Sunday, February 21, 2010


I thought I'd have the Coffin Baby Sweater done by now but skiing and exhaustion got in the way.  I only have to finish the i-cord edging on the second sleeve so I'll try to post a picture tomorrow  And that's all I've been working on.

"Memory is a man's real possession.  In nothing else is he rich.  In nothing else is he poor."  Alexander Smith, 1830-1867

I like that quote.  There's so much in it.  In yoga and meditation it's all about the now.  It's about being in the present and I love that and strive for that often.  But there's value in memories too and in holding onto them.  If I live a good full life I hope I will have good, full memories to accompany me.  Tangible objects are one of the things that help us remember.  And with all the thought, creative juices and love that goes into knitting most things there are of course memories wrapped up in those objects.  When's the last time you thought about the memories stitched into your knitted objects? 

Right now I'm sitting under an afghan that I knit for my husband before we were married.  I knit it because I was broke and wanted a great gift for not so much money.  Also, at the time he lived in a basement apartment in the Catskill mountains in New York with electric heaters and he had no money either.  We spent every other weekend there and we froze.  I thought an afghan was a really appropriate gift.  So I drove across the border to my LYS in Prescott, Canada and I bought a pattern and a bunch of skeins of bright, primary colors in acrylic and knit up a striped afghan.  I gave this to him in 1987 while the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan was going on and so my husband dubbed it the "Afghan Rebel" and it has had that name ever since.  Sitting under this afghan also reminds me of my own basement apartment of the time, owned by my high school boyfriend's family.  It was out in the woods.  It was quiet and small and I loved it.  It was the only time of my life that I lived alone.  All these memories wrapped up in a 23 year old garish afghan made out of acrylic.  I wouldn't trade those memories or this afghan.

Lately I've been wearing My Baktus a lot.   I love this thing. I've discovered that it keeps me as warm when I'm skiing as a fleece neck gaiter but it has way more style than that and if Shaun White can wear his bandanas then I'll wear my handknits. It's made with Adirondak Yarns Cobweb in the Navajo colorway. This is a gorgeous, hand dyed silk/alpaca laceweight yarn that's above my usual price point but I had a Mother's Day gift card to my lys so I splurged on something for myself. So the first memory wrapped up in this knit is the love of my family who cares enough to buy me what I really want - more yarn!
I started the scarf on June 6th, 2009 as my husband and I set out for a Phish concert weekend at Mansfield, Mass. We go away together without the kids about once every 3 or 4 years so it's always a special occassion and Phish concerts are always a celebration. Here I am enjoying the parking lot before the show.

I started it there.  I ripped it because I didn't like the edges.  I started again with i-cord edging and worked on it all through my son's baseball season and at my lys and during our trip to Virginia and on and on and on.  A garter stitch scarf in laceweight on size 1's takes an incredibly long time to finish.  I was still working on it in October when my Mom was visiting and had a heart attack.  I worked on it while I sat with her in the ER for 13 hours and then for 4 days in the cardiac unit.  I filled it with memories of my mother and her strength and courage.  And the hours and hours of Food Network programming we watched together!  I didn't finish it until 2010. 

Is it any wonder that handknits become items we can't throw away, no matter how out of fashion they become or how tattered.  Those are hours of our lives and the tangible expression of our living and the physical reminders of our memories.  With both effort and luck, our lives will be as beautfiul as our handknits. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing these memories. Beautiful!