My father’s mother was the practical knitter in the family. Every couple of years she and my grandfather would drive to Texas in their brand new Lincoln (he bought a new car every couple of years), and stay for a bit. She would bring her knitting and a small portable bar. Every evening, about 5 pm, she and grandpa would sit on our front porch, perfumed by magnolias in the summer heat, they would have one rum and coke each, and she would knit. A small break for dinner, and then back to knitting the evening away. She knit us layette sets as infants, then she was responsible for knitting our school sweaters and berets and ponchos… I still have several of these. Most were well worn utilitarian garments that got passed from me to my sister and then on to other families. It was always exciting to have them come, and to go through her knitting magazines and pick out the pattern and color of next year’s knits.
She taught me to knit on these visits. And some crochet. In later years she was queen of the dishcloth, the first time it was popular to knit those. She had to keep her hands busy while she watched the birds and squirrels and escaped the summer heat. My grandfather would sit there shelling peanuts to feed the birds and squirrels with.
On one of the early visits though, when we were just babies, apparently my 2 grandmothers got talking. The knitter and the sewer. The sewer convinced the knitter that quilting was the fun of the future.. so my knitting grandmother went home and made 2 scrap quilts… truly scrap quilts with no rhyme or reason…and she sent them to my mom for my sister and myself. The quilts are simply tied, and made of all sorts of scraps.. some flannel, some shirt fabrics, and with a pieced together backing. My sister and I laid on them under trees as small children, and later used them for doll picnics and camping quilts. They stood up to the rugged use. I was glad to still have mine to bring to my new home when I married.
My knitting grandmother did not get struck by the quilting or sewing fever. And my sewing grandmother never could get the hang of knit/crochet/or tatting, like her relatives. But both of them gave those genes to me, and I love all – sewing, quilting, knitting and crocheting.. all things handwork related. I am grateful for such a legacy, both material, and genetic!