My grandmother was a New Zealand farm wife who lived on a sheep farm, which was handy since she was a knitting addict of the highest order. In my mind’s eye, she is always in one spot, even now that she’s been gone thirty years: She sits in her green upholstered rocker, her feet tucked up on the embroidered footrest, a blanket wrapped around her, her needles clicking in her hands. The air smells pleasantly of burnt toast and rose water. Her fingers never slow, never stop.
When I was born, my grandmother knitted a garter stitch blanket for me. Just the size of a twin bed, it was my constant comfort growing up. Made of long strips in many colors, she used yarn from her local area, Ashburton. That wool has worn like iron, and I’ve always been curious which mill spun it. I’m 45 now. There still isn’t a single hole in the whole thing. As I write on the divan in my office, it rests behind me. I pull it over my legs on chilly afternoons. When I ball it up under my head, it’s a perfect scratchy pillow for naps (scratchy wool is, of course, unbearable unless there’s enough love knitted into it. Love makes everything softer).
I’ve been thinking recently, as friends and family age and get sick and die, about what we leave behind as knitters.
What I’ve realized is this: We are the lucky ones.
We are the makers. From our fingers come one-of-a-kind, truly unique items that mean something.
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