Friday, July 15, 2016

It Started With Her

Grama taught me how to knit.

I was five years old and it began with five stitches neatly cast onto a size 7 double pointed needle; after about fifteen minutes, question after question, attempt after attempt, five clumsily knit stitches managed to get themselves onto the other needle...

...about a year and a half later, five stitches turned to ten, fifteen, twenty, and the ability to read a pattern and further learning in the "Bernat Book Of Complete Knitting" that she dug out of her collection of pattern books and gave me, where I learned the proper name "garter stitch" which was the beautiful rows and rows of ridges -- knitting even on two needles back and forth...just plainly knit...knit...knit over and over again.  

I was in love.

A few years after my love affair with the craft began, she partnered with her eldest daughter, my Aunt Chris, and opened "The Craft and Yarn Shop" which began in her small living room on James Street in Biddeford, Maine, and then moved to a nice mall during the summer in a favorite tourist town, Old Orchard Beach, and, then again, back to the house on James Street.

When the two women weren't doing affairs with the shop, they stayed on the fair circuit and traveled 'round Maine with their crafts.  Oh, the days that I miss:  seeing the booth set up in the house with all of the crafts on the shelves, ready for pictures to be taken for the next application; even better, seeing the booth set up at the fair -- and if not the big booth, most certainly the rented table stacked and filled to capacity.

We children did get to see a bit of Maine just by traveling to these destinations.  

After a few years, the shop closed, the fair dates grew fewer, but the crafting still went on and on in the form of charity work -- now, of course, knitting wasn't the only craft involved, but, memories of mittens and hats and booties and slippers and afghans -- and seeing them being put in boxes or bags to bring to someone less fortunate than those of us who had such luxuries.  

Years later, I, myself, decided to go the charity route and knit simple sweaters and booties and hats especially for preemies -- the littlest of all people -- brand new in this world.  

As I knit daily, I finally did develop some other patterns with some inspiration from some people closest to me, but most of all, the drive and common sense and just the simple pure love of knitting instilled in me by Grama, who has passed on, leaving me just that much empty -- for what she began so many years ago, I would only wish that she would be around to see what was to come of her lessons; a part of her, though, shall live on in the following pages -- at least the bits of knitting stories and journals and a pattern or two, of which, to her, are most warmly dedicated.
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