I write this post at a time of grief; last week my Grandad passed away after being back and forth in hospital for the best part of a year. We didn’t want him to suffer anymore and while there is relief that he’s at peace, my heart feels heavy and I’m so sad I’ll never get to sit in an armchair in their living room and show him my knitting, or photographs or just wait for him to say something cheeky that he shouldn’t say.
As I hold onto my memories and think about saying my final goodbyes soon, it’s the knitted blanket he made me when I was a little girl that I hold onto. He knitted them for all of the grandchildren and my sister and I always refer to it as ‘Grandad’s blanket’. It’s barely left my side in the last week. Grandad always knitted; my Nan and him have knitted for the WI and for charities for as long as I can remember – blankets, clothing, toys etc. – I can picture their living room now, lined up with teddy bears ready to be sent to children in need of comfort. They gave me one of those teddy bears when I went travelling in 2008; ‘Baz’. The blanket, especially, is incredibly special to me; I’ve travelled with it, slept on it, cuddled it in bad times, wrapped up our various pets in it (even if they didn’t want me to) and it now sits proudly on our yellow armchair in the living room (when it’s not on my lap). Stu says it probably needs a wash, but I like it just the way it is. Note: it has been washed over the years, I just can’t remember the last time that was!
When I think about the blanket, my Grandad and what it means to me to make, I guess eventually it’s the things we make that can be left behind – for our children, grandchildren, family, it’s a piece of us that remains. It’s a piece of my Grandad that can stay with me even though he’s gone. Maybe my sky blanket will be a heirloom, who knows. I’d like to hope so.
Recently my Nan gave me a bag of squares Grandad had knitted and she hadn’t got round to sewing together. How’s that for teamwork? He’d knit them, she’d sew them together. When I asked her last weekend about his knitting she said she could never keep up with him, that he’d knit morning, noon and night. They’re certainly the memories I have too. She gave the squares to me knowing they’d be loved and they currently sit in my craft room in pride of place. I want to sew them together in hope that one day I’ll be able to give a blanket to my child; they’ll have something special from their Great Grandfather that I hope they’ll love dearly.
So what does it mean to me to make? I guess it’s beyond what it means, it’s entwined in my memories and my family and I don’t think making will ever leave me. It’s not a fad or novelty and there’s barely a day that passes where I’m not using my hands to make something. I have my Grandad, my Nan and my Mum to thank for that, for inspiring and teaching me how to knit.
Sleep well Grandad, I love you xxx