Friday, February 21, 2014

For (the sake of) Grace

halter.for.grace
pretty.edge
lace.panel
striped.bow
graduating

There was a very windy, sweeping storm last night.  We woke up to sunshine, warmth, birds chirping and the tricky business of believing it could be Spring.  Jeff said there was something a little sad about the sunshine today but he couldn't say what exactly.  Something sort of sad about Spring.  While he sat on the side of the bed with his coffee, (hoping the aroma would coax me to upright) me still buried in blankets, I offered that maybe it's sort of like the sadness of waking up.  After sleeping deep in the dark, cold winter.  The beauty of the morning however can only be explained one way for me today.  Today is my Mama's birthday.  She would have been 69.  When I think of her and birthdays, I think of all she did for us and her grandchildren.  I think of cakes.  Presents.  The utter joy she had of finding just the right thing for one or the other of us (and on sale too!).  But for so many years now birthdays have been about knitting for the grandchildren.  She divided the 12 of them (13 now) into two groups of receiving a handknitted  gift from her.  One year she made something for each of my six children, then the next year she made something for the other 6 (my brother's 4, and my sister's 2).  So everyone got a handmade every other year.  A pretty sweet deal.  We would periodically expect an email from mom asking us to measure one child or another so that she could plan the size, yarn, needles, gauge, and other details.  I always, in my limited understanding of knitting from patterns, would overlook those details in our conversations and just wanted to see the color of the yarn and the pattern she had planned.  This was typical for mom and I as a pair.  I got excited about everything that I could see and dream of, she concentrated on the details of getting it right.  She saved the excitement part for seeing her gorgeous grandchildren in the sweaters.  She did not love doing color work.  She loved intricate stitches.  She was a beautiful knitter.  She has made amazingly lovely pieces.  She said a prayer for the recipient with every single stitch.  In the rear view mirror, I think that my slow uptake on knitting over the years has been because I just always wanted her to do that.  I wanted it to be hers.  I wanted, in very recent years, to not be the one knitting in the family.  We needed her for that.  I want to call her right now and tell her to check my blog for the pictures of Grace's sweater.  I think in the winter of of 2012, I began focusing on finally getting this knitting thing figured out because I felt that she would be handing this work to me at some point soon.  And at her hospital bedside last April (knowing that she had two knitting bags back at her hotel), I asked her permission to "help" with her knitting projects for a while.  My sister asked to work on the Christmas pajamas.  She smiled and blessed us each with a nod.  She gave us permission.  And so very much more.  

I will never knit like her.  I can hear her saying in my mind, as she is looking at this, that she would never dream up working the colors this way, but they are so beautiful.   It will be perfect for her, she would say.  My sweet niece, Grace, is 6 years old today.  Yes, she shares a birthday with mom.  It is so very appropriate that the first handknit, or as we call them "Nani Knits" that I created, is given on the day that we celebrate them both.  It followed a pattern from Mom & Me Knits.  But it's not pale solid pink.  It is striped and then some.  In Grace's favorite colors.  It's doesn't have big grosgrain poufy bows on the shoulders, because my niece is not a poufy girl.  It is bright and cool and gutsy like her.  Like both of us.  I made it with as much love & capability as I could muster, and trying to be all that my mama loves in me.  It is not perfect.  Only perfect in that it is a gift.  Still given from Nani.  Like the gift Nani continues to be for us.
Happiest of Birthdays, Sweet Grace.  A good day to be born.  (I hope it fits!)
xoxoAunt Anna

36 comments:

  1. Beautiful sweater. Beautiful words.

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  2. brings tears to my eyes... so precious, perfect, and beautiful.. xoxoxox your mama would be so proud. <3

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  3. So beautiful! The sweater and the story. Thanks so much for sharing. Happy Birthday Grace!!
    Amanda

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  4. I have tears in my eyes. Love to you all on this bittersweet day.

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  5. This is beautiful - the sweater, the story, how you treasure your mom and her traditions. Thank you for sharing this.

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  6. Love to you all on this day! The sweater is beautiful. As I shared this with my own daughter Elle, she said, "WOW! that's beautiful! Could you order me one like that!" She's five and obviously has great taste! xoxo

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  7. Such a cute sweater and so lovely and touching words! There are some tears in my eyes, too. Love to you and your wonderful family and a happy birthday to Grace!
    Nicole

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  8. Tears . . , in the middle of this restaurant . . Because of your words, story and beautiful knitting. Way to live Anna. Xo

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  9. What a beautiful legacy your mother left her children and grandchildren!

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  10. It is a beautiful sweater and tradition to uphold. My thoughts are with you.

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  11. Very beautiful! may your Mother's memory be eternal! God's comfort to you all. You are continuing a beautiful tradition of love...

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  12. A gem of a post, Anna. Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  13. As a knitter myself, and recipient of treasured handmade gifts from grandmothers, this post brought me to tears. Blessings to you on this difficult yet hopeful day.

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  14. A truly beautiful story. And such a sweet & spunky handknit! I adore the colors! What a wonderful tradition to continue. :)

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  15. Anonymous9:59 PM

    Wow! You are one clever cookie with the colour choices! Beautiful!
    Thanks too for the lovely words.

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  16. Anonymous4:52 AM

    thank you for sharing, it is a honour to have a nani, grandmother, granny or nonna who give us these memories that last forever. I, like you have left sock making to my mother (she will be 82 in March) .

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  17. oh this is beautiful. the story. the sweater. there is such an empty space where someone once was. and even though it gets a little easier, it's always there. that may seem sad, but there is comfort in it somehow for me. of course that empty space will be there..... you know? a love like that hangs on forever in its own way. i'm certain your mama in some way is smiling as you get to know those needles more and more...... xo~

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  18. you are such a blessing to your family, am. xoxoxo

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  19. AM, we talked about your Mom a lot on the Lizzie thread yesterday - we do frequently, and miss her daily. Loved your post.

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  20. Beautiful post and sweater for Grace!

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  21. oh anna, your words are so beautiful (as is your lovely knitting... and my goodness.... the color work.... i have never thought of knitting in this way). your post brought me to tears this morning. what wonderful family bonds you have... you (and your family) are such an inspiration. thank you for inspiring always! -jenny

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  22. I think that you are so good at what you do because your Mother loved you so much...

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  23. Teared up to this AM reading this. What a wonderful way to celebrate your Mom. And the colors are so AMH, perfect blend of you and Mom for the next generation to love too.

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  24. I love to hear about your mama, you write about her so very beautifully. How lovely your knitting is, she would be so proud of how you've done it. It must be very hard for you on her birthday, I am thinking of you Anna Maria.

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  25. My mother makes a lot of clothing for my 2 daugthers. I will show her the picture of this beautiful sweater and she can make a similar one :-)

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  26. You are making me all misty. Mother's are a wonderful blessing. You are so wonderful to be carrying on her legacy. I'm sure Grace will love it!

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  27. Anonymous1:55 AM

    I cried. Still crying. Bless you.

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  28. Tears in my eyes…gorgeous…it's my birthday today...

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  29. Your post today is so beautiful. I believe your mom is so proud of how you carry your love for her, your family and your craft. I feel honored to be able to see this small part of your world. Thank you.

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  30. Beautiful sweater. Beautiful post.

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  31. Anna Maria I am so happy to see you and Eleni are carrying on your moms treasured and cherished traditions. I loved hearing about the next sweater and the yearly jammies :) I was so blessed to have gotten to know her through the WW message boards...we miss her dearly!

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  33. Anonymous12:55 PM

    Are you planning on putting up a Dowry pool for pictures? Would love to see one! Thanks!

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  34. What a lovely post! My grandmother taught me how to knit and, though long gone, I can't pick up my needles without feeling her presence right there with me. I am sure you feel a similar way with your mother. Blessings to you and your continued knitting for your family.

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  35. Lorna4:18 PM

    This made me cry, for lots of reasons. First, your beautiful writing - the bond between you and your mother shines through every word. Just lovely. Also, memories. My lovely, feisty granny knitted - though never with a pattern. It was all in her head, and she could talk, watch tv and sing songs whilst her needles flashed away on the most complicated, delicate pieces. I have a cardigan she made for my father, but other than that it's all gone - my mother, being a modern gal, put all the lovely knitted clothes and crocheted blankets to the charity shop. Kinda heartbreaking, but the tradition will continue - I crochet, and my three year old is trying to learn too. Thanks for the beautiful writing, and the memories.

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