Sunday, 6 May 2012


Back when I started this blog and wrote about my origins as a wooloholic and obsessive knitter, I inadvertently left out one key element: my Grandma.  Unlike many knitters, my grandma did not teach me how to knit, my mom did.  My mom doesn't remember if it was her mother or her grandmother that taught her how to knit, but in any case, my grandma was a very capable knitter and seamstress.  After knitting for most of her life, her vision declined drastically in her 80s.  Although she claimed she could knit with her eyes closed, she had entirely stopped knitting by the summer of 2010 when my grandpa passed away.  At that point she gave all of her knitting supplies, patterns, and accumulated yarn to me.  I was very much still a beginner knitter at that point, but I had knit and crocheted a number of scarves, and even a few blankets.  Most of the yarn she had was dishcloth cotton, so what else could I do but start knitting dishcloths?  It probably doesn't seem like anything huge, but this was definitely a push toward my current wooloholic status.  With the most basic dishcloth pattern that my mom used to make all of the time (and mystified me until I actually did it myself), I learned how to do yarn overs, increases, and decreases.  Knit corner to corner, it meant only 4 stitches to cast on and bind off, which were my least favourite parts.  It wasn't pretty, but it was just a dishcloth, and worked as well as it needed to.

Also in the stack of dishcloth patterns was a pattern for a circular dishcloth.  My mom deciphered the pattern for me because it involved some more things that I'd never done before, including short rows, casting off part of a row, and seaming.  Again, the first one I did wasn't pretty, but it was the first thing I ever knit that wasn't square or rectangular.  It was also my first clue that knitting things in different shapes wasn't as difficult as it seemed.

At this point I realized that the dishcloth was a good way to practice new techniques.  I had an abundance of cheap cotton, and a dishcloth was small enough that if something didn't work out it would be okay to rip it back and fix it, or do the whole thing over.  After cranking out about 20 round dishcloths I decided it was time to test out another technique, which I was pretty sure involved sorcery of some sort but thought I should actually try to figure out: cables.  I found a pattern for a simple owl cable dishcloth which ended up being the perfect thing to learn cables with.

Where my grandma comes in is not just providing me with the tools and materials to start trying out new things, although that was a big part of it.  Each new thing that I learned, my mom encouraged me to bring with me to show off to my grandma the next time I would see her.  She would ooh and ahh about each item, even though I know she could barely see it, and she would always tell me that she was proud of me.

Last year Grandma requested that I make her a shawl out of a large ball of cream wool that had been part of the stash that she had given to me.  I hadn't made anything with it yet so of course I was happy to oblige.  I ended up crocheting the shawl roughly following this pattern, and it didn't take long to do.  I don't think she ended up wearing it much, but in any case, she was thrilled.  

My grandma passed away last week, and she will be dearly missed.  Although she is gone, she will never be forgotten since she passed so much of herself on to others, not only in her love of crafts and handiwork but in her generosity and kindness.

I love you, Grandma!

1 comment:

  1. That was very beautiful Amy. The picture of you and your grandma is lovely.