Someone’s been knitting. But it wasn’t me.
When mum came back from Adelaide last weekend she brought this gorgeous little cardigan from Grandma Mary. As she pulled it out of the bag she mentioned that Mary had handed it over with much dark muttering about “yarn” and I had to smile.
The mother in me finds this cardigan unspeakably cute on my little baby girl. The knitter in me understands exactly how much love is involved in a knitter like my Grandmother bringing herself to knit with novelty yarn. My Grandmother was the first knitter I knew and is the best knitter I am ever likely to know in person. When we were both younger she used to turn out astonishing colour work sweaters, both fair isle and intarsia, though mostly fair isle, at an alarming rate (think Wendy). She knits less these days but never the less recently completed a Kaffe Fassett intarsia sweater in a pattern that scared the living daylights out of me (you have HOW many colours going at once?).
Before I started knitting I suffered under the delusion that all knitting must be the same to the knitter, that “knitting is knitting”. It never occurred to me that yarn/needles/pattern would make any real difference to the knitter. Once I started knitting myself I suddenly understood two things. One, that yarn, needles and pattern can all make the difference between knitting being a joy or pure hell. Two, that knitting for others is a wonderful expression of your love for them - but you still want (need!!) to be able to enjoy the process. I love knitting for others, but generally speaking they get what I choose to make them. Another thing I realised only after starting to knit myself was that each knitter has their own unique style and knitting preferences. Some of us are all about socks, some are committed colour knitters, texture is probably my favourite thing (at least for now). My Gran is a colour knitter extraordinaire, with a life time of experience knitting with fine natural fibres, often wool that she had hand spun and dyed herself.
I was always impressed by Grandma Mary’s knitting. But it wasn’t until I started knitting myself that I really understood just how skilled she was, or just how much pain some of our requests must have caused her. I can only imagine the knitterly frustration she must have experienced after being talked into knitting this novelty yarn by one of my aunts.
All I can say is - thankyou (both)! My own yarn snobbery is enough that I would never have guessed how cute this cardi could be or how much I would love it. We adore the cardigan, all the more because we truly appreciate the labour of love involved in knitting with such a poor excuse for yarn. I am awfully glad I didn’t have to knit it myself in order to enjoy the end result!!
P.S. To everyone who has sent me emails and left comments since Grace was born - I am so, so sorry that I haven’t replied. These days computer time happens while I breastfeed and my ability to type is suffering accordingly… Also my hard drive died and I am currently stealing moments on other people’s computers.