|My mother's knitting needles and great-grandmother's doily|
This morning I read an email from my dear friend and maid-of-honor, Ethel. She wrote,
Today is my day off and I plan to KNIT KNIT KNIT. This year I am doing it this way:
Knit the back of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the back of Grace's Sweater
Knit the front of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the front of Grace's Sweater
Knit the left sleeve of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the left sleeve of Grace's Sweater
Knit the right sleeve of Zach's Sweater.
Knit the right sleeve of Grace's Sweater
Finish and seam Zach's Sweater.
Finish and seam Grace's Sweater.
That way, they will both get them at the same time. Hopefully on Christmas Day. But this time I am letting them watch me as I knit. That way (1) they will appreciate the time and work, and (2) they will know what to expect when it is done.
Sounds like a plan, Ethel! And knowing you, there's one more thing your grandchildren will see beside the time and work: the love that goes into every stitch.
The email set me thinking about some handmade items around my house. I have two bedspreads that were crocheted by my great-grandmother, ready for use on my guest beds when needed. There are beautiful tablecloths embroidered by my grandmother, and others hand-woven by an aunt during the cold winter months at the mouth of the St. Lawrence in Quebec, Canada. Doilies, potholders, aprons, and place mats, lovingly made by relatives, find a special place in every room of my house. In my hope chest there's a sweater my mother knit for my younger brother, worn by my sons, and waiting until my grandson is the right size to enjoy its warmth. I own three vests Mom knit that are hopelessly dated and I'll probably never wear them again, but there's no chance they'll leave my closet since just seeing them brings back a warm memory.
As I got dressed to come to the shop, I chose a sweater my mother made for me 50 years ago. There are tens, if not hundreds of thousands of stitches in it, each one knitted with love. When I wear it, it's like being hugged by a woman I have missed everyday for over eighteen years.
This morning, I completed knitting a cap for my son to wear skiing. I hope that he'll think of me and my love occasionally when he wears it, or at least before he tosses it into the washing machine and ruins it!
During the Colonial period and early days of our nation, women seldom inherited land, but rather received what was known as "moveable estate," more often than not, textiles. It may not have been equitable, but I imagine it was well loved and valued.
What memories are you making this holiday season?