I knew of GG from Instagram. She’s really well known as the “Iconic Orange Lady,” and she has such a welcoming personality. I was so stoked to hear her speak.
The theme of the talk was “How Knitting Keeps Us Sane.” GG has experienced a lot of tragedy in her life. She lost her mom, dad, and job in the course of one year. She struggled with grief for a long time, but she found peace in her knitting.
“In my despair, I shifted my vision, and my yarn was there,” she said, which connected with everyone on the call so beautifully. We’re all grieving something, even us lucky ones who just grieve that pre-pandemic normalcy, but you could tell that everyone there had relied on their knitting at some point over these long couple of years.
And not only in the knitting process, but in the special places that those projects take in our lives after such dynamic shifts. She talked about her red “Mom” shawl and the shawl she made from yarn that she got in New York with her Dad that she ended up wearing to his funeral. It’s something so sad and so comforting, it helped her process a lot of that grief.
What’s really cool, and I never realized, her handle has a double meaning. Yes, it’s her knits. She made it, but also she’s made it to today. How amazing is that?
GG is also funny to boot. She mentioned to any designers out there, if they want her to miss something, put it in the middle. Apparently, she’s very good at reading the beginning and end of patterns, but she struggles between the two. She also thanked everyone asking how she did her “modifications,” which of course, were purely accidental.
Finally, GG stressed how important it was to do what makes you happy, regardless of what anyone else may think. If you’re only happy making one thing, make that thing. She mentioned it about her signature orange sweaters, how people ask her often if she would do something different. Why would she? The orange sweaters bring her joy. She also stressed that anyone can learn anything about knitting, and encouraged us all to reach out for help when we need it (except steeking. She has decided that’s not for her, and power to her!).