A Meaningful Possession

I did not inherit much of my mothers animated busy-ness.  She was always on the go, heading somewhere, doing something, making or repairing or cleaning things, sorting stuff out, thinking, reading, talking, falling into bed exhausted and then getting up bright and early in the morning to start all over again.

She wore me out.  She was one of those people who found it hard to sit still.  So I sat still in sufficient quantities for both of us.  I seem to still be doing that, come to think of it.  Relaxed, motionless, barely breathing.  Mind blank.  Accomplishing nothing.  (You might be surprised at what can pop into an empty head. And pop right out again with equal ease.)

Over the years my mother gave me a lot of things I cherish and I’m grateful for every one of them.  A person cannot spend an entire lifetime being that industrious without leaving a lot of interesting stuff behind.  When she did decide to sit down for five minutes she’d pick up her knitting and keep right on talking, no matter how complicated the pattern.  Sometimes I swear she didn’t even look directly at whatever she was making, and still things generally turned out the way they were supposed to.

She and my dad spent their last years together in a care centre.  He was in a wheelchair following a stroke.  She had heart and respiratory problems and macular degeneration.  They both needed care, and yet they never stopped caring for each other.

Normally you’d think a person in her late eighties who can’t see would give up things like knitting.  But dad needed a throw to put over his legs because they were always cold, and mom decided to make him one. Her peripheral vision was all she needed to sort out the blues.  I don’t know if this throw started out wide and ended up narrow, or the other way around.  It might have been some miscalculation on her part, or perhaps she did it on purpose so one end was wider for an easier wrap-around on the legs.  It’s all done in a basket weave stitch and she probably didn’t consciously count any of it.  Straight garter stitch would have bored her to tears.  There’s a few bumps and lumps and a couple of holes and the odd increase or decrease in random places, but over all, with its crocheted edge, I think it’s damned near perfect.

It might not be the most gorgeous piece of work she ever turned out, but dad loved it.  I’m a little ashamed of my initial reaction on seeing it for the first time – (Oh my gawd – what in the world is this?) – but when it was up for grabs in the grand sort-out of what was left when she was gone, I didn’t hesitate to save it.  It’s just so MOM.  You never know what strange and wonderful thing will end up meaning the world to you. This little blue kniited throw is my priceless treasure.

17 thoughts on “A Meaningful Possession

  1. A lovely memento! Just before my mum passed away she knitted a scarf for my son-in-law in his favorite ice hockey club colors. She was suffering from macular degeneration and could hardly see anything which was painfully obvious when looking at the scarf. She had always done such beautiful knitting and crochet work and knew, because of her failing eyesight and arthritic fingers that this latest effort was full of dropped stitches and mistakes. She was very upset that she couldn’t complete the task and kept taking it up and putting it back in her knitting bag. She died soon afterwards and, just as a little remembrance of her, I took the piece out, sewed in the loose ends and gave it to my son-in-law, dropped stitches and all. I was very touched, later the following year, to see the scarf hanging in pride of place in their living room, along with the rest of his Blackhawks memorabilia, so I can totally understand your attachment to something that your mother made so lovingly.

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  2. Lovely post today. A wonderful tribute to your Mom. The throw looks perfect for covering legs in a wheelchair. Too wide and it would get caught in the wheels I think. I just resumed crocheting so I enjoyed your description of her work very much. Thank you. Dianne

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  3. It might not be as swank a creation as some of your mother’s other knits, and it’s not hard, really, but the constant knit four pearl four pattern does take it out on you. Your mother must have thought it worthwhile in order to get the pleasing end result. I like that pattern myself.

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