Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors.
I’ve been really inspired lately by Penny’s posts (Alexander Residence,) in her Little Legacy series. It’s about sharing little nuggets of wisdom that have been passed down to us by lost loved ones. Memories that we have forgotten for a long time. A snapshot into the person that once was.
This post was prompted by Penny talking about how a heart shaped button fell off her daughter’s pyjamas.
My Mum was a knitter. An amazing knitter. I don’t know if she could sew. Probably. She could do many things that I couldn’t do, and still can’t. Back then, I think I thought that you could only be one or the other – a knitter or a sewer, but someone must have repaired my clothes growing up and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Dad. His fingers were always crusted over with cement.
My Mum could knit, watch TV and read a book at the same time. This absolutely, completely and utterly fascinated me as a young child. Having the attention span of a gnat, I couldn’t work out how she did it. I could barely watch Blue Peter without my mind wandering. But she did it somehow. She was like a beautiful swan. On the surface, serene, peaceful, graceful but underneath she was a flurry of activity – like a well oiled machine. She managed to do it all and we just took it for granted.
She would knit jumpers. For my brother and me. Wonderful, 70’s style, OTT, colourful jumpers. I remember one that was red, white and blue – maybe it was Jubilee related. I wore it to school one day and it was school photo day. Typically, I got a stye in my eye that day and looked like Quasimodo … but the jumper looked wonderful.
Mum taught me how to knit but I wasn’t very good. I was seven when I attempted a scarf. It was Jaffa orange colour and ended up only a foot long with massive, gaping holes in it. Mum’s knitting never turned out like that and I think that left me frustrated that I couldn’t be as good as her because I never attempted to knit again.
I wish I’d kept that scarf. I wish I’d kept everything that reminded me of my Mum because as each year passes, I forget more and more about who she was – I’m only left with that sense that she was a wonderful person. I guess that’s enough.
But if I close my eyes I can hear the click, click, click of knitting needles knocking against each other. She knitted so fast, I used to wonder if they would catch on fire and set fire to the wool. Funny what you think of as a child.
She and I would have conversations as she knitted. Her legs would be tucked under her as she sat in her favourite armchair, me sat at her feet, looking up. It’s one of my fondest memories looking back but it’s still the type of memory that brings the tears, six years on. So I do my best to block memories like this out.
My memories of Mum knitting are in the recesses of my mind – together with her line dancing or baking cakes, or playing cards, or curling her hair. Of her putting Nivea on her face every morning, cuddling me on that very same armchair. Of her touch.
The memories that make me smile and cry at the same time.
PS: My brother has since commented: “I always wondered why the arms on the jumper were 4″ longer than my arms.”