I got my weekly Knitter’s Review e-mag the other day, and it included links to various forum topics. One that caught my eye was from a forum member mentioning all the knitters that seem to be coming out of the woodwork, and wondering where they all came from.
I’d like to know where that woodwork is.
As I mentioned in my first post, I don’t really know–as in, know in person–any knitters. I tried to interest my friends in doing some knitting and/or quilting together, even offering to teach, but there was minimal interest. They just have their own hobbies, and many seemed to think that fiber arts isn’t compatible with young children. These are the same people who oohed and ahhed over the booties I’d knit for my niece–modeled by my 4-month-old while I kept tabs on my 3-year–old, so they knew I’d managed to do hand work with little ones at home.
Anyway, after I got over feeling sorry for myself because my woodwork is singularly free of other knitters, I saw that the original posters big question seemed to be not “where?” but “why?” Why are all of these people knitting all of the sudden? And I wondered if I could sum up why I started knitting and quilting and all the rest of it in just one sentence. The first thought that came to my mind:
I want to be the cool grandma someday.
I had a cool grandma. My maternal grandmother was, in my eyes, as cool as they came. For one, she was the director of the local Girl Scout camp, Camp Echo Trail (where all the other girls confirmed my belief that Grandma was ubercool). She was one of the first woman police officers in my hometown. Everyone in our church, where she was quite active, knew and loved her. But what I remembered most was her creativity.
I know she worked with yarn, although I’m not sure if she knit or crocheted, because I remember seeing it around the house. What I most remember though, were her painted ceramic crafts (like the beautiful painted mouse Christmas ornaments) and her cakes. Oh, her cakes. Give Grandma icing, food coloring, and various icing tips, and she could make anything. My younger twin brothers once got Micky and Minnie Mouse. A younger cousin received an intricately decorated clown (which, amusingly to us older cousins, scared him). And I remember a gorgeous hot air balloon, although I don’t remember who it was for. My dad got a grave–a grey tombstone planted on a grassy mound–for his “over the hill” themed 40th birthday.
It’s not really the individual works she made that I remember so much, just that she always seemed to be making something, and that she was so talented and creative. It was a bit intimidating, really–I wanted to be just like Grandma, but I didn’t share her talents. My painted ceramics looked more like bad modern art, and I tended to get more icing on my clothing and the floor than on the cakes. My biggest problem, really, wasn’t talent as much as it was patience. I had none. Grandma could sit contentedly for hours with her little icing bags, but I wanted to see results after the first 15 minutes. I also couldn’t seem to sit still and do just one thing at a time.
It wasn’t until my mom introduced me to quilting that I finally found my creative outlet. This craft actually answered my need to multitask–Mom was hand quilting as she watched TV. The thought of having something for my hands to do while my eyes were engaged elsewhere was quite seductive. Once I started machine quilting, I was able see those quick results I craved, and I reached the point where I could machine quilt and watch TV (my husband thinks it’s so cool that his wife can quilt and watch football simultaneously). I added cross-stitching when my son was born (it gave me something to do during those long hours in the hospital recovering from my c-section or sitting next to his crib in the NICU), and then knitting after the birth of my daughter. Baby knits go together a lot more quickly than an adult sized sweater, that’s for sure.
My grandmother has since passed away, but I’m content in the knowledge that I have joined the other cool crafting women in my family to carry on her tradition of creativity. There’s my mom, of course, who quilts and crochets. One of my aunts also crochets, and has made a beautiful heirloom blanket for every new baby. She also collaborated with my seamstress aunt to make my son crocheted christening outfit. Now there’s me…and someday, I hope I’ll be the cool grandma helping my grandchildren find their own creative outlet.