The days grow short. Outside chores still beckon but so do inside diversions. I will have to finalize the list of items that will make-up this year's handmade holidays. But in the meantime, materials need to be organized.
So I set to work, on a rainy day, on this seasonal chore. Knitting needles are scattered throughout the house. They do not always find there way into their needle case after use. I need to account for them so I can get some of my work done. I have a pile of kid craft supplies that has yet to find a permanent home since we moved. I have decided to put them on a shelf in the living room. But this shelf was the home to my knitting books and magazines, so they too will have to find a new home. A Halloween costume needs to be constructed but the bin of fabric stash was put in the crawl space behind the pile of fleece that still needs to be processed. Some of the washed fleece sits in a basket near my rocking chair and some of the carded fleece is in another basket. But the the pile of washed is still greater than the carded. I have big plans for this and have to make some more time for this. An accounting of yarn is on the to-do list in order to see if I can make some projects without buying materials. Money is tight but we still want to be giving.
The whole time I am gathering, sorting and setting right, my hands are laid upon gifts from my grandmother. It was she who passed on this crafting legacy to me. The needle case is made of blue felt and ribbon. It was filled with her double pointed knitting needles and it was given to me when she passed away. When I remove the binder of patterns off the shelf the small notebook of index cards, she used to keep patterns for basic mittens and hats in, falls to the floor. I am reminded of all those mittens she used to make for us as kids: the too brilliant red sweater she made for me when I was in highschool, the afghans that I put on our beds every fall. I remember sweet calico shorts and tops she made for me when I went to camp, as I try my hand at making Evan's clothes on my trusty treadle sewing machine.
She tried to teach me to knit when I was a child but without much success. But I did learn to crochet and embroider from her. I have memories of sitting at her sewing machine to make dolls clothes. She was never as fond of knitting as I am now. It was a utilitarian craft for her. But she did love to crochet. I am fortunate to have a crocheted doily she made grace my dresser.
My grandmother would share a story with me sometimes. Her mother walked into my grandmother's kitchen one day and admonished her for having a sink full of dirty dishes. My great- grandmother was the sort of housekeeper who ironed sheets. Instead of cleaning her kitchen my grandmother was sitting at her kitchen table knitting a pair of mittens. In response to her mother's lecture of good housekeeping my grandmother said,"It is more important that my children have mittens right now than clean dishes." Go Nana!
I am grateful to be able to use some of the same tools that she used. The silent magic of creating something with your own hands is a gift that I came to at a time in my life when I needed to learn how to be still. Now I can walk around my home and see rugs that warm my floors. My children walk out the door in wool caps I have made them. The essence of my love for my family is woven into the fabric of these garments. It says be warm, be safe.