Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Grandma's Knitting

A few days ago, my cousins and I were talking on Facebook about our grandma. Kathryn (daughter of Joe), Kim (daughter of Carmen aka Cody) and I (daughter of Tony) chatted about our different talents and abilities and whether or not they are inherited. Kim makes some lovely crafts. You ought to see her wreaths. Kathryn likes to cook and likes dogs. My primary love is needlework.

Our grandma loved her doggie. Queenie would sit by Grandma's side as she rested and did needlework. Grandma was a great cook. I'll never forget watching her make pasta from scratch. It was like watching a dance. She also loved to knit. She had three or four pair of slippers on her needles at any time. When she came to visit, she'd open her bags and we'd get to pick out whatever color of slippers we wanted. Then we'd get a running start and see how far we could slide on the linoleum floors in the hallways.

In 1965, while my mom and dad went to the New York World's Fair, I got to stay with my grandma. Some memorable things happened that week, like dancing the jerk with a next door neighbor, helping Grandma make apricot jam from the tree in her back yard, and getting to stay up "late" and watch Peyton Place before getting tucked into bed.

It was during that week that Grandma taught me to knit. Or tried. I'm left-handed and she was right-handed, so it was a bit of a test. She was so patient! She taught me just the knit stitch, with the hope of making a narrow-but-long strip of garter stitch that could be put over a wooden hanger and used so clothes wouldn't slip off.

Well, I may have knit about four inches, with several dropped stitches! It was pretty frustrating. Grandma sent me home with the ugly gold yarn and double-pointed pink knitting needles so that I could keep working at it. I never finished. Even if I had, I didn't know how to bind off!

Mary Ferrianolo
aka Fortunata Mary Midili Codispoti

But I'll never forget how good it always felt, snuggled up on the couch next to my grandma. You see, I was named for her. In my adult brain, I'm sure she loved all of us. But the little Mimi girl in me still wants to think I was special. I always felt special with Grandma.

Anyway, as we cousins were chatting a few days ago, I told them that I still have the knitting needles Grandma gave me when I was 8 years old. I like how over the years, the one earned the nice bend at the tip. I doubt that was from knitting. More likely, one of my seven brothers was using it as a sword or spear, flinging it across the room or shooting it out of the blowing end of the Electrolux. I know they did that with the broom from Charmin' Chatty's Cinderella costume. But that's another story.

I'm pretty sure I have the last pair of slippers my grandma made before she moved from Idaho back to California. If I can find them, I'll take a picture. They have an extended story, too.

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