Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tangled Yarn

My Mom was an knitter. She made us all endless sweaters that we wore until they literally came undone. I loved everyone one of those sweaters and so did my kids.

She made one for my eldest son that I really didn’t like but he adored. It was a variegated yarn in shades of school bus yellow, green, orange and shadings of each in between. I didn’t know until after she had it finished that she had taken him to the yarn shop and let him pick out the yarn himself. She said she laughed all the time she was making it as she was pretty sure of my reaction.

Loneduck wore that thing until it was much too small. He refused to pass it down to his never ending supply of brothers but put it on his teddy bear instead and slept with it. It was the first of the annual sweaters she made the boys and she always let them pick the colors.

Mom began knitting as a girl and like most teens and young women her age, perfected her skills during WWII, knitting socks and scarves for servicemen and to include in Bundles for Britain. My dad says she never made him socks when he was overseas but they weren’t married yet. ( Later he benefited with hand made sweaters too.)

I never did learn to knit although I kept trying. Mom finally taught me to crochet while we were waiting for two of my kids to get over the flu so we could return to our home in Texas from her house in Massachusetts.

We moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming two weeks before Christmas in 1979 and the kids were freezing. Big Jim’s Aunt Ted sent a Christmas package of 9 mittens, all exactly the same color and size, to the boys that year. Each boy got a pair and a spare “Because mittens are made to be lost” she said.

Me? I was making stocking caps. And as fast as I could make them they lost them; I thought. I was fairly upset by this as we didn’t have a lot of money for clothes or yarn. Then I got a call from the school nurse. She told me that Loneduck, Jugglesorcerer, and Sage Words were giving their hats away! Not because they didn’t like them; because they met kids who didn’t have a hat. They told her they figured that, even if I got mad, I‘d just make them another one.

Okay Moms, you’ve all been there. How do you scold a child for being so generous? They had to walk just under two miles to get home from school without hats. The upshot was that the nurse had talked to a few of the teachers and they had gathered some extra yarn and they sent it home with the kids so I could make them new caps. There was extra so I made a few caps for the nurse’s office. My youngest, who wasn’t in school when this began, is now 30 but I still make hats each year and donate them to shelters and other charity outlets.

If you live in an RV as I do, I’ll bet you do some handwork as you travel the long stretches. This is the time when kids (and their moms and dads) from poor families, or living in emergency shelters, need those hats, mittens, and scarves. Elders, vets, and recovering service people, need warm lap robes, stump covers, and shawls. The homeless are cold and can use blankets as well as sweaters and hats to keep out the elements.

I came across an interesting site for giving today. The National World War II Museum publishes a 1940s inspired pattern for scarves each year., in both a knitted and crocheted version. They collect them and send them to Veterans Hospitals and homes all over the country. You can get the patterns here and either send them to their address or drop them off at the nearest VA hospital.

If you are not into scarves this year, then try any of the organizations listed at this site that accept and disperse everything from baby blankets to cancer caps. But keep in mind that you do not have to donate through a group. Nor do you have to do things in quantity. It only takes one stocking cap to make one child warm.

And now you know why I got my name.

Oh, did you like that picture? Look at this site for an interesting article.

See ya down the road,


Karen said...

I learned to knit and crochet when I was a teenager. I love to crochet, but I hate knitting, almost as much as I hate cross stitch embroidery. I have never finished a knitting or a cross stitch project.

When my son was in kindergarten, I made him a western style shirt. It was navy gingham check with solid navy yoke, button placket, and cuffs. I put on some white star studs and white pearl stud buttons. He wore than shirt until it was way too small. I had to throw it out when he was at school so he would not try to wear it again. I should really make him another one.

Anonymous said...

I attempted to learn to crochet when I was much younger. I started what was supposed to end up being a blanket but I never finished it. My mom can crochet with the best of them though... She did the same thing your mom did, making sweaters for my brother and myself and the four grandkids. In the past year and a half or so she has gotten into making really nice blankets for my 3 aunts, all my cousins, my niece's twins that are due in April and a few 2nd cousins as well. I did not get her talent for crocheting OR cooking....

I now know where Loneduck got his passion for helping those in need. One of many reasons why I love him so much.

Geezerguy said...

Your Mom knitted sweaters for me too. I guess I acted a lot like the kids when it came to them. I hadn't thought about that for a while. Brings back nice memories.

Sage Words said...

I think I only have two or three memories f Gramma where she ISN'T crocheting or knitting!

As for the hats, if I had it to do all over again, I would. Those hats were always warm and welcome on the way to and (sometimes) from school! You made us some awesome scarves, too!

Thanks for keeping us warm, both then and now!

-Sage Words