The Creative Life of Computer Scientist Ed Rodriguez

For the past 8 years, Ed Rodriguez has been attending Men's Night at Knitty City. Quietly he sits at the table, always working on a spectacular project. Cabled vests, cabled hats, doilies, and magnificent woven pieces have gone through his hands and wowed customers and staff alike. Seeing such beautiful pieces coming from this quiet man, one cannot help but wonder how and when crochet, knitting, and weaving came into his life. This is the story of Ed Rodriguez, a valued member of our craft community.

At the tender age of 7, Ed was first introduced to crochet by his mother. Ed remembers: "My mom showed me how to do a chain stitch. I chained a whole 2 miles and rolled it up into a ball. That was my first and only try in crochet back then. My mom kept that ball I made and gave it back to me when I got out of college."

Years later, when Ed taught Computer Science in Commerce, Texas, a student showed him how to get started with knitting. "I took the yarn, started practicing and I made 4 little squares."

These were simply quick introductions, however the best was yet to come. "The one who really got me into knitting was my wife, Jean. When she was pregnant of our first child in 1978, she reminded me how to knit. She told me that when the baby comes, she will be busy nursing and I better have something to do. She walked into the bedroom and pulled out a suitcase filled with yarn and needles. I made my firstborn a pair of booties and I haven't stopped knitting since."

Captivated by the craft of knitting, Ed went to a yarn store and was introduced to cables through a magazine. This was the start for his love of cables. "I learned how to cable and enjoyed the look and mechanism of knitting and cabling. I made a cabled sweater vest and experimented with other patterns. I still love knitting with cables nowadays. At Men's Night, they call me the cable guy."

Crochet was re-introduced to Ed when visiting an aunt who was teaching his wife how to crochet. He was watching the lesson closely and when his wife went to nurse the baby, he took her place. "My physical memory kicked in. It felt right and I know what I was doing. The muscle memory was in my arm. I was so pleasantly surprised."

Ed's first introduction to weaving happened in Washington DC. In the Shakespeare Library was a display of a small floor loom and Ed was given a shuttle and instruction on how to work the peddles. "It felt so right. I must have been a weaver in a former life," Ed recalls with a smile. Several weaving classes later Ed bought a 48" loom. "I really dived into weaving. I took the 48" loom home in a U-haul trailer."

Through the years of raising his family, Ed continued learning more about crochet, knitting and weaving. Every member in his family received handmade garments and items. He also started to teach his children how to craft.

Ed came to Knitty City for the first time in 2008 after a recommendation by opera singer and crafter extraordinaire Lisa Daehlin. "I met Lisa during an opera rehearsal. I was wearing a cabled sweater and we struck a conversation about knitting. She directed me to Knitty City after I told her about a book I was looking for. I visited the store, found the book and started chatting with the owner, Pearl Chin. She informed me about Men's Night on Wednesday's and I have been coming ever since."

Nowadays, while he enjoys being retired, Ed still crafts on. The community has meant a lot to him. "I really appreciate the social interactions. I have made many friendships during men's knit night at Knitty City. I am among like minded people while learning all kinds of new techniques. I also enjoyed going to the free knitting Bryant Park event during summer where I assisted new knitters. We inspire and help each other."

During the month of September, Ed's handmade items are displayed in Knitty City's window. Come take a look and enjoy his pieces, many of which he also designed himself.