Made to last

Forgive me, for I’m about to use the c-word. Yes, Christmas. It’s not that far away, not really, especially if you’re a knitter, because as we all know, Christmas doesn’t knit itself.

So I don’t have a lot of knitting to show you, because most of what I’ve been working on lately is in the Santa’s Little Helper drawer. I have knocked myself up a cardigan though.

Pattern from , and very pretty and simple, but be sure to make a better job of sewing up the side seams than I did. Yarn is Rico Essentials DK, bought from my lovely friends at Treacle Wool Shop, who have a great new online shop so now you have even less excuse not to knit. (Yes, you do have enough patience. Because knitters don’t knit because they are patient, they’re patient because they knit. And yes, you can do it. It’s much simpler than it looks, honestly.)

I’ve been thinking, as I clack away at my needles, about just how much I love making gifts for the people I love – and about how much of my life, really, is about crafting. I knit. I sew. I spin (and am starting to be able to spin yarns I can knit with, instead of yarn so over-twisted they have the texture of porridge and the feel of barbed wire). I bake. I write. (I may have mentioned the writing a bit lately.) And yes, it is about expressing love and affection and appreciation, yes it is about looking after people, keeping them warm and nourished – but I think it’s also to do, on some level, with leaving a little mark on the world. There is a part of me that knows that these things I knit and sew might outlive me. I don’t mean that in a maudlin way; I don’t expect to die any time soon.

But I do like the idea that things I have made, with my hands but also with love and care and always, always holding in my heart the person I’m making it for as I stitch, take on a life of their own. I like that they go out into the world and do their thing, and though some may get lost on beaches or left on trains (not that I can criticise, after the Icarus and Pinkerton disasters) others might stick around for a long, long time. Last year my mother went to see an old work colleague of hers, and that colleague is still wearing a pair of gloves that my Grandma knitted. My Grandma died nearly 20 years ago, but something that she created with her craggy, rheumatoid hands is still warming the hands of someone else. Which, if you knew my Grandma, you’ll recognise is entirely in character.

So, I’m knitting Christmas. I’m knitting love. And I’m knitting, I suppose, some little bits of what feel like my quiet legacy. Although I intend to outlive them all.

5 Responses

  1. BucksWriter says:

    I love, love, love this post and I totally agree about the rewards of knitting and crafting. This year I am making more gifts than ever and putting lots of love into each and every one. Making something gives the maker so much pleasure, as well as showing the recipient that you value them enough to offer your time.

  2. Emily says:

    I love doing craft and making things for people. I love deciding what to make, if the recipient will like it. Thinking about special colours or designs that will mean something to them, I get pleasure from thinking about the person while I make the gift. It’s even better if you meet the person unexpectedly and they are wearing your gift, because they like it not just to be tactful.

    Making a gift for someone is a wonderful way to cherish them. Go on have ago!

  3. Margi says:

    Thanks for reminding me – my mum can no longer remember the beautiful heirloom Fair Isle pram cover she knitted for the twins’ arrival. I’m going up to see Mum and Dad soon, so I’ll take it with me and see if it jogs her memory.

  4. Stephanie says:

    It’s funny that although I completely understand the value of making things for others in my head, it’s only when I receive something hand-made – like the beautiful dragon tail necklace you made for me – that I fully understand it. The way your heart jumps and twists at something so very special. Thank you. X

  5. Trish D. says:

    This is a beautiful post. Your passion for knitting and crafting is not only rewarding to you because you are able to express your love for others, but also for those receiving the gifts you have made with love. My mother always told me that she would much rather me give her a card that I made than one that I bought because it has more meaning and love. When I was younger I didn’t really understand that because I felt like everyone was so materialistic, but now I finally understand. I also noticed that she still has all of the cards that her children hand-made in a box in her room, but there were only a few store-bought cards. The things that you make by hand and give to your loved ones will be cherished by them for as long as they live, just like I cherish that quilt that my grandmother made who passed away a few years ago or the shell necklace that my father gave me who also passed away. Take care and best wishes!

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