Knit Two Together

Once upon a time, back when we called yarn ‘wool’ and there was often a little wool shop or  ‘kiosk’ in even the smallest of towns and independent knitwear designers were twinkles in their grandparents’ eyes, my Mum taught me how to knit.

Actually, I think she first used me as a living wool winder as I remember my early encounters with wool involved standing for a long time, arms outstretched, whilst a skein was converted into a ball.  Despite this unpromising apprenticeship, I took up the needles at a young age and have continued, on and off, ever since.

I don’t remember my maternal grandmother ever yielding a pair of knitting needles so I wonder what started my mother off on her lifelong hobby.

Perhaps it was this. ….

…..which  would have been just a little after the time she looked like this.

I wonder if she made those pompoms herself.

When I moved to France almost thirteen years ago Mum would come and visit several times a year as well as at Christmas and, what with my sister living in Spain, she was nearly always on her holidays which I hope compensated just a little for us not living next door.   Regular readers will know that, during these visits, all other activities were practically abandoned in favour of knitting and chatting together.

This is Mum with Mlle. Tialys the Elder who, while not having caught the knitting bug at the time of writing, is a dressmaker and cross stitcher and could probably be brought into the fold at some future stage.

She made this for her Nan as an early Christmas present.

Back in 2013 Mum was nominated for a voluntary carers’ award for visiting a housebound elderly lady every week – almost without fail – for  ten years.  She was 80 herself at that point but this was the sort of thing she did.   She wasn’t going to attend the award ceremony – being far too shy and modest – but I said I’d go with her and she agreed to go.  She received a framed certificate from the Lady Mayor and afterwards we had a traditional English tea (another one!!) in lovely gardens in the sunshine.

While I was in England caring for my Mum with my two sisters, I knitted this little scarflet for my Stitching Santa partner.

Even though Mum didn’t have the strength to knit herself any longer by this stage it still felt like a bonding experience as I’m sure she could probably hear the clicking needles and the quiet chatting  as my youngest sister began to knit a bear and my other sister started to knit squares for a blanket.  One of my nieces visited, saw the three of us companionably knitting,  and wanted to learn.  And so the passing on of skills continues.

I have to say – and I know she’d agree with me – that Mum never really progressed beyond ‘enthusiastic amateur’ status.  Mainly due to the fact that she hated ‘the sewing up bit’ and looked at me as if I were mad if I ever suggested anything as radical as ‘blocking’ a finished garment.  She was the Queen of UFOs (unfinished objects) – her loft was full of half finished jumpers, cardigans, baby clothes, etc. – but even those things she finished weren’t deemed good enough to wear or pass on to the new babies of the family.  The little baby jackets, cardigans and bootees we found cast off,  in both senses,  was poignant to say the least.  The joy for her though was in the choosing of the pattern, the yarn  wool and the actual knitting – if something decent came off the needles that was a bonus.

You may remember my recent post about the Ugly Christmas Jumper and how it came to be and I hope you will be pleased to know that it was finally finished (once I’d added proper ribbing to the sleeves and lengthened the body) and handed to ‘the nephew’ one week before Mum died.  I think he will treasure it forever.

It was a shame, as she loved Christmas so much, that she died the day before the first window of her advent calendar was to be opened, especially as there was a chocolate inside.

Family was everything to my Mum and I am so pleased that my sisters and I were able to be with her, in her own home, in the last few weeks of her life and could be there for her final, peaceful breaths as she had been there for our first ones.  I am finding that a huge comfort at this difficult time.

Wherever you are now Mum, I hope there’s lots of wool and chocolate and laughter.

10th September 1932 – 30th November 2017

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  1. #1 by katechiconi on December 11, 2017 - 13:58

    I’m sending all of you big hugs. Your mum has the look of a lady who knew how to enjoy herself, and I think it must have given her a great deal of pleasure to have her girls around her at the last, making use of a skill she’d passed on to you all. You have some great memories of her, she was present through much of your life, and that will always be with you. Thank you for the lovely celebration of her life 🙂 xxx

  2. #2 by Dartmoor Yarns on December 11, 2017 - 14:08

    Such a lovely tribute to your mum. As Kate says above, she looks like a lady who knew how to party. Huge hugs and love to you all. – I’ve been thinking about you while you’ve been away from blogland and will continue to do so. Wherever she is now, is probably nearer to you than you think 🙂 xxx

  3. #3 by M. L. Kappa on December 11, 2017 - 14:43

    I’m sure there’s is! What a lovely post🌺

  4. #4 by poshbirdy on December 11, 2017 - 15:44

    I’m so very sorry to hear of your loss. What a lovely lady she must have been, and this is a beautiful tribute to her. Raise your glass to her at Christmas, and think the happiest thoughts you can x

  5. #5 by claire93 on December 11, 2017 - 15:58

    the passing on of skills, the sharing of happy memories . . . a lovely tribute to your Mum, Lynn.

  6. #6 by brennacrocheter on December 11, 2017 - 16:15

    Touching post to your mom. Whenever you pick up your knitting needles she will be with you 🙂.

  7. #7 by Janice Marriott on December 11, 2017 - 17:18

    Sorry to hear that, Lynn. I am here in London,going out with my 22 yr old granddaughter, she is SO like my mother that she never knew. Your mum will live on too, in many ways,

  8. #8 by knettycraft on December 11, 2017 - 19:38

    I’m sending hugs to you… and I’m sure wherever she is she’s smiling about your heartwarming thoughts. …

  9. #9 by lilbitbritlit on December 11, 2017 - 19:57

    You’re mum sounds a lovely person. Know you are grieving her loss, but remembering all the good times. I expect she did enjoy visiting you girls in France and Spain, must have made a lovely change for her. Thinking of your in your loss.

  10. #10 by nanacathy2 on December 11, 2017 - 21:22

    Deepest sympathy my love, your Mum sounds a wonderful lady.xx

  11. #11 by sew2pro on December 11, 2017 - 22:00

    Oh Lynn, I am so sorry. Best wishes to you, your sisters and the mademoiselles at this hard time.

  12. #12 by magpiesue on December 11, 2017 - 22:37

    What a lovely tribute. She passed on wonderful characteristics to her daughters and grandchildren who will carry her light with them for the rest of their lives, I’m sure.

  13. #13 by Emma on December 11, 2017 - 23:19

    This is such a touching tribute to her, I’m so sorry for your loss Lynn. Your mum sounds like a wonderful lady, I’m sure that she is surrounded by wool and chocolates and her memory will always be with you and your family ❤

  14. #14 by Shirley on December 12, 2017 - 09:45

    So sorry for your loss. What lovely memories you have to cherish. Best wishes.

  15. #15 by JaneyB on December 12, 2017 - 13:31

    I was so sorry to read this. I know you and your sisters had been looking after your mum in her home and it was good that you were able to spend time with her and say goodbye. She sounds like a lovely and caring lady and you will all miss her dreadfully. Let’s hope you’re right about the abundance of wool, chocolate and laughter! x

  16. #16 by jendavismiller on December 12, 2017 - 13:57

    Oh Lynn, I’m so sorry. It seems your mum had quite a sense of style…lots of color and pizzazz. And how fortunate that she passed her love of knitting on to all of you. Lovely tribute to your mum.

  17. #17 by KerryCan on December 12, 2017 - 14:17

    Oh, rats. This is so sad and I’m so sorry that she’s gone. But you wrote a beautiful post, a lovely tribute, full of love and family and wool.

  18. #18 by CurlsnSkirls on December 13, 2017 - 03:23

    A lovely tribute to a lovely lady. So glad you had time with her and your sisters. Am certain the rhythm of your knitting needles was comforting for her, and perhaps you all as well. Much love ~

  19. #19 by PendleStitches on December 13, 2017 - 10:51

    I am so very sorry for you loss. Your mum sounds so very wonderful. I hope the happy memories are a solace to you all at this sad time. Thinking of you all x

  20. #20 by tialys on December 14, 2017 - 11:53

    Thank you so much everybody for your kind thoughts. x

  21. #21 by Kim on December 14, 2017 - 18:24

    A wonderful tribute to someone who sounds like an exceptional human being. Cherish your memories 😘

  22. #22 by Born To Organize on December 17, 2017 - 06:16

    Oh Lynn. I’m sorry for your loss. What a lovely woman, your mum. You’ve written so beautifully about her life and what she meant to all of you. I’m glad you could be with her in her final moments. It’s a gift that she could die at home, at peace and surrounded by those who loved her. I’m sorry she didn’t make it till Christmas. Arms around you. Alys

  23. #23 by dezertsuz on December 17, 2017 - 07:56

    I am so sorry to read of your mother’s passing, Lyn. I had fallen behind in reading, and now I feel even worse for it. Everything you ever said about your mother was so positive and loving. I know you miss her very much this season, and always will. My sympathy to you, and prayers for your comfort.

  24. #24 by sewchet on December 17, 2017 - 10:57

    I’m so pleased that you found the strength to write this, as it’s so nice to find out a bit more about your mum and how big a part she played in shaping your knitty nature. I smiled at the similarity with discovering bags (and bags) of knitted UFOs after my mother-in-law’s death five years ago – another very keen amateur with inconsistent results! I feel that same sense of connection when I craft with my two youngest and hope that the older ones will come over to the crafty side in time, perhaps when they start a family of their own? In the meantime, like you, I will continue to pass down these traditional skills to whomsoever enquires in the happy knowledge that others will be spending similar quality time with their mums/aunties/daughters. Long may we knit/sew/crochet!!

  25. #25 by Jane Gealy on January 2, 2018 - 17:04

    Lovely tribute. My mum taught me to knit and I’ve started knitting again after nearly 40 (!!!) years. I’d forgotten everything in that time, but my step-mother-in-law gave me her needles and my mother-in-law got me started.

    • #26 by tialys on January 2, 2018 - 17:24

      Thank you and have fun with your re-discovered craft. What with all those women from Mum through MIL to step MIL encouraging you, it was meant to be really.

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