Knitting is clothing made in spare moments, or round the fire, whenever women gathered together... It's something to celebrate-clothes made in love and service, something women have always done.
Anne Bartlett, Knitting: A Novel
My mother taught me how to knit when I was five. She told me that she, herself, had learned to knit at the same age, taught by the nuns at her primary school. My mother believes that rules are for boring people, so she has always made up her own stitches and patterns. Her creations don't always turn out the way she originally intended, but they are always beautiful. She passed this tendency to improvise on to me.
My mother's mother - my Mimi, taught me to purl after I mastered casting on and off and knitting. My Mimi is a left-hander, so I learned to purl as a leftie. Mimi taught me the value of always starting with too much yarn because you will ALWAYS run out otherwise, of knitting at least a row every day, and of paying attention to color and pattern. Her creations are meticulous and perfect - they are compositions created by a master.
When I knit, I take my place next to these two women, next to their grandmothers, and next to the worldwide community of women who have clothed their loved ones out of duty and love throughout history. I treasure the thick, warm, crazily cabled cardigan my mother made for me, just as I treasure the intricately laceworked baby blanket my Mimi made for my future child.
I hope some of my knitted garments find their way into the homes of my grandchildren. I hope my grandchildren see my work and wonder why I knit right-handed and purl left-handed, and why I use a traditional color scheme but no pattern. Most of all, I hope my descendants find their way to the path lined by those who came before them, to the rows and rows of women who stitched their love and dedication into garments that will outlast them by hundreds of years. I hope they see their beauty, and find value in the act of doing what must be done artfully, with love.