Personal History: Edith Rudyk — Knitting away

Edith Rudyk was only six years old when her mother taught her how to cast stitches onto a knitting needle.

Edith Rudyk has been knitting since the age of six.

Edith Rudyk has been knitting since the age of six.

Edith Rudyk has been knitting and crocheting almost her entire life. These days, she makes items for friends and every year she creates hundreds of slippers for the food bank’s ChristmaS Hamper Program.

Edith Rudyk was only six years old when her mother taught her how to cast stitches onto a knitting needle. This year, she has made a total of 170 pairs of slippers for the Christmas Hamper program.  That’s in addition to all of the other items she has knit or crocheted.

“The first thing I made was a little pair of socks for my doll. I made a square, sewed both ends and put a string through it,” said Rudyk. “It took a while, but I just had books and I taught myself.”

Rudyk was born and raised in Revelstoke. At 16, she began teaching herself to crochet. While visiting family in Red Deer, she went into a shop and found a book on how to crochet.

“I started crocheting holding it like a knit needle, I didn’t know the difference,” she said, chuckling.

For Rudyk, knitting has always provided a sense of ability.  When she was growing up it was common for people to knit and sew their own clothes.

“If you wanted a sweater, you don’t go buy it, you knit it,” she said. “People would have patterns, I’d see something I’d like so I’d borrow the pattern and when I had enough money to buy a ball of wool I’d start knitting. I find it very relaxing. For the longest time my son and husband were both on the railway and I took all their calls.  So when I’d be waiting for the calls, I’d knit or crochet.”

Even now, Rudyk has a knitting project on the go. She has been working on a prayer shawl that someone requested she make.

“I’ve never seen anybody use them [prayer shawl] but you’re supposed to have a fringe on each end so it’s all got to be trimmed and every row is a different thread. You leave a fringe on one end, you get to the end, knot it, leave another fringe. Then you pick up another ball of wool.  So if you do that you can get rid of all kinds of odds and ends,” said Rudyk.

Rudyk also keeps busy knitting slippers for the Christmas Hamper program.  She meets Carol Sakamoto for coffee each Wednesday morning and gives her the slippers she made that week.

“I keep track of each one,” said Rudyk, noting that last week she made 170 pairs.

“I started making them years ago. That way, if anybody wanted a present, there was slippers.  At Christmas time everybody got slippers.”

Knitting was even a source of comfort and entertainment for Rudyk after she had surgery and wasn’t able to be on her feet. She made sweaters, socks, and caps, some of which were sold out of the Big Eddy Store where Rudyk spent time working, looking after the post office.  She worked there until a year ago.

“I always found it so relaxing, even when I was growing up.  Get a ball of wool and either crochet or knit.  A lot of people know I do it and they’ll say, ‘ can I get this sweater knit for so and so.’  I do it.”

 

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