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News and Knitting Legacies

Hello everyone!  Thank you for your patience with the prolonged silence over here.  I've been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the Ariella Shawl, which will be published next week! As always, folks on my mailing list get special discounts and coupon codes, so make sure you sign up!  

Now, without further ado, let's move on to this week's blog post: Knitting Legacies


I’ve recently returned from a week in the southwest, visiting my family.  In addition to enjoying some gorgeous weather while there was an ice storm back in Colorado, I got in a lot of quality knitting time.

The view from the back porch

The view from the back porch

 Not for the first time, a family member saw me knitting and brought up the concept of a “knitting legacy”.  My Nana, the matriarch of our family, first put a crochet hook and yarn in my hands when I was 3 or 4 years old, and taught me to do a basic chain.  Later, she introduced me to a single, double and triple crochet stitch.  Turns out, this is a pretty decent babysitter for unruly grandchildren. 

Most of my cousins remember the basics, though none of them went on to embrace it the way that I did.  I have a very clear memory of being about 6 years old and visually deconstructing a granny square she had sent me until I was able to re-create it myself.  I like to think this is where the flame of knitting design got ignited.

It’s not uncommon for knitters, crocheters, weavers, and spinners to have similar stories about how they were taught their craft by an experienced family member, carrying on a tradition, as it were.  However, what about the multitude of self-taught knitters out there?  I would argue that you are still part of a “legacy”.  When I started to learn, a little girl who lived across the street taught me to cast on and how to do a knit stitch after her grandmother taught HER.  In that way, I became part of her grandmother’s knitting legacy.  The craft was passed on and continued.  We are often inspired to learn as a result of the someone else’s knitting legacy: a beloved scarf, sweater, or even a post on pinterest.    

This is one of my favorite aspects of this craft—how it connects us to each other and our past.  When I was working at a yarn shop, we would often have men accompany wives, sisters and mothers in while they picked up supplies.  Inevitably, they would nervously joke about how I must not see many men come through a knitting shop.  I would tell them my husband, a Navy veteran, was a knitter.  He felt that the history of knitting, practiced by men making fish nets long ago, connected him to his own history. After hearing this, they would usually say something to the effect of, “You know, my grandmother used to make these lace table cloths, I remember watching when I was little, and I always wanted to learn…”.  

Knitting and fiber craft is absolutely woven (pun intended) into our collective history.  Whether you knit washcloths or lace comforters, when you pick up your needles, you carry on a tradition that has spanned a multitude of cultures, eras, and continents.

I would love to hear about your own “knitting legacy”, in the comments.  How did you learn? Who taught you?  Who taught THEM?  If you don’t know the answers to these questions, I encourage you to ask, if you have the ability.  We can never have too many stories.

Rae GronmarkComment