Day Six (Saturday 17th May): Views Of Others, Views Of Yourself.
Write about another knitter or crocheter that you admire. This could be someone you know or used to know – an aunt that taught you to crochet or the school-teacher that used to run the after-school learn-to-knit club, or someone who you are aware of because of blogging or other areas of social media. Write about your feelings either for their work or what they bring to you as a knitter or crocheter. Reminiscences of the sound of your mother’s metal needles, or the description your grandad gave of what he’d knit as he sat on his bunk below deck in his sailor’s days are as precious as sharing the enjoyment of the work of a new indie designer or dyer. Spread your enjoyment to your readers.
Next, think about if anyone has ever told you how they feel about your knitting, positive or negative. Have you delighted strangers who have enjoyed telling you how they would sit with their grandmother who loved to crochet doilies, or have you had to withstand a little brother telling you repeatedly that knitting is for grandmas?
In the past I have mentioned how my mother and my grandmother, my mother’s mother, taught me how to knit because I drove them crazy when they were knitting. I used to take the needles and click them together to make the sound that I thought was “knitting”. They finally got tired of it and cast some stitches on the needle and showed me how to knit. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, maybe 5 or 6.
There were other knitters in the family so as a child I thought knitting was “normal”. As I’ve gotten older and mentioned things to my mother she has cleared up some of the misconceptions I’d carried forward through my life. When I was a child I had a little blue and white wool hand knit sweater. There are a couple of pictures of me wearing it and I remember my mother had it in her dresser drawer at one point though it didn’t look the same as it does in those photos. I always thought my father’s sister made it for me but it was in fact my father’s aunt. They had the same first name so you can understand my confusion. Unfortunately the sweater suffered a serious mishap when a different aunt washed it in the washing machine and it felted. It wasn’t until I heard the washing machine story did I understand why it looked the way it did and appreciate how my mother felt about this hand knit now bullet proof sweater that she saved for years.
The other knitter I remember is my father’s mother. She knit afghans for everyone. They were knit in strips and sewn together. The strips were different colors and often had cables. I remember thinking how great it was that she could knit something so big. Until the afghans I had only seen sweaters coming off the knitting needles. It wasn’t until I was older that my mother told me that my grandmother had learned to knit just at the time she started making the afghans and it was likely that was all she could knit was strips.
My favorite story about a knitter in my family is the one I heard about my mother when she was a teenager. It was the early to mid 1940’s and my mother learned to knit argyll socks. She knit 4 or 5 different socks and never got around to knitting the mates for any of them. My mother has always been the queen of the UFOs, she still has a bunch. Anyway, a few years later my grandmother was working in a nursing home where she cared for a man who had lost a leg. This man complained to my grandmother about how is foot was cold. Something made my grandmother remember the single socks my mother had knit and she gave them to this man. He remarked regularly how those socks kept his foot warm and that he really appreciated them so much.
I regularly receive comments about my knitting when I knit socks in public. The comments are usually kind and often the people express astonishment. They could never do that. Just this past week my father’s financial advisor visited with him. She commented on a few items my mother has made that are in her house: a few cross stitched pictures that are framed in the living room and a candlewick stitched pillow on the couch. My mother told her she should see my socks. We all looked down at my feet where I was wearing plain white store bought socks. Fortunately I had my knitting with me and I showed her my current sock in progress. She said they were beautiful and that people would buy them! As I always do I laughed and said that no one could afford them. Because she knows money and I know she is well paid for that knowledge I told her that it takes maybe a week to knit a pair and that I would happily knit a pair for one week of her salary. The look that came across her face told me she understood.