Great Grandma’s Afghan


Lots of people over the years have asked me who had taught me to knit or spin. How did I get into the fiber business? Who was my inspiration?

Well, growing up, while my mom was a bit crafty and she knew how to knit, I never saw her with needles in her hand. Although there was the brief crochet phase in the 70’s when made  a  poncho.  The less said about that the better. But I had a great grandmother who defied logic and produced many  of these beautiful quilts by hand sewing. And she also crocheted. One year, she announced that she would crochet each of my sister’s and my brother an afghan for our birthdays. No small task as I am one of six kids. She asked that we tell her our favorite colors. I chose blue. And sure enough, on my 16th birthday, a package arrived. I opened it and the lovely blue and white granny square afghan was inside. Never mind that it did not match my bedroom. I loved it. It has been with me ever since.

It covered me while I studied for finals at LSU. I snuggled under it with my new born son during chilly midnight feedings. I wrapped it around me the night I found out my Dad dyed of a sudden heart attack at 49. It has followed me on all my moves, from New Orleans, to Baton Rouge, to Richmond, and small towns like Powhatan, VA and now here on my farm in Cumberland, VA. And you know, for the first time since receiving this wonderful gift, I have that blue and white bedroom. And the joy a hand crocheted gift inspired me to seek the opportunity to share that with others. So while my Great Grandma did not teach me stitches as she lived far from me in Pennsylvania. She did teach me the value of the love shared when some one takes yarn and pulls loops through loops to create something that can hug someone even far away.

So I taught myself to knit from a Woman’s Day Magazine. I learned all I know from books and later taking a class or two. My Art major at LSU has helped me learn about color-a great asset in dyeing yarn. And my Dad’s love of animals has spilled over to me as I tend sheep and goats, train dogs and raise rabbits and chickens. And every evening, I get under that afghan and knit.

3 thoughts on “Great Grandma’s Afghan

  1. Hi Kathy, that’s a lovely, heart-warming story. I’m sorry you lost your father at such an early age. Gosh, that must have been rough. My children lost their father last Sept; he was only 56. Those same children had a great-grandmother who also knitted everyone afghans in their favorite colours. She did those ziz-zag knitted ones. My youngest has a grandmother who knitted her a baby blanket called woobie. That blanket has been wrapped around her and on her bed for her whole life. Most recently it’s being put to use as a comfort while studying for mid-terms. I’m not a very good grandma to my two little ones because I can’t knit to save my life, but I have kept all their afghans and baby blankies in top condition, so maybe that counts. 🙂

    1. Hi Veronica, Thanks for your comment. Certainly, maintaining family heirlooms counts very much. As a grandma, what I feel is important to pass down are your passions. In that way your grand children learn about what makes you special. My mom loves gardening, and I share that with my kids. And she got that from her dad and his dad before him. I have a recollection as a small child holding my great grandpa’s hand as he showed me his garden. To this day, I think of him every time I smell English boxwood.

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