Over the past year knitting has been the activity that has brought me peace and helped me to escape all that has been happening in the world. I didn’t realize the key role my knitting had played during the pandemic until I took some time at the end of 2020 to reflect on the year. I’ve been knitting for 35 year and this past year I’ve probably knitted more than any other time in my life.
I’m intrigued by the stories of how knitters learned to knit. While most knitters have taught themselves to do a variety of stitches and techniques it seems every knitter learned from someone else the basics of knitting and purling. I especially enjoy the stories of knitters who have been taught to knit by a relative. I appreciate the family heritage that is created by passing on knitting skills from generation to generation.
I learned to knit from my husband’s grandmother. At the time she was called Gram but she came to be called Grandma Myrtle once she became a great-grandmother. I don’t recall where my interest came from but Grandma Myrtle was always knitting something as she relax in the evening so I asked her if she would teach me to knit. Most people start with something easy like a scarf but for some reason I decided to tackle a sweater for my then 1 year old nephew. Thinking back on that now I wonder if she thought I was crazy. I would never recommend a sweater as a first knitting project but I don’t recall Grandma Myrtle being phased by my ambition.
Grandma Myrtle guided me through each step of the project from ribbing to knitting in the round, increased stitches, decreased stitches and weaving in ends. I would often have to wait until I saw her to move on to the next step because at the time there were no YouTube videos to help me. She never discouraged me and was patient when it took me a few tries to learn something new. I eventually finished the sweater for my nephew and actually knitted several more sweaters for friends’ babies and even my own son.
My knitting journey has included blankets, shawls, dish clothes, socks, mittens hats and more. Grandma Myrtle left us almost 10 years ago now about 6 months after she turned 100. I’m so glad I learned to knit from her. There’s a piece of her in every one of my knitting creations. I’m passing on what she has taught me to my daughter-in-law and I know it would please her to see her craft passed down. I know she passed on her craft to her granddaughter and I hope between the two of us we are able to keep this family heritage going for generations to come.