Saturday, September 5, 2009

Learn to knit

Most people look surprised when I tell them I love knitting and crochet, and am rather good at both of them. Apparently it doesn’t match my profile. Women of my generation don’t have time for such old fashioned pursuits, especially not former investment bankers.

When people digest the fact that I do love knitting, the next question they ask is, 'when did you learn?' Taking knitting up as a challenge after adulthood, and learning through books seems to invest a bit of respectability into the craft of knitting. Not so picking up the basics at the age of eight by watching a grandmother knit. But that is exactly how it happened. I saw her transfer the patterns I chose into sweaters I could wear, and wanted to be a part of that arcane sisterhood. So I picked up the knitting needles, and never put them down since.

By the time I was twelve, I became better at following patterns than my grandmother. Triple cabling was something she never quite got, and she was more than happy to have me teach her. Even today, twenty-two years after I lost her, when I see a particularly good cable pattern, I think of her.

Why this today, on Teachers’ Day? Because, my grandmother was all that a good teacher should be. It is easy to stand in front of a class and lecture. It is much harder to do something with such passion, that others are inspired to learn. And it is much harder still to learn from a student when the student has overtaken you. I was lucky to have a teacher like her.
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7 comments:

dipali said...

What a wonderful teacher she must have been!
And what a lovely remembrance:)

LABANAN said...

Good morning Rayna!
I'm thinking of my mum today as she would've been 93 today. She knit and I remember her teaching me when I was young but I didn't like it. Now I love it and knit all the time. I find it so contemplative. And you are very modern to knit nowadays on this continent at any rate. I would love to see some of your knitting...
Jan

Cruella Collett said...

My grandmother was the one who taught me knitting too. Then the summer she died, my great-aunt (who is something of an extra grandmother to me, my sisters and other family members, since she never had any children of her own) taught me how to crochet. Sadly I was never very good at neither, even thought they were both good teachers (even a good teacher needs a receptive student). What I did get out of it, however, are the memories. Those are priceless.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

What a wonderful tribute to your grandmother! Knitting has always been something I've been interested in, but have a feeling I wouldn't have the patience for.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Paul "FooDaddy" Brand said...

I was surprised (and charmed) when I learned that my girlfriend (aged 23) can knit.

"Not very well," she said.

"Better than I can!" I countered.

It was almost like hearing that she could churn her own butter. Awww.

Watery Tart said...

Natasha--I don't share the crafty thing, but you KNOW I share grandmotherly adoration, and I think it's wonderful you have a skill from her!

(I have my grandma's sewing things, and though I'm not terribly skilled, I love that I have her with me every time I take up a project)

Rayna M. said...

@dipali - the most wonderful person I have ever known, more like it.

@jane - knitting is yet to shed its granny image in India - wouldn't it be bliss to have it considered 'modern'. And will share.

@cruela - yes, memories are precious, aren't they? who cares if you learnt something or not, as long as the memories are alive?

@ Elizabeth - don't you think your days are full enough as it is? I am sure you will not be able to fit knitting in.

@Paul - loved the comparison to churning butter.

@ Tami - like you, I agree that having a marvelous grandmother makes up for a disturbed relationship with mother.

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