labour of love

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Grace in Grandma Mary's cardigan

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.


Comment by Barb on 27/8/2006 @ 3:09 am

What a cutie pie. Loved your grandma story.

Comment by jo on 27/8/2006 @ 8:43 pm

She looks sooooo sweet Jo - you guys have been taking some gorgeous pics of her!

Comment by Mira on 27/8/2006 @ 11:42 pm

Grace is absolutely adorable and quite the poser! =)

Comment by Sue on 28/8/2006 @ 2:56 pm

What a beautiful daughter you have, and a lovely grandmother to knit such a cute cardigan. Love the photo, and your lucky to have a grandma that still knits, mine used to but shes been gone for about 10 years now. I am so glad that you appreciate her so much, lucky you.

Comment by Adina on 28/8/2006 @ 3:07 pm

You take some amazing pictures mama!

She is lovely, and that cardi is adorable!

Comment by Anna on 29/8/2006 @ 6:41 am

Hi Jo,

Your little Grace is just so beautiful and the cardigan looks divine on her. I am a bit of a yarn snob myself but it really is gorgeous.

Comment by Corrie on 29/8/2006 @ 1:40 pm

ohhh love the cardy and Grace is so cute and looking so much bigger! I only really get on the net when Keira is on her playmat or b/feeding but now she tries to kick the computer off the arm of the couch so that doesn’t work anymore! at least I get some knitting time now at night that she sleeps more! keep up the good work with her - she is beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Comment by Maureen on 1/9/2006 @ 4:27 am

Congrats on your new little Grace. That cardi is very adorable! PS… found your blog by searching for felted Sophie bags. Yours was awesome in duel colors!

Comment by Mel on 2/9/2006 @ 2:25 pm

HI Jo,
Grace is obviously thriving and totally gorgeous. Loved the story about Grandma and relate to the yarn snob theory as well, I suffer from it myself, although when a friend had her 4th baby under school age recently I bit the bullet and knitted with machine washable baby yarn from Patons and the look of relief on her face when I said it was machine washable was palpable-LOL.
With kind regards, Mel

Comment by Rain on 4/9/2006 @ 5:30 am

Oh, your little Grace looks precious!!! The cardi is sweet too!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

RSS feed for comments on this post.