Monday, January 18, 2010

The Red Mittens

Bright red pair of handknit mittens
This is the last pair of mittens my paternal grandmother knitted for me.

She was always making something, whether by sewing, knitting or crocheting. I remember her darning my grandfather's socks, too. The darned spots looked knobby and uncomfortable, but I never had to wear them, so I'm not sure.

She had a root cellar full of pickles, tomatoes, and other canned vegetables from the large garden she tended with grandpa. They also grew roses, rhododendrons, hens and chicks, forget-me-nots, sweet peas and poppies.

My sisters and I never fully appreciated the things she made, whether it was a dress for one of us or miniature knitwear for our Barbies. Like others of our generation, we thought that things had to be bought to be good.


elena said...

Beautiful. Weren't they wonderful, those grandmothers? (And those gardens). I had two like that, too. I often think about how much they taught and influenced me, although I wasn't fully aware of it at the time. Very fortunate to have those red mittens. Hang on to them!

Barbara said...

When we got married 27 years ago, my maternal grandmother asked what color our couch was and how tall my husband was. After being told that our couch was blue and green and my husband was 6'2" she sent us a knitted afghan that is shades of brown and beige and 5' long. We were publicly polite and privately mocking. Only years later did I stop to think that she knit that while her hands were nearly crippled with arthritis, with love knotted into every painful inch. After 27 years of use that afghan now perfectly covers my 12-year-old on our beige couch, and I tell this story often. And it still looks almost new! Those grandmothers made things that LAST.

elena said...

..a great story, Barbara. Someone recently told me that she sees knitting and crocheting as a meditative method for "binding anxiety" (coping with things you can't change, and learning to know the difference). I know that was true for my mother's mother, who had both a husband and son with debilitating health issues. Interesting that there is a resurgence of engagement with these skills and strategies now.

Ms Sparrow said...

It's really sad that we often don't appreciate the special love that older people have for us. It is only now that I am older that I realize the loving touches that I never even noticed when I was young. It is so easy for the young to gloss over the values and contributions of the old--I know, because I have been both young AND old!

Heewon said...

I love these mittens! How lovely and sweet she made you all so much.

Jeanne said...

My oldest sister gave me a pair of tan and cream mittens knitted by my paternal grandmother who died a month before I was born. There's a lovely cable stitch down the back of each hand (the cream part), and the cuffs are tan. They are beyond utilitarian, more lovely than she needed to make them. I keep them in the "mitten basket" by the front door. I seldom wear them, but I often think of my father's mother who made them.