Thursday, April 2, 2015

Gurl got SKILLZ

You'll have to excuse the title of this post. I feel like I have to counteract the geriatric nature of what I'm about to write with bad grammar and hooligan-eese.

I learned a new skill.

I've written before about the death of my grandmother late last summer, and how it broke my heart and colored my world. One of my grandma's favorite things was blankies. She wrote a blog post back in 2009 about the quilts she made each of her grandchildren. She also knitted a blankie for each of her great-grandchildren. I believe she knit seventeen in all before she passed away.  

Hannah with her blankie in 2009

Paige with her blankie in 2011

Samuel with his blankie in 2014. Granma started making Samuel's blanket before I became pregnant with him, and she kept saying, "I have a blue blankie with your name on it." she knew how badly I hoped for a son, and I think that blankie became a good luck charm. 

My brother and his wife announced her pregnancy two weeks before Granma passed away. The blankies were so precious to me, that one of my first thoughts after they announced was that their child wasn't going to be given the amazingly beautiful and precious gift. I knew that somehow I needed to learn how to knit. I would continue the tradition that she started with my own nieces and nephews.

The first thing you have to know about this project is: I don't have a crafty bone in my body. I hate/loathe/despise/abominate projects. In fact, projects is a dirty word to me. It's not in my nature, it's not anything I ever desired to learn. But I felt strongly that Granma wanted it. 

The problem was: how do I learn how to knit? There are various YouTube tutorials, and WikiHow articles, but nobody to answer the questions I had like: "Yeah, but how do I ACTUALLY do this?"

Enter: Sara.

I turned to Facebook to see if I had any talented friends who knew how to knit and would be willing to teach me. I discovered that a girl that I sort of knew in my area was extremely talented and very willing to be patient and teach me. I found a pattern that looked doable, and she told me the brand of yarn, size of the needles, and a various other materials.

Sara selflessly came to my house in two two-hour sessions one week. She taught me how to cast on, knit, purl, read a pattern, fix mistakes, and work patiently. The time passed quickly and pleasantly. As I cast the yarn onto my needles tears stung my eyes as I thought about Granma. I regretted that I hadn't asked her to teach me while she was alive. Somehow I knew she was with me, and she was pleased with the way I was trying to honor her.

For the next two months I spent every night working meticulously on a blanket for baby Jack. My hands became sore and tired, but got stronger as I persisted. It took me approximately three hundred hours, (or seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, several movies, and a season of BBC's Broadhurst...seriously, this blanket has been brought to you by grief, sentiment, and Netflix) the blanket was finally complete. Sara came over once more to teach me how to bind off and weave in the loose strands. I.was.done.

I loved creating this gift. I loved learning a new skill, I throughly enjoyed knitting and I look forward to the next  blankie for a new baby. I thought about my first nephew, imagined him wrapped up inside the soft folds, and fell in love with the boy I haven't met yet. The best part about the whole process was gaining a deeper appreciation of the beautiful baby blankets from my grandma. I felt her love and presence so acutely. I know she is watching over me. That she is proud of me. I couldn't have done it without her.
I asked my Sam to give it a test drive to make sure it wouldn't disintegrate upon use.  

Baby Jack Timothy Marsden wrapped in his auntie's love

1 comment:

P & J said...

That made me cry Melissa. What a touching tribute to your grandma. Now I have to run every day for ten years for my grandpa. I wish he could have had easier goals. :)