Sunday, December 12, 2010

The knitting bug

(This is a sweater my mom knit for me a good twenty years ago. Didn't she do amazing work?)
Once upon a time there was a remarkable woman named Judith. The people I knew mostly called her "Mom" or "Mrs. Spearing" or "Judy" but her name was Judith, and she liked to be called Judith. One person even called her "Jutsy" which she didn't like at all, but since it was her own mother, she couldn't do much about it.
Judith had many fine talents. She cooked nourishing and delicious meals for her family, she kept the enormous amount of laundry for her family of six under control at all times, she kept the house in good order, worked at the library, wrote stories, and knit the most amazing things. She made sweaters for everyone in the family, as well as hats, mittens, scarves, shawls, and doll clothes. She made LOTS of socks because her husband liked hand knit socks the best.

She also taught Sunday school, was president of the church for two terms, and rose to the occasion admirably when her daughter needed a purple velvet dress to wear to a high school dance.

(This is the latest sock I made for Larry. It only took nine days! But I still have to make the other one, and finish it before Christmas.)

She passed her love of sewing and knitting on to me, one of her four children. When I was about eight, all the girls in the neighborhood decided to learn to knit. "Mrs. Spearing" kindly provided yarn, needles, and endless patient instruction. When we pulled the yarn too tight and the stitches just wouldn't come off the needles, she would knit a row for us to loosen it up so we could continue. When we came to a difficult part she showed us what to do next. We made countless headbands and doll scarves and blankets, and tried a mitten or two. Then summer came and we took ourselves off to the joy of swimming and bike riding, and put aside our knitting. Mom was probably glad to have the time to go back to her story writing.

Many years went by before I knit anything else, but when I was in high school I decided to knit a sweater. A plain navy blue sweater with no designs or stripes or anything at all to relieve the tedium of knitting back and forth, row after row. Mom kindly finished it for me so as not to waste the yarn, when I declared I had never done anything so boring in my life.
Many years later I had a little child who loved to be read aloud to. Everything we read about he wanted to try, or have me try. Knitting was no exception, and when he was about four I made this scarf for him because we'd been reading a book which included something about knitting.
Many more years went by, and then in early 2010 I got bitten by The Knitting Bug. Wow! I have made 15 snowmen, a cat, a pig, two bunnies, four mittens, and five socks. I have neglected my quilting and especially my blogging, but I have found knitting the perfectly PERFECT portable project.
Now I take it when I visit my mom. She can no longer see to knit, and doesn't remember that she taught all the little neighborhood girls how. She often doesn't know who I am, but I sit beside her knitting while she tells me about a past that never happened. Her quietly brilliant mind has let her down, along with her eyes.
Her four children all have good memories of the things she knew and taught us, and we all have hats and sweaters she made for us.

8 comments:

Tine said...

That's a beautiful post Diana! Your mother sounds like a very special person. How wonderful that she gave you so many happy memories and taught you how to be crafty. She did well ;)

Daisy said...

What a lovely post, Diana! Your mother sounds much like mine in many ways. It is so difficult to have to sit by and watch as age robs our mothers of what they once had, but the things she taught you will always keep her close to you. The sweaters and hats and scarves she made will keep her with you too. I have several afghans that my mother crocheted that keeps her close to me. What a joy that you can share your mom's love for knitting.

The Gingerbread House said...

Darn it Ladydi! This post was a tear jerker for me!! What a beautiful testament to your mom! She would be so proud to know that you have lifted up the Knitting Needle after all!..Another talent she has given you that perhaps you don't realize is "Your gift of Personality", it didn't happen by chance, you had to have an example, and she was it. Stay Blessed! Ginny

The Gingerbread House said...

P.S. I forgot to say how beautiful I thought that sweater was...WOW and it still looks good. Ginny

ladydi said...

Awww, thanks to you nice blogger friends. I am thankful that my mom is comfortable and well cared for, and try not to regret what cannot be.

Suzanne said...

Diana this is such a lovely tribute to your mum and I am sure somewhere sometimes she is smiling and thinking of you.
I remember myself mum finishing my knitting of a jumper for me for my sewing class in High School too.
Mums are fantastic arent they.

Kim D. said...

That's a beautiful sweater and what a lovely tribute to your mom. My mother knitted me a beautiful sweater when I was about 5, I'm not sure what happened to it, but I imagine it was given to one of the nieces. You're so fortunate to still have the sweater. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a very Merry Christmas!

Careysquirks said...

And your Mom wrote wonderful children's books! Your post about her is beautiful!