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Grandmother

Andrea Sanchez

Today we have guest blogger Nikki Wagner, designer of the Sylvan Hat and Mittens from our Winter 2015 collection. She is sharing a heartwarming post about knitting through the generations. 

This was Gran when she was a teenager in Chicago circa 1940. Her name was Pat and she was a prolific knitter and seamstress.  I now kick myself for not fully appreciating her gift while she was alive.  The things she could create with her hands were mind-blowing and I’ll share a handful of them here with you. 

Knitting and other fiber crafts connect us through the generations in a powerful way. Long before she passed, Gran sat me down and shared many of her vintage patterns with me. She wanted me to have all of her needles and patterns that she had collected through the years, and today I am so grateful that I have them all. The patterns are fascinating to read and she has her beautiful handwritten notes all over the pages.

Many times I sat with Gran and watched her cast on, knit English style, and perfectly seam knitted pieces together. She always had freshly baked cookies, endless patience and many knitting-related stories to share.  What a gift! If only I had considered those times to be as precious then as I do now!

Knitting seems to bring out my sentimentality. I didn’t fully realize how much love goes into a hand knitted garment until I inherited the sweaters that my grandmother made for me as a child. At the time of this writing, most of the sweaters I have fit my little man. In all honesty, I spend a lot of time staring at the garments and admiring her amazing knitting skills. When I look at her sweaters it is almost she is sitting next to me again and sharing all her techniques and stories.  And then I see all the beautiful details and technical work in each sweater and I connect with it deeply as a knitter.  Knitting connects me to her now as equally as it did when I sat down next to her and watched her make the stitches.   

Now that I am a mother, I see the power of passing on my knowledge of knitting to the next generation. I may not have been the best pupil at the time, but I oftentimes think of my grandmother as I knit. It is just as if she is here with me.  Teaching my child or even a future grandchild how to knit is a way to connect with them now and well after I am gone.  Gran would be proud to know that she made such an impact on me.

After she passed, I found a cowl that I had made her a few years prior.  Knitted with bulky yarn, I took it to my face so I could get one last smell of her.  She had worn it many times and her unmistakable smell brought a flood of memories in that moment.  I still wear the cowl and it has long last lost her smell, but when I wear it I am carrying around her memory and legacy with me.