You will never believe what I have come to possess.
Someone on freecycle offered a partially knitted red wool sweater that she’d picked up at an estate sale and never gotten around to finishing.
My first thought: Hmm. I could use that yarn!
My second thought: Estate sale. This is the knitting of a dead woman.
My third thought: I Have Got To Have That Sweater.
So I’ve created an idea of her, this knitting dead grandmotherly type. In the middle of a stitch, her red woolen knitting fell to her lap and that was that. The picture she held in her mind of what the finished sweater would look like, her thoughts of the intended sweater recipient woven into each neat stitch, none of that was seen by the relative or caregiver who discovered her. It was simply red knitting, set aside and never picked up again. Maybe grandchildren would see it and glimpse a memory of grandma’s fingers on that yarn for a moment.
I didn’t have a knitting grandma. My grandmas taught me to make banana pudding, showed me how to use pastels, raised tomato plants and demonstrated cross-stitch as we watched Shirley Temple movies.
But knitting is my own. It’s something I’ll try to teach to every grandchild or anyone else who wants to learn – because it's knowledge that is meant to be passed on. It's part of a tradition of people who have each calmly and purposefully turned string into clothing one single stitch at a time, like a loud hum of a thousand things working quietly in unison. You infuse potential, ideals, outcomes, and random thoughts into each inch of fabric, weaving in pieces of yourself as you go. It's magic, in the very oldest sense of the word.
And this is all probably why people seek out communities or religion or something, but I'm happy just knitting and knowing it's there.
As I looked through the box of red sweater pieces, I was seized with an overwhelming Amelie-like urge to complete the sweater, locate the person for whom it was originally started, and anonymously send it compliments of the deceased.