Wednesday, October 19, 2005

My Grandmother

Today's post is a little sad and a lot sappy. I am remembering Grammy, who we lost four years ago today.

Way back in my first few posts, I wrote about how Gram was a knitter. I asked if she would teach me to crochet, and she said she didn't like crochet but she would teach me to knit. Well, I couldn't imagine trying to wrangle yarn over those two straight sticks, so I said no . . . I would get books and teach myself to crochet. Yes, I'm very stubborn . . . but guess who I inherited that trait from? So she didn't try to persuade me to learn knitting (knowing that since I was as stubborn as she was, it would be futile!!).

Thus, I am a self taught knitter. But deep down inside I know that's not exactly true. I feel like I'm picking this knitting thing up far too fast. And I know why that is. Grammy is here with me, teaching me to knit. When instinct kicks in and I realize the proper way to knit something, it's Grammy guiding me with a helping hand.

I can not count the number of afghans I have that Grammy knit for us. A few were made specifically with me in mind, in a color that matched my bedroom or a color I chose. But I think my favorite afghans are the "scrap quilts". Those are the multi-colored blankies that used up the odds and ends of her yarn. They are something that she did out of the sheer joy of knitting, not as a special gift, just to keep her busy and use up the yarn.

The other thing Gram knitted were sweaters. I don't know if she followed a pattern (I think she did) or just did them by rote, but Gram's sweaters were all the same. Big boxy oversize things done in acrylic yarn!! (On second though, only mine were big and boxy because that's how I wanted them . . . it was the '80's after all. I remember she would hold up a WIP and I would say "Bigger, Gram, it needs to be bigger!!" She would look at me like I was crazy, but she would do it anyway.) You could only wear them on very cold days . . . . . because man were those babies WARM!!!! You could have a v-neck or a regular neck, but other than that they were all the same. Sometimes she would knit a little pattern into them. As the years progressed, you could only choose a light color, the dark colors were too hard to knit because she couldn't see them as well.

When I get home tonight I'll have to add some pictures of the scrap quilts and oversized sweaters for your amusement. I don't wear the sweaters anymore, but have saved a few for sentimental reasons!!

I often think I would love to bring her to a LYS and see what she thought. I know she would say the yarns were WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, but I like to think the knitter in her would appreciate the fine fibers and wide color choices we have today. She bought most of her yarn in department store yarn sections, and I think she only used acrylics. Once in a while my mom could talk her into a trip to AC Moores, because that was a treat for Gram. The yarn selection was HUGE compared to the local department stores. They didn't go often, because Gram thought it was too far for my mom to drive. (It wasn't . . . it's the next town over and we go all the time!)

I miss Gram so much. But I'm glad to be a knitter. I feel like it keeps me connected to her and keeps her with me. The highest compliment I got on my first sweater, "Miss-She-Actually-Fits", was from my mom. She simply said "Your Grandmother would be so proud". I like to think she is, and that she is giving some of the credit to herself as well. Deep down inside, I know she is here, teaching me to knit.

Oh yeah, and I never did get around to teaching myself to crochet.


Jillio said...

aww...that's a nice memory of your grammy!!!
my grammy lives all the way in georgia. i haven't seen her for years. :( she did try teaching me to knit, though. when i finished my first hat, i gave it to my mom to mail to her. i don't know if she wears it; it was out of acrylic and in fiesta colors or something. pretty loud and wouldn't match anything.
i'm eager to see your grammy's handiwork!
you just reminded me that i have a crocheted afghan both my grandma and my great grandma made...i'll have to go find it now.

Anonymous said...

This is the sweetest post! I have scrap afghans from my Grandmother, I bet she would be proud of my knitting. I'm cruising through the Socktoberfest blogs and am really glad I stopped at yours. I have a warm and mushy feeling all over.

chris said...

Those are such sweet and precious memories of your Grammy! I love that she would make you 80's-tailored sweaters. I keep the sweaters and afghans my grandma made, too. Our grandmas were alike, knitting with acrylic- but they could work that acrylic like nobody's business! I feel very peaceful and connected to my grandma, too, when I knit. The sense of tradition and connectivity is amazing. It's the reason I really hope to be able to pass knitting down to my kids, too. Thanks for such a sweet post!

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