3KCBW Day 3 -- Knitting Hero

Your Knitting or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fiber crafts who truly inspires you.

I am one of a breed of knitter who seems to be unique to the internet age.  Or at least that's the impression I get when I meet people.  I taught myself how to knit with pattern kits and dusty library books.  I can't remember the name of the book I actually used, but it taught me how to bind off -- after a year of attempts can you imagine how magical that was?  There are many people who were lucky enough to be taught by a family member.  A grandmother, an aunt, a cousin, their mother.  I had no such concept of a knitting heritage.  Until my mother gave me this.

Taken in California in the late sixties/early seventies, this is a snapshot of my grandmother.  Knitting.  Evidently when my mom was a kid my grandmother was always knitting, in the same way that I am now knitting in every spare moment.  I have vague memories of my grandmother before she was diagnosed with a debilitating disease that slowly took her memories of who we were.  Put into context, these are memories from when my sister was learning to walk -- she's now turning 21 on Friday (do not get me started, I can't handle it).  But after she died I started to learn more and more about the crafting legacy that I unknowingly inherited.

For example, my grandmother was a very thrifty lady.  After she had made the year's woolies, she would take her leftovers to make mittens.  My mom talks about them every year  and she was thrilled when I made my Sparkly Skid (above) and told her it was knit from shawl leftovers.  Evidently I am fitting into a pattern I did not realize existed.  Like a fairytale character who cannot figure out why she is so different until she finds out that she is a princess and had been living with the kind woodcutter's wife all this time to keep her safe.

I do not have any of my grandmother's knitting, but I do have a scarf knitted by my mom.  Turns out that she was the only one of the four daughters to refuse to knit.  But a few years ago she asked me  to teach her.  And she's not the only one returning to her knitting roots.  All three of her sisters have once again picked up needles and hooks.  My aunt, who made the bag below, described it as a way to connect with their mother who is now gone.  She might have left us several years ago, but they find tactile ways to remember her -- and the sense memories are strong.

They might not have returned to knitting until later in life, but the women of my family -- even those who do not knit -- are a crafty lot.  My one aunt was an artistic quilter, the other two create beaded jewelry that sells in craft shows in the North East.  Even my sister and several cousins have caught the bug.

Even though I barely knew her, I do think my grandmother inspired this legacy of creation.  I keep this photo in the center of my inspiration board so that I'll always connect back to my roots.  Because even in this internet age of self-taught knitters there is still heritage -- you just have to look.

Find other knitting and crochet heroes by searching 3KCBWDay3 in Google.


  1. What a lovely photo to have been given.

  2. Lovely post. It's in the genes isn't it? It must be, it's hard to describe the overwhelming NEED to knit!

  3. I love this story. I love how it shows that crafting can run through and around and back through the members of a family, bringing them common connections, sometimes surprisingly, as in your case. So funny that your mom did not want to knit when she was young although her mother did, but then asked you to teach her--so ironic and so wonderful! Thank you for sharing this.

  4. This is so wonderful. :)
    (I also taught my mother to knit, for a theatrical production)

  5. Wonderful story. I wasn't taught to knit or crochet by a family member either. I had to teach myself and then I signed up to an Adult Ed class to learn how to knit patterns.

    But my great aunt was a crafter extraordinaire. She lived in the States all through my childhood until she died so we didn't know each other very well, and I didn't know she was a crafter until I was an adult. She did leatherwork and pewter work and all sorts. She made these two big amazing pewtwer mirrors. One of which my brother has and one which my mother has. I feel this is wrong. I should have one of them as I am the only crafter left in the family. However, as my sister in law is crafty I will allow my brother to keep his mirror - in other words Mum - hand it over!

  6. aww your story was lovely, I'm sorry about your grandmother - that's really sad but so cool that you're so like her. have a knitty wednesday xxx

  7. Beautiful testimony to your grandmother. I am a knitter, but my grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a child. She was also a skilled seamstress. I'd like to think I inherited some of my interest and skill in knitting from her.

  8. What great memories you have and a legacy to be part of. I think it's awesome the women in your ohana are returning to their crafting roots.