Many of you don’t know me personally, but I’m a guest author on Prince Street today. I’m Krista, Chris’s wife and partner. Chris has encouraged me to contribute to his blog, and I’m taking him up on his generous offer. I can actually remember way back to Prince Street’s first post. Thankfully he gave me some great ideas to write about – this post is ‘What it’s like". Our writing styles are very different, so you’re in for a treat!
I’ve been with Chris for 15 years. We have two very creative children who are encouraged to express themselves artistically as much as they can. Chris and I both have day jobs in IT, but we are both very passionate about our hobbies. Model railroading for him; knitting for me. He told me on our first date that he was a model railroader; quite honestly I didn’t know what to think. I had never met anyone that was into model trains. I really only thought of toy trains that went around the Christmas tree.
I’m a third generation knitter (at least, if not possibly fourth) but I didn’t start knitting until my late twenties. My mom is an amazing knitter, and I grew up watching my mom, her sister Ann, and their mother Dorothy knit. I started knitting at our public library, but it was a very rough start. This is where Chris comes in. I never thought of myself as a "creative person". I didn’t make things like Chris did ( he’s an amazing scratchbuilder!). I couldn’t sketch things on paper like he does, and forget about showing me a schematic or a set of blueprints to visualize something. Because of Chris’s involvement in the hobby, he was able to motivate me and encourage me when knitting a square seemed like a lost cause.Today I knit a variety of items with relative ease, blog about my knitting adventures, and teach knitting in the winter semester at City Centre Community School.
Until I started to call myself a knitter and really immerse myself in the craft, I didn’t really participate in Chris’s model train interest. I honestly didn’t think that I had anything to offer to the discussion, I thought it was going to be all technical jargon or hours watching train videos, and I don’t have a great attention span for any media over an hour (with the exception of BBC’s Sherlock). Once I started to take a mess of yarn and turn it into something useful, I started to understand more about the interest Chris has in model trains. How he could focus his time for hours creating the tiniest bricks and windows I have ever seen! And the frustration when something just doesn’t work out, even when you’ve given it your best effort.
I love to explore why people create. While I don’t usually understand a lot of the fine details about the model railroad projects that Chris works on, I love seeing the thought process when he’s creating. His commitment and contribution to the hobby for 30+ years is enviable; I certainly hope to be able to celebrate a 30 year knitting anniversary. Over the years, I’ve asked him questions and tried to learn more about the hobby that is such a fundamental part of him. We have amazing conversations about design as well as interesting points about teaching skills related to our respective hobbies. Something we talk about a lot is layout design. I like to talk with Chris about layouts and the user experience – both the creator’s experience and the operator’s experience. I’m a very outgoing person, and I enjoy knitting and creating in a group setting. For as long as I remember, Chris has been attending operating and building sessions locally and in neighbouring provinces. I understand how much he enjoys these events, and I try to make it a priority to not encroach on that time.
On our travels, I encourage Chris to seek out opportunities to see railyards or other interesting locations related to railroading. I find myself keeping an eye out the car window to see if there is a lit signal or something working in a yard or coming down a line. Even my family who are hardcore thrifters and yard sale visitors love to find PEIR or CN treasures for Chris. Myself, I’m always on the lookout for GO transit merch for him. I’ve never had the chance to go on a train, but I hope we get to take a family trip to Montreal via train to see our oldest daughter. Our youngest likes to go to operating sessions and train shows with her dad … something I have yet to do.
One of the things that I appreciate about Chris is his patience when I ask questions that may seem trivial or "stupid". He is always happy to explain to me anything I ask. I still struggle with the different gauges! I’m very fortunate to have a partner who involves me in such an important part of his being. Apparently I inspire some of his work, and he learns about the hobby from me. I know, I’m not sure how either! Maybe by teaching he’s learning?
Both of us proudly display our work and work-in-progress in the living areas of our house. We have a cozy little house downtown with a layout-in-progress in our dining room and a knitting emporium in the living room. I believe that our hobbies are such an important part of us that it would look strange if they were not visible in the house. Our visitors thankfully never bat an eye when they come over and see our projects in various states of completion.
Thanks for taking the time to read my guest post. More to come!