I got the sad news last week that my favourite Auntie had passed away, she was the person who taught me a lot about knitting. Although my Mum and Nan had shown me the basics of knitting at a very young age it was my Auntie Jean who later showed me the important stuff, like how to turn the heel on a sock, the different methods of casting on and off, how to work a saddle shoulder, how to make a neat buttonhole, and how to neatly seam and hand wash hand knitted garments. Under her tutelage I had the best dressed dolls in the village, all kitted out in hand knit sweaters and aran dresses. She had worked for most of her life in the woolen mills in Yorkshire and was such a great knitter - she also taught me about different fibres, warp and weft and worsted and tweed. She was by far the most patient person I have ever known and I've been remembering all of the wonderful times, in days gone by that I had spent with her. Just the two of us going on day trips on the train in school holidays, to just sitting together in front of the fire drinking tea and watching old black and white movies on Winter afternoons.
I saw her on my last visit to England and spent the day with her, it was like I had never been away and although her hair was a little greyer she hadn't changed a bit but told me the sad news that she could no longer knit due to chronic arthritis in her hands. She was still the happy, friendly loving Auntie that she had always been. As I left her house that day I knew that it would possibly be the last time I would ever see her. This special lady has always been and still is my inspiration. No matter what I'm working on I always remember some little tip or trick she had showed me.
It's been a strange year so far in that I feel like I've hit a wall with my knitting since way before Christmas. I just seem to have lost my mojo, and haven't been able to do any knitting or decide what I want to knit next so I've let it all slip by the wayside, after deciding it's easier not to do any, at all.
Then a strange series of coincidences occurred:
A few days ago an email landed in my in box from one of the many knitting/craft sites I subscribe to. I usually just delete them as I can't be bothered reading most of them, they are invariably glorified adverts, I don't know why but something made me open one of them. It contained a downloadable knitting pattern that I liked the look of and immediately printed off. Then looked at the yarn it used, it was DK cotton, I don't normally knit with cotton, but I remembered that my husband had brought me back some packs of Sublime Organic cotton from England recently. I went to the cupboard and pulled out the first one I saw, it was a soft green, the colour is called Bean. Well how strange ~ because my nickname for my Auntie Jean was Auntie Bean.
I cast on and after working the first panel I realised that it was the exact same pattern as a very special cardigan that she had knitted for me when I was 10 years old. I can remember every detail of that cardigan like it was yesterday, it was for a very special occasion and matched a gorgeous dress I had, the colour of the wool was called crushed raspberry. I remember when she was knitting it and I would call in to see her every day after school to check on it's progress lol. I wore that cardigan until it literally fell apart. Maybe it's just wishful thinking on my part but I feel that Auntie knew I was stuck in a major knitting rut - so she sent me the knitting pattern, the yarn and the happy memories.