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.