My Gramma was a knitter, I say was because although she is still alive, she is unable to knit any more. She can still read a pattern or your knitting and tell you what it is you’re doing, but when she tries to do it herself somewhere between her eyes reading the pattern and her hands grasping the needles & yarn things get jumbled and frustration and confusion ensues.
Her preferrred sweater to knit for all her grandchildren and children were Icelandic style yoked sweaters, being of the practical sort, she always used Patons arcylic wool. In her mind she wasn’t going to put all that effort into making a sweater for it to end up ruined the first go round in the laundry! Also having lived through the Depression, she was very dollar conscious and Patons arcylic from either the Eatons or Simpsons department stores were good value for the yardage.
I still have three of the sweaters (and a few other items) she knit me over the years, my sherbet sweater from when I was 7 or 8, the purple shawl collar sweater knit while I was in high school and a brown knee length coat from my early 20s. Each of my children were gifted with one of her yoke sweaters. Liam was the last of the great grand children to get one, I’ve yet to let him wear it…I’m a bit protective of it.
Last April, my cousin Dionne gave birth to a lovely little girl who was named Mea, she is very darling and full of beans as all almost one years olds are. Her uncle (my cousin Sean) was studying abroad and tweeted one day that he was taking a side trip to Reykjavic before returning home. I jokingly replied somethign along the lines somethign about him bringing me back some yarn…he said “sure”. Once I got over the first bit of yarn hoarding glee, I suggeste if he got the yarn, I would knit a sweater like Granma knit each of us for him to give to Mea. A deal was struck. I received the yarn in the summer & got to work on it, then frogged it, then started again, then frogged it…this went on for a bit till November…then I panicked! I settled on Loki, decided to do it as a sweater, just like Granma made and because I’m still paralyzed with fear by the idea of steeking (it’s one of my resolutions this year to get over that fear). I banged out the sweater in two weeks and was finally to deliver it to Sean to gift to Mea last week.
Since then, I have received 3 emails (one from each aunt & one from Dionne) complimenting me on the sweater and also expressing how happy they were to see that one of the family members was keeping Granma’s tradition alive. That last bit kinda got to me as I realized just how much Granma’s knitting meant to some of us and how many of my memories with my Granma are tied to her knitting and how she accidentally created a knitting tradition in our family. To see that so many of the extended family appreciated and recognized Granma’s hard work (and by extension mine) to keep her family warm & clothed has been exceptionally cool (sorry, can’t think of a better word) and my To Knit for List may have grown! I’ve decided to make it a habit of knitting every new baby to enter the family a yoked sweater like Granma knit for each of us in the hopes of seeing her accidental tradition carried forward.