Mom’s Scarf

I have mentioned before that my Mother  taught me to knit. I think I’ve mentioned that my Mother is a serious Knitter.  She’s been knitting her entire life, and was  taught by her grandmother – who sounds like she was another serious Knitter.  Mom remembers going over her grandmother’s when she was a very little girl – and my grandmother asking her where her mittens were. My mother said she didn’t have them – and my grandmother just whipped up a pair right there, ready for her when she went home. So knitting has been always a part of my mother’s life, and my memories of my mother always involve the clicking of her aluminum needles.

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When I was growing up, I always had mittens and hats made by my mother. I would occasionally get a sweater, and I remember one Christmas where she made my father and I fair isle sweaters from Icelandic Wool (I still have my father’s – and that’s a story for another post). As I got older, though, she didn’t knit for me as much – frankly, before I was a knitter I don’t think I really appreciated what she made as much as I should have. But I did get the occasional scarf, mittens or sweater.  Since I started knitting, however, my Mom hasn’t made me anything. She figured that since I knit I could just make things myself. So she’d send scarves, mittens, sweaters, socks to my brothers, sisters, nieces, and nephews and occasionally, Dan, Andrew and Cieara. But never me. And I understood it – but sort of wished that I’d get something too.

My Mom is 90 and is starting to lose her eyesight due to macular degineration. She still knits but she can’t knit with anything fine or small needles. And she has a hard time with patterns and remembering where she is. She keeps on telling me that she thinks she is going to have to stop knitting – but you can tell she just doesn’t want to. She loves going to yarn stores, reading patterns and trying new things. Its really hard for her to give it up – and I think she also thinks she’s giving up that connection to me. She was so excited when I started knitting and she loves to talk about it with me.

Anyway, when I was visiting her in February, she was making my sister a scarf. I was joking around that I never got scarves – and she told me she’d make me one. And when she finished my sisters (my mother is a one project knitter), she started mine. I heard about the yarn, the pattern, and how she was struggling to find the right pattern.

Long story short (its already been long I know!) – my mother has been working on this scarf for months – and has struggled through it. She told me its much harder to knit for me than it is for anyone else because I would “see the mistakes” She’s frogged it three times completely because she thought it just wasn’t good enough. I kept on telling her that I didn’t care – that everyone has mistakes in their knitting but she just couldn’t do it.  She wanted to send me something that I would love because its perfect.

Last week I finally got the scarf, and I had to share it because I think that it represents the best thing about knitting – the memory, the love and the meaning behind some of the projects we do.

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I don’t think that every project represents something – I churn out scarves and socks and things simply because I want to make them.  But sometimes projects have a bigger significance to me – the shawl I make for someone carries with it my love and thoughts about the person.  The baby booties I made carry with them my good thoughts for my nephew and his wife.  And this scarf that my mother struggled to make for me for months carries with it the connection we share as knitters, the love she has for me, and the memories that I have of her.   I see the scarf, and although I see some areas that aren’t as perfect as she would have liked, I see the hours, the struggle and love she put into it.  And I don’t think that I could ever love something more.  When I wear this, I’ll think about her, and will love the scarf, not because its perfect or imperfect, but because she put so much into it. And I’ll cherish it a little bit more because it may be the last thing she makes for me because of her eyesight.  I think its a pretty amazing scarf, don’t you?  It holds so much meaning, and yet its just a couple of balls of yarn (really nice yarn, but still just yarn).

Thanks for all the nice comments about the cashmere scarf.  My mother loved it – in fact, she loved it so much she forgot that I was making it for her friend and thought it was hers.  When I reminded her, she asked me if I thought it would be terrible if she kept it -= that it was too nice to give away.  I really had to laugh – but it was really nice so I completely understood it as well.  I told her that I would make something else for her friend.  But I guess that I should make sure its not too nice!

I finished Artemis and just blocked it so next time I’ll have pictures of that.  And I may have started a new project – it took me an entire day to decide but I’m really enjoying it.  And its not blue!

Have a good week!

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25 Responses to Mom’s Scarf

  1. Denise says:

    Beautiful story!

  2. Deb in PA says:

    What a lovely story! It’s so nice when someone gives you a gift like that.

    My mom doesn’t knit, but she does quilt, so I love it when I get a quilt made by her.

  3. Rachel says:

    Lovely story and a beautiful gift – lucky you 🙂

  4. Steven says:

    Oh, Jeanne — thanks so much for sharing this. I’m really quite moved. To be able to share your craft with your mom is such a special thing. I choked up when I read that she had frogged it three times! The scarf, and the sentiment, are perfect.

  5. Elspeth says:

    That scarf is so gorgeous! My grandfather has macular degeneration and the rest of us are scared to death we’ll get it too. I think it was Kristi Schueler (Designedly, Kristi) whose mom is blind and still knits – you might want to contact her and connect your moms.

    Happy 4th (observed)!

  6. Stephanie says:

    That is an incredibly touching story. I love that you and your mom get to share knitting, and that you and she can give each other knitted gifts and know what went into them. Yes, that is a fine scarf that would quickly become anyone’s favorite upon hearing its story.

  7. Shea says:

    I actually teared up over this story. I love the gifts that my Mom has made for me over the years. Her gifts were sewn, not knitted, but oh so precious to me. I’ve been having fun knitting gifts for her now. It’s so nice to be able to exchange hand made gifts that have so much love invested in them.

  8. Lina says:

    What a wonderful scarf to represent the love of your mom for you! I loved your story to go with it too. 🙂

  9. This is such a touching story! Your mom is clearly a real sweetheart. The fact that she worried about you noticing mistakes is really a compliment, don’t you think? This scarf will certainly be something you cherish!

  10. donna lee says:

    I don’t have anything knitted that I didn’t make myself. I think it’s the same reasoning as your mother, “well, you can make it for yourself”.

    I love the scarf and all the feelings it represents. I would wear it every day and enjoy the warmth (well, I might wait until it’s not 100 degrees).

  11. brokeknits says:

    Thanks for sharing such a lovely story.

  12. Rebekah says:

    what a lovely post. I lovely cherished item indeed. (I feel the same about a lamp my grandmother made me for my wedding gift, from what we know it was the last thing she made before she died)

  13. opal says:

    what a beautiful relationship you have with your mother. i think it’s so special that you share knitting as a bond between the two of you. the scarf she knit for you is truly lovely. i hope you’ll pass that on to her!

  14. Linda (FiberFan) says:

    I sooo understand your story! Thank you for sharing, Jeanne. BTW, I often knit or crochet with eyes closed especially at work when resting my eyes from the computer screen. Eyes not burning with yarn in my hands feels so good 🙂 I bet if your mom’s love of fiber remains as her sight diminishes, she’ll be able to continue knitting fabric. Perhaps scarves, or maybe wool in garter stitch to be felted? How many times have we nodded off with a gentle smile on our faces and yarn on needles in our hands? 😉

  15. MB says:

    WOW, the scarf is beautiful. I think she did a wonderful job…and I love the color.

  16. Kim says:

    What a special gift. I love the pattern and the color especially the effort your mom put into it and the fact that you appreciate it so much as a knitter and a daughter.

    It is sure to keep you snug for many cool days.

  17. lucette says:

    Your mom’s scarf is knitting at its finest, a gift of love. The scarf will keep you warm and snug for a long time, yet the memories will last a lifetime.

  18. Hilary says:

    That’s the most beautiful scarf ever. Thank you for sharing.

  19. weezalana says:

    What a beautiful story. And I can just picture you wearing that scarf for years to come, and thinking of your mom every time it dons your neck.

    I feel that way about sewing – it was something my mom did while I was growing up, and now that she lives so far away, it gives me a sense of connection to her every time I do it. That’s why I’m so happy I actually, finally, got the hang of it!

  20. Robby says:

    Wonderful post! As I was reading it, it reminded me that your mom probably kept other things you made when you were young (a cracked vase, a stick figure drawing) because you had put so much of yourself and your love for her in them. It’s sometimes nice to see the circle close, no?

  21. Oiyi says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. I love it. It made me want to cry. I want my daughter to grow up the way you did. Remembering that her mom was always knitting, crocheting, spinning, weaving….err and the other zillion things I like to do.

    My mother doesn’t understand why I craft. She thinks it’s a waste of time or that I have too much time on my hands. It hurts and I do feel bad she doesn’t understand my passion for my hobbies. So I hope to share my love of whatever I do with Melody.

  22. Christianne says:

    Such a wonderful bond you have with your Mom – and what a lovely keepsake you have.

  23. redfear says:

    What a wonderful story and scarf!

  24. kitkatknit says:

    My Mom took knitting lessons when she was pregnant with me. She knitted me sweaters, vests, dresses, for Dad argyle socks! She taught me to knit when I was 5. She no longer knits so I knit for her. Mostly socks, sweaters and hats.

  25. rhoda says:

    what great memories you have of your mother when you were a child and of her as a child. i love that you now have your own knitted item from your mom-one you can cherish forever. i knit the same way you do-with all my love and good thoughts for the recipient. 🙂 thanks for reminding me of one of the reasons why i knit.

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