Who taught you to knit?
For me it was my Great Granny.
She was born in 1883, was 70 when I was born and died at the grand old age of 98. She always looked the same to me – a very old lady with grey permed hair. 70 year olds don’t look like that these days! When I was little I would visit her and sleep in the same big double bed and she would tell me wonderful stories of when she was a girl – oh how I wish I had listened a bit more closely! Having such clear memories of someone who was born not just in the last century but the one before is great (even though it singles me out as being a bit ancient too!) and I can pass some of those stories on to my grandchildren.
Two things came together to remind me of her today. One is Mothering Sunday. Granny Gibb was one of 13 children and was born in a mining village in Scotland. She went into service at the age of 12 – not unusual then - working for a local Laird in the ‘Big’ house. The tradition of Mothering Sunday has its roots in a time when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mother and other family servants – it was often the only time that whole families could gather together. For children and young people who were ‘in service’ it was a day when they could visit their families. The children would pick wild flowers on the way to place in church or give to their mothers – this later evolved into the tradition of Mothering Sunday and giving gifts to mothers.
Granny Gibb used to talk about this and going home with her sister Agnes (“oor Ag”) who was a year older. If they were lucky they got a lift in a horse and cart or they had to walk the several miles to their Mother’s house.
The other thing that reminded me of her today was the title of this article – Where is Granny when you need her? In the latest issue of Knitty. Granny Gibb came to mind as she taught me to knit – I knitted a garter stitch scarf when I was 5 and progressed to a round cushion by the time I was 6 – all knitted from odd pieces of leftover wool. Multi coloured garments were always fashionable when re-cycling was involved! I then read the article and found out it was about crocheting – something I never quite mastered beyond straightforward squares!
But what I did think is that skills that you learn when you are young never leave you. At different times of my life I didn’t knit, either because I didn’t have time or because it wasn’t ‘cool’ but I could always do it and came back to it often. It can give you many things, satisfaction from being creative, a sense of well-being (you lose a lot of problems when you are concentrating on an intricate piece of knitting!). It can be very social (all those knitting circles!) and what’s better than making a baby shawl that turns into an heirloom.
Knitting reminds me of Granny Gibb and isn’t it great that someone born in 1883 is still remembered so clearly and has created lovely memories that I talk about to my children and grandchildren.
Click on the links to read more.
Have a great day