there with them. They were delighted.

Paula said ‘Do you mean Mother Seraphima?’.

‘Yes!’ I said.

‘They’re friends of mine, let me call them for you!’ she said – what a small world! They called and a few minutes later Paula informed me with a grin that the ‘nun-mobile’ was on its way ;) The next day Paula added me as a friend on Ravely with the simple, touching note “Thank you for yesterday”.

An SUV pulled up a few minutes later and 2 nuns came into the yarn store – I was greeted and hugged like an old friend (and not a slightly insane potter) by these beautiful women. They took met to the convent where I enjoyed dinner and a wonderful tour. The convent is a remarkable place – the sisters are industrious, talented and incredibly busy women. This is Mother Seraphima and Mother Pelagia holding their gifts from Toronto.

This is their chapel.

These bells are made from old oxygen tanks, and they sound lovely!

This is the Stash. Before I left I experienced every knitters dream – they gave me yarn of my choice as a parting gift. Imagine standing in a room of stash, and the owner of said stash is begging you to avail yourself of it and won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Wow!

This was a great story: While on their annual pilgrimage to the Holy Land they asked the kids selling souvenirs for a drop spindle. The kid ran home and came back with a stick that had a nail through it. Apparently the Bedouins in the desert have done it this way for hundreds of years. It had a skein of camel hair wound around it. They gave me one of them, and also a more conventional drop spindle – inspiring me to learn spinning next.

They also produce beautiful mosaics…



…and their own beeswax candles. Did I mention that the convent smells heavenly? There is a wood working studio, a library, a laser etching machine, a book bindery a weaving studio and even a mini photo studio.

This is Max. He’s under the impression that all the fuss in this house is for him.

This was another good story – they asked one of the children in the Holy Land for roving, and this is what they brought back.

Speaking of roving – how lovely is this stuff? Created by one of the sisters there and another reason to learn to spin.

This is my beautiful new family – Mother Pelagia on the left and Mother Seraphima on the right.

I made out like a bandit – they also gifted me with home made beeswax candles which I plan to distribute among my closest friends. The women there are loving, warm, funny and sweet. They didn’t care one whit that I wasn’t much of a religious person. They were also talented, dedicated and light hearted. They loved the alpaca yarn – it turns out they enjoy making prayer ropes from yarn :)

To the Yarn Harlot – if you’re reading this, Stephanie, thank you so much for your little feature last Christmas. Who could know what would come of it? This is the beauty of craft and the love that we put into our handmade things, and the connection that those handmade things can create across distance, and between strangers. Really, thank you.

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