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It’s pure joy to welcome Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich to MDK. Our connection with Olugbemisola goes back to the birth of what was then a new thing in the world: the knitting blog. Through our blogs, we had a window into what was happening on each other’s needles—and in our lives. We saw Olugbemisola’s makes—and their tiny, adorable model—in real time in those glorious days, and we’ve watched with bloggerly pride over the years as her writing career flourished, her daughter grew, and the knitting continued to ebb and flow for us all. Welcome, Olugbemisola! 

Love, Ann and Kay

Not long ago I spotted at least seven different WIPs around my apartment.

I couldn’t even remember what some of them were supposed to be. Hats and cowls, a shrug or two. A couple of Sylvia Watts-Cherry intarsia challenges—a little ambitious, I thought.

My mind wandered back to two knitting triumphs, almost twenty years old:  the “flower dress” knit from a French-language pattern in Phildar Tricotez Calin No. 405 and the “giraffe jasje,” also Phildar, No. 372, (with considerable help from a Dutch knitblogger).

the “flower dress”

As proud as I was of those pretty-complicated-for-a-novice knits, now I wondered: were my “best” knits behind me?

Yikes. I scrambled for something social-media worthy that I could finish. Something that would make me feel accomplished and good at this thing of knitting.

I’ve always been preoccupied with “accomplished women” in certain literature; they did painstaking needlework, took turns about the room, played the pianoforte, and waited for marriage proposals. 

The accomplished women in my life were another story. My mom made us dolls out of her support stockings because they were sturdy and brown, and Brown dolls were hard to find.

She and Nana sewed expertly, making exquisite clothing on a vintage treadle sewing machine, items that carried them into spaces that worked hard to push them out. Aunt Veronica seemed to spin haute home dec out of the air. 

And the creativity crossed gender borders; my mom’s father, my grandfather, who ended his formal schooling in childhood, held the title of tailor (along with taxi driver, farmer, auto mechanic, and more), and was one of the most voracious and curious readers I knew. 

My father, who traveled alone across the ocean to the United States to study, was a many-degreed engineer who drew casual and elegant sketches and doodles while he blasted vinyl records in his home office. 

Aunt Lil and Aunt Lee made clothes for my dolls, and me—my family’s making was an act of love, community, rest, empowerment, and creative expression. I was a kid who loved to build, draw, stitch, create. I come from a family of makers, thinkers, dreamers, explorers. It’s no wonder I became a writer of children’s literature, and a knitter.

the “giraffe jasje”

I started knitting in earnest as an adult because it was a way to remember my mom, my grandmother, aunties. I read Elizabeth Zimmerman, Mary Walker Phillips, and Barbara Walker. I loved the way they wrote about technique, fiber, and design. I thought about knitting so much that I was basically Shirley Paden in my head.

So when I finally took my first LYS class … I was TERRIBLE. So terrible that the notoriously cranky owners said, “I don’t think you’re ever going to be able to learn.” 

I was mortified.

Where was the perfection? Why wasn’t it easy? 

I find so much joy in the figuring out, the feel of yarn, the community and connection that come with being in the fiber community; the history, books, the stories.

I’m connected to my family, to where I’m from and who I am in the deepest sense. I take pleasure in it, even when the end result is not photo-ready—or when there’s no end result. I’m enriched by the process. (Note: I learned, cranky LYS ladies. And the real Shirley Paden helped.)

When I’m struggling with a writing project, which is always, I remind myself that there’s tremendous value in the practice. It’s no accident that when I’m wrestling with a writing problem, I turn to needles and yarn.

Knitting reminds me that I write to ask questions and create opportunities to listen. I write to read the world, make meaning, look and listen between the lines.

Studying cognitive science taught me the value of “planning” in the writing process; successful knitting is often about good planning as well (preparing supplies, time, and space), but I’ve learned that joy and satisfaction and success in both also come from play, improvisation; following a sometimes messy path that is more a celebration of process than product. 

When I freeze (again and again) in front of that blank page, I sit with my needles, a cherished skein of Lolabean Yarn Co. yarn, and a complicated lace chart for a few minutes and I’m reminded that I will make mistakes, might end up with something that’s not exactly what I’d envisioned—but it will have a unique value and tell its own wonderful story. 

Maybe I’ll finally finish those Fair Isle tights I started ten years ago—after all, I just published a book I started twenty years ago (there were some in between).

Maybe the mystery sweater in the basket next to the sofa will be finished by Christmas, or maybe I’ll just save it for 2026 and do a couple of improvise-as-I-go Atlas hats instead.

Perhaps I’ll stop right now and do a few rows of the Minta Durfee shrug that I just cast on three days ago. (Spoiler alert: that’s what I did. Then I worked on my Mino Pullover vest.)

I’ll knit, sip tea, and remember. Then I’ll get back to work, and play.

About The Author

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich is a Jamaican Nigerian New Yorker and an award-winning author of several books for children, including Operation Sisterhood, Makeda Makes a Birthday Treat, It Doesn’t Take a Genius, Saving Earth,  and Someday Is Now. She’s also the coauthor of Two Naomis. Visit her online and on Instagram.


  • Thank you for this post. I loved discovering this new-to-me author and I loved her celebration of the long ago, cast aside, unfinished (but not discarded) knitting, writing, and moments of growth. Very inspiring.

  • Thank you so much for your words. Now I have to look for your books. I need more!

  • Love the giraffe!
    I’m looking forward to seeing more of your knitting adventures.

  • Thank you for introducing me to Olugbemisola. I loved this piece….it resonates with me in so many ways!

  • Your post is inspiring, colorful and joyful. It’s so nice to meet a kindred soul. I’ll be visiting your website.

  • Yep to all!
    Multitasking frees us to eventually converge on completing one task, project, with pleasure.

  • I very much enjoyed reading this. I will be checking out your books, and the patterns you mentioned.

  • Wonderful! Empowering and accepting all at once. Thank you for sharing❣️❣️❣️

  • Thank you for sharing! I haven’t dared to count my WIPs but perhaps this is a good time to survey what needs finishing and complete one.

  • OK, you had me at “look and listen between the lines.” That’s where curiosity grows, it seems to me. The secret to a better life. I’ll look forward to more, more, more!

  • This article was empowering. Your early LYS encounter resonated, as I had a similar encounter when I decided to return to knitting as an adult. We had our first long motor home trip planned and I decided a knitting project was the perfect companion. My local LYS tried to sell me on a scarf project, but I didn’t want or need a scarf. I wanted more challenge. I chose a wrap pattern, the sales clerk rolled her eyes, and told me I could find yarn for the project upstairs. Left to my own devices, I figured out what I needed and as I checked out, the clerk told me “good luck, you’re going to need it.” 13 years later, we’re still motor homing, and my favorite projects are the most difficult.

  • I’m appalled that someone told you that you’d never learn to knit! As an adaptive knitter with a “peculiar” knitting style, due to a hand injury, I’ve heard lots of similar comments. I’m so glad you didn’t listen. And, there is so much beauty in “figuring it out” YOUR way! Talk about perfection!!! YAY you, Olugbemisola! Your flower dress and the giraffe are TERRIFIC!!!

  • What a wonderful reflection on a knitting and writing journey. The joy is in the making, along with the work. And, such a great connection to the ancestors and makers who influenced you. Thanks for sharing and I look forward to reading more from you. I work in a library, so will immediately look up your books.

  • It does seem to amaze me that the generation before me (I am 64) seemed to just know how to do things like make curtains, sew a dress, make slip covers, etc etc yet we take classes. I mourn for that way of being.

    • My mom was a very talented seamstress, and dabbled in all sorts of creative endeavors. She DID take classes! I have her Bishop Method (tailoring) set of books and patterns with all her notes. I remember when she would make the weekly drive to “the city” (Columbus, OH), all this during her last phase of life. She was a wonder. Thanks for helping me remember!

    • You are so right about that earlier generation. My mother sewed beautiful clothes, curtains, and also made slip covers with piping all around (piping!). While I sew, piping has always eluded me, and I’m only working on a 16″ pillow cover, not living room furniture. She could knit as well, but rarely did.

  • What a delightful post, I find this to be so true in my creative world too.
    Thank you!

  • Now I know why I have to quilt, knit, crochet and sew. I am from long lines of makers. To stitch is in my blood.

  • Thank you. What a wonderful reassuring read about ourselves. And you are amazing.

  • Fun, inspiring read that hits very close to home regarding the many projects started and not quite finished yet.
    Thank you for this insight into your knitting, writing, and family.

  • So beautiful and so needed. In my third section of life, I have taken on learning or relearning. All of my pursuits hold me in steady balance between Fascination/Frustration. I am choosing to hold onto the Fascination piece as much as I can and realize that the Frustration piece is all a part of the plan. Jumping between WIPs that sit around is a great way to keep the spirit. Thank you for your wonderful writing, Olugbemisola.

  • I brought the Maine Mittens book to my first knitting class, and told the instructor 2 color knitting was for me. The weeks went by, casting on,knit, purl, ribbing, cables and increasing and decreasing. The last night of the 8 week course, I showed her the book again. She said, “You’re not ready for that.” I went home and got it from the book, after working out the tension.
    Don’t ever believe anyone who says you aren’t able to do anything. And never discourage a person eager to learn.

    • Hear hear! I teach knitting to adults, sometimes kids and I tutor kids in reading. My main goal is to ENCOURAGE and SUPPORT them all in their efforts and also to simply BE unique individuals. I can’t imagine ever telling anyone you can’t do something! Often I say that’s a great start, keep going, you just need more practice. I reward them for their attempts, not their skill mastery. So sorry you, and others, had such discouraging experiences and hurray that they didn’t stop you.

  • Thank you so much for your article. I loved learning about your history and the people in your life. I also appreciate your methods for stepping back and refocusing yourself. Much appreciated!

  • Lovely article, thank you! It’s fun to read about your early days of knitting and where you now in your knitting journey. Looking forward to reading more from you!

  • Great column !
    Connected to a great community and feel lucky.

  • A kindred spirit! I love to hear stories of others’ WIP that sit waiting forever and sometimes become a puzzle! Yes! Delightful read, thank you

  • Your writing and process speak volumes of acceptance to those of us who are imperfect in our pursuits. Always moving onward toward perfection, that elusive calling. Really appreciate you!

  • This landed perfectly for me today. Sometimes I feel scattered, but I am hereby reminded that I do get back to things eventually! And it’s also okay to start something new when I look at that unfinished thing and decide to push it out a year or two – ha! AND – I’ve got a new knitting blog to follow.

  • I love to hear about other people’s knitting journeys. This was a lovely article. I was dismayed to hear about the first knitting teacher. So discouraging! But you listened to your heart and kept on going! Great work!

  • Thank you. I have just looked up your books for my new granddaughter : )

  • Just fabulous. Thank you for broadening my day.

  • I loved this article! I also grew up surrounded by a creative, sewing and embroidering mother, and knitting aunties. I grew up to be an artist who paints, woodcarves, sews, quilts, gardens and now spins.

  • What a wonderful perspective! Definitely going to look for Olugbemisola’s books the next time in the children’s room at the library.

    • So glad to realize that Olugbemisola is the author who adapted Anthony Ray Hinton’s wonderful memoir, “The Sun Does Shine” for children. I will have to check out her other work.

  • love this! thank you for sharing your heart work!

  • Fair Isle tights???? You are brave! I’ve always admired those who can knit and create their own projects as they go. Thank you, also, for mentioning two of my buds in the knitting community: Sylvia Watts-Cherry and Adella (LoloBean Yarn Co). Sylvia’s patterns are magnificent and Adella’s yarns are one-of-a-kind. I’ll be looking for your books for my grandkids.

  • Welcome Olugbemisola! Gosh your smile is gorgeous!! What on earth is with the Cranky Yarnshop Owners? Before the pandemic my small city had two good LYS. One with a notoriously crabby owner who tended to hire snippy staff. They were closer to my house but after a few years I couldn’t take it anymore & defected to the much nicer gals at the other place. Both are unfortunately closed now, but a new, small shop run by kind young women has opened up. I’m sorry anyone had the gall to tell you that you couldn’t learn. So glad you persisted & set a high & interesting knitting bar for yourself. Enjoyed the article.

  • I loved reading this story for many reasons but mostly for the fact we are all so alike in our crafting and life. I too can relate to years of wips but I love knitting and how it excites me but also calms me. Thank you for your article!

  • Such a lovely post of family, creativity, and accomplishment in all its forms. Thank you for the permission to play!

  • I love how you bring out the creative similarities between knitting and writing, especially hie the planning process for the one hells you with the other. Having multiple WIPs can help me with writing, too!

  • Love this article so much. You are an inspiration.

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