Neekah’s great grandma, Mumma, knit all her life. Her Grandma Dorothy knits, her mom knits and all her aunties knit. Even some of Neekah’s uncles knit, too. Every year she asks her mom if she can learn, and every year she hears, “Be patient. Your hands aren’t quite big enough yet.”
At last Neekah is ready to learn, her head and heart bursting with the colorful designs she will create with the wool. She sits down with her mom, holding the wooden needles Grandpa Carl has made for her and the wool she chose from Auntie Joni’s shop. But knitting a toque for Grandma Dorothy is not as easy as she had imagined.
At seventeen, Sylvia Olsen married a Coast Salish man and moved to Tsartlip First Nation near Victoria, British Columbia. She became immersed in her family’s knitting tradition and operated a Cowichan sweater shop from her home for sixteen years. Sylvia marketed the sweaters locally and abroad until the early 1990s, when the once booming industry began to fade. She then made Coast Salish knitters the topic of her master’s thesis and the theme of a National Film Board documentary, The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters. Sylvia is also an award-winning author of many novels for young people, picture books, histories, and personal essays.
Odelia Smith is Neekah’s mother. She is from Tsartlip First Nation, near Victoria, BC. Her people come from Cowichan and Port Alberni. She has been a knitter since she was a young girl and hopes that Neekah will love to knit as much as she does. Odelia and Sylvia have been friends for many years.
Multi-award-winning fine artist Sheena Lott is best known for her realistic/impressionistic style in oils and watercolors. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Sheena spent her formative years in West Vancouver and honed drawing skills in anatomy labs while getting a degree in rehabilitation medicine. She now works full time as a professional artist. Though her gallery career is her primary focus, Sheena has illustrated twelve picture books. Honours and nominations include the Science in Society, Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon, Chocolate Lily, and Christie Harris awards. Sheena lives by the ocean in North Saanich, BC.