Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Knit One, Purl Two

Please welcome with me, guest blogger Terri Wangard.

Knit One, Purl Two

How’m I Doing, Mom?

Janette Oke’s debut series Love Come Softly prompted me to learn how to knit. The women in the stories were prolific knitters, which in their frontier day was necessary. Today we can buy sweaters, scarves, and mittens at any clothing store, but I felt deficient at not knowing this womanly skill.

            A craft catalog featured a set of darling knitted snowmen Christmas tree ornaments, and I ordered it. When it arrived, I told my mother either she could teach me to knit, or she’d be knitting them herself. She taught me how. For the past twenty-five years, those little snowmen have decorated my tree.

            As I write this on what would have been my mom’s 81st birthday, I remember a lot of her “womanly skills.” I’ll never forget her frustration at not being able to finish the second mitten of a new pair for me before I headed back to school after Christmas break. She’d broken her arm in a fall on ice and couldn’t knit wearing a cast.

She was not only a prolific knitter, she sewed much of my school wardrobe. She helped me learn to sew, too, and while the sewing machine and I never became good friends, I did succeed with simple patterns. After wrestling with the sewing machine and failing to complete a new top I wanted to wear for the first day of college, I headed off to freshman orientation in a blue mood. I returned home to find the top finished and ready to go.

These days I don’t do much sewing or knitting. Any sewing is mostly repair work, if Mom’s vintage Pfaff machine cooperates. It loves to snarl the bobbin thread. I haven’t knitted for so long, I’m not sure I still can. Mom’s not here to straighten out my messes. Even in the years before her death, dementia had robbed her memory of the fine points of knitting.

I wonder now. Did I ever thank her for teaching me?

Do you have knitting memories with your mom? 


  1. Terri, There is not a doubt in my mind that you thanked your mom many times over for her teaching you to knit. Can you imagine how proud she was when you knitted your snowmen?

    My mother and I don't have any knitting memories or sewing memories for that matter, but I am blessed to still have her with me and we have wonderful memories between the two of us and we are still making them day by day.

    Thank you for your beautiful post.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

    1. Thank you Melanie. Those memories are precious, but also hurt at times, now that she's gone.

  2. I learned to knit in 6th grade 4-H and love it. Memories with my mom are of sewing. She had a temperamental Brother machine like your mom's. She would watch me as I sewed and tell me I was doing everything right but the machine wouldn't work right for me. She'd sit down and zip right through it. Later, she bought me a Viking and I loved it! When it was stolen from my apartment, I missed it more for the fact Mom bought it for me than for losing a good machine.
    No matter how old our moms are when we lose them, we always wonder if we thanked them enough. They are special ladies!

  3. While I'm a knitter, my mom wasn't. My memories include her trying to teach me, someone with 2 left feet, how to dance. She had rhythm...I don't. But we had fun. My mom was 93 when I lost her this year and Mary is right. I wonder if I thanked her enough.

  4. A wonderful post, Terri. Yesterday I actually received some crocheted ornaments from a lady who goes to my church. There's just something special about home-made items. You know the time and effort that goes into them, and that makes them priceless.

    I don't have knitting memories with my mom--she's not a knitter---but I do recall her trying to teach me how to crochet. She went so fast I couldn't see what she was doing. :) It was fun though. She's taught me many things and y'all make me more mindful to thank her while she's still with me.

  5. Thanks Crystal. Unfortunately, my mom didn't crochet, so she couldn't teach me that art. Learning from a book doesn't work for me; I have to see it done. I did take a class in tatting...