One of my Christmas presents this year (thank you Michael!) was a beautiful book, My Grandmother’s Knitting: Family Stories and Inspired Knits by Top Designers, by Larissa Brown. I really enjoyed reading other people’s memories of their grandmothers’ (and some grandfathers’) creations, and it is also very interesting to see the designs that were inspired by their memories.
My grandmother Amy, like so many women of her time, was a very accomplished knitter (and seamstress). I’ve posted about how the embroidered message on her handmade dolls made me cry when I rediscovered it many years later. And I’ve written about how very much she meant to me. She and my mother taught me how to knit and sew, and creating clothes soon became a very important part of my life. Reading My Grandmother’s Knitting made me wonder specifically about my Granny’s knitting. Like so much else about her, I took it completely for granted at the time. Here is a photo of her wearing a beautiful cardigan that I’m sure she knitted herself:
A closer view for knitting afficionados:
No doubt the cardigan she has on in the below photo was made by her:
I visited her the following May, but I didn’t have a camera and so the above photo is the last that I have of her. Luckily I have a great treasure store of clear memories. And I also have this cardigan, which my mother told me was the last thing that Granny knitted:
I have worn this cardigan very often over the past twenty-five years or so – it’s such a classic and it goes with everything. But the cuffs are beginning to fray, and there are places around the shoulder seams that I can no longer easily mend.
I think it’s time to retire this cardigan and create one like it. I’ll be sad to lose regular contact with something that her hands made – I do believe things have memories and there’s a certain kind of energy to something hand-made by someone we love. But I know she would be pleased if I re-created her cardigan. It would be “from” her.
If you’re interested to read about the influence of another knitting grandmother, Asplund, the virtuoso Swedish knitter, has posted about the knitting legacy of his own grandmother here. Thank you, Granny, for creating so many beautiful things, and for expressing your love for us through your sewing and knitting.