Monday, March 17, 2008

Handing Down the Tradition

How did you learn to knit? Did you learn from a grandparent, parent, a sibling, a neighbor? Someone else?

When I was young, I wanted to learn to knit. My mother and my grandmother both knit, and it seemed like the likely thing to do. However, every time my mother tried to teach me, we just didn't "mesh". Now this was interesting, since she taught other kids in my school how to knit. (Believe me, I can write this because we still laugh about it.)

So, an older and wiser 7 year old (I was 6) taught me how to cast on and knit. Danita was a good friend who taught me these first basic stitches. Once I had these started, my mother really taught me everything else. It was as though I had to go out and apprentice, and then come back to learn from the master. And my mother really was a master at the craft! Her beautiful lace work, sweaters, and complete suit outfits that she knit were truly spectacular.

Now, we still laugh about this. In the last few years, I asked my mother if my grandmother taught her to knit. The answer was interesting: No. It seems that perhaps my mother or grandmother never thought to ask the other, and my mother learned to knit from her grade 4 teacher. So we have this intergenerational, matriarchical, group of knitters in my family, with each of us going out and apprenticing first!

Whoever taught each of us to knit is heartily thanked. The fact that we all knit ties us together through our yarn and needles. That is a wonderful gift.

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