Monday 26 April 2010

Crafty Beginnings

The theme for the first post of Knit & Crochet Blog Week is 'how did you start'. This is what drove me to delve into the gazillion photo albums at my Dad's house - to find a picture of my maternal great-grandmother, Annie Gorman nee Hewitt.

Born the eldest of thirteen in 1888, I shudder to think of how tough her life must have been, and how hard she must have worked.

My mother had a very close relationship with her - far closer than with her own mother, whom she cordially hated - and I assume it must have been G'ma (pronounced Jeema), as we all called her from her signature on her letters, that taught my mother to knit.

I remember going to visit with her in the 1970s (it turns out from the photos that my mother actually labelled, in a departure from her usual habit, that it was 1973) and it was then that she taught me the basics of knitting and crochet; it must have been the very basics, as I was around 6 or 7 and not awfully good at sitting still for any length of time.

She had very bad arthritis in her hands, but oddly enough, they had twisted in a way that was good for holding the yarn and maintaining tension. She was very patient, and I did carry around on a pair of small needles for some time the obligatory beginner's scarf that we all know and despise, that lasts forever, never grows in length, is never completed, and is full of dropped stitches and snaggledy bits poking out. I have no idea what happened to it.

My mother also knitted - I remember with affection lovely warm school sweaters, and a pale blue mehusive bulky sweater I wore to death in my teens - I'm positive she never knitted a test swatch ever. After she died, when we were sorting out some of her things, my father offered all her knitting needles, yarns and patterns to my sister and I; unfortunately, neither of us were interested at the time, so my sister's MIL was the lucky recipient of a couple of boxes of random knitting stuff.

G'ma died aged 96 in 1984, a few years after the only one of her siblings that I knew, my Great-Aunt Ivy. As an aside, they were both tiny women - I remember walking down the road with one on either arm when I was 8 or 9 years old, and I was the same height as them, although I was not a tall child.

Anyway, the basics that she taught me came in very handy when I picked up knitting again a couple of years ago; and I like the idea that a bit of G'ma remains with me through this skill that she shared with me.


  1. Viv - that's a lovely testament to your G'ma. Wonderful, evocative photos :-)

    Ali x

  2. Oh, so sad you didn't keep your mom's knitting tools (can you ask for them back?) but what a lovely story of your knitting roots!


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