A Vintage Welcome …
As I think back to when I was a young girl, I remember staring at my grandmother’s hands as yarn wound its way through her fingers and wrapped itself around needles. The yarn grew into beauty. My memories filter through a knitterly lens as I recall her teachings of how to keep hands busy. I learned the love and joy, along with the techniques, of knitting and crocheting under the tutelage of her expert hands; the benefits of which I enjoy to this very day.
As the years passed, and my own expertise grew, I marveled at the products of our needles. My grandmother began a long-standing family tradition of wrapping each newborn member of our family in love through the gift of stitches. Every newborn babe received a hand knit or crocheted layette. My sisters, cousins, and I received this gift upon our arrival into the world and our own children received the same. Now it is time for our children to begin families, but my grandmother has long since passed and her hands have long since stilled.
My Grandmother made a better teacher than any YouTube video available today. She was patient and kind. She would tell a tale through her stitches. She imagined the newborn fitting into the carefully crafted outfits and swaddled in the intricately created blankets, bonnets, and booties. Whether it was a carriage cover destined to become a favourite cuddle for a tot, a sweater to keep the winter’s bite off a shoulder, or an heirloom ensemble to welcome a newborn into the world, her expertise showed the love woven into every stitch.
Shortly before her passing, my grandmother and I spent some stitcherly time together. Although arthritis had long since stolen her hands, her mind held her stitcherly expertise firm. As I stitched, she told of tales from long ago. She recalled each heirloom ensemble that she had gifted. Her eyes saddened with the reality of the gift arthritis had stolen from her. She could no longer share her spirit through stitching, but she sparkled when she realized that I could.
During one of our last visits, my grandmother gifted me her patterns and needles along with the request that I continue to impart her love through the stitches that created beautiful pieces, which, as hers have, would survive the ages. She moved to her storage cupboard, her gait was slow and steady, showing the toll of a life well lived. She collected a stack of worn magazines and pamphlets and placed them in front of me. It told of knitterly accomplishments that spanned almost 75 years of stitching. Nearly every project had been lovingly knit by my grandmother’s own hand.
My grandmother placed her hand upon mind and, as her gaze met mine, she bade me to continue what she had begun. It is with this in mind that I embark upon the fulfillment of this heartfelt bequest. Each stitch I create harkens to the days when my grandmother’s hand, with speed and precision, expertly created gifts of love and beauty – many of which survive to this day.
It is the blessing of being gifted a grand niece (to arrive this coming June 2012), that brings these memories forth. It is with honour that I stitch the first of many heirloom ensembles to welcome newborns to this world. It is with humility that I stitch for a new a generation of souls. It is with love that I weave my grandmother’s memory into each stitch. It is with a full heart that I share these memories with you and say, “Welcome, little one, this stitch is for you!”