The past few weeks Crafty Hands personnel & I have been helping a 91 year old woman knit some baby booties. What she lacks in speed, she makes up for in determination. Watching her aged hands slowly make each of the all too familiar knitting motions brought me back to reminiscing about my own Grandmother.
The grandmother who is responsible for my livelihood and my career choice. Yep, she taught me how to knit. In fact, I didn’t realize it until now, but I will have a special anniversary on my birthday this year! 50 years of knitting! Woot! Who knew back then I would center most of my waking hours around this very gratifying birthday lesson. For it was on my seventh birthday she bought me a pair of needles and a skein of yarn and taught me how to knit!
Just like it was yesterday, I remember visiting my grandmother every Sunday afternoon, watching her knitting needles move in such a rhythm it would put me in a trance. Watching her hands entwined with yarn as it swiftly moved through her fingers was so mesmerizing to me. You could imagine my excitement when she gave me the first lesson. I’m sure I drove my parents crazy, after that, I wanted to learn how to do any kind of needlework and craft. But I always came back to my first love, knitting.
Although I don’t have any good pictures of Grandma Marie, I find she is in a lot of pictures that remind me so much of the sweet lady, I don’t really need a 8 X 10 glossy. For instance, this is the afghan she knit me for a birthday. She asked me what color and of course, that was a no brainer. Yep, my love for the color runs deep! But most importantly is the stitch pattern.
The classic feather and fan pattern, the only pattern I remember Grandma knitting. I’m sure she did others but I always remember her making feather and fan strips for an afghan, baby blanket or cover on the back of a chair. She would make the appropriate size lengths and crochet them together.Then she would make a baby sweater with the classic pattern stitch in the bodice and booties. With that reason to this day, I find it very difficult to bring myself to knitting the feather and fan stitch. After all, that IS Grandmas signature stitch pattern. I wouldn’t dare try to duplicate or take her right of knitting passage. So each time I see a picture of the classic pattern stitch, I always smile and remember fondly of Grandmas loving hands and most of all, heart and spirit.
Grandma died in 1988 from Alzheimers. She was 98 years old. Watching her mind slip away just magnified the sadness. Just knowing what an amazing woman she was and the accomplishments of running a boarding house and raising 5 boys made her disease so heartless.
And just like to the present day, helping the elderly lady with making her booties, I can’t help but remember back and smile with fond memories of my own grandmother. Helping the woman in the shop, I can see signs of her mind trying desperately to remember her previous knitting skills. And I am very annoyed to even let myself begin to lose patience with trying to help her. Or any others, for that matter. In our busy fast paced world, when I want to hurry everything along, I know I must be patient with even the simplest of tasks. For I know someday I will be the woman trying so hard to hold on to my past knitting knowledge. As I guide the direction of the basic knit and purl stitch, I am humbled by that patience thing once again. Well it was about time!
Thankyou Grandma Marie, not only for my wonderful birthday gift almost fifty years ago, but for staying within my heart and reminding me of your patience. I used to regret you did not live long enough to see me open my knit shop. But I know your loving hands have always been with me, hugging my spirit.