My Mother Is Trying To Tell Me Something

Since my friend American Editor became pregnant with her IVF (donor eggs and sperm) twins last year, my mother has been merrily knitting. Little Erin and Bennett were born in February and the completed knits have just arrived in two gaily coloured parcels.

I think they are cot blankets. If so, they are well-timed, as Sydney is experiencing an unusually cold snap at the moment which is made worse because most of the buildings here are not double-glazed, insulated or centrally heated.

Why has my mother spent all these months knitting with arthritic fingers for the babies of a woman she has never met, who lives on the other side of the planet? You may well ask.

For four reasons, I think:

1) Keeping her hands and fingers active helps alleviate her arthritis.

2) She is bored out of her mind in Anglesey, living with my father in a village on an island off the north coast of Wales. *shudder*

3) She is trying to tell me that she approves of American Editor’s choice, i.e. to go ahead and have children even though she is single and over 40. Probably because she thinks its the only way she’s going to see any grandchildren from her eldest daughter (me).

4) She loves children, likes creative projects and enjoys giving presents. My mother often makes me snarl with impatience and frustration but noone can deny that she has a kind, generous spirit.

I was desperate to open the parcels to see the finished blankets because, despite the fact that my mummy taught me to knit when I was 5, I don’t remember her ever actually completing a knitting project (or, indeed, any project). I want proof. As do my siblings.


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12 Responses to My Mother Is Trying To Tell Me Something

  1. Heh. My mother knitted us all matching ski sweaters in kelly green with red white and black patterns across the chest, and around the bottom and sleeves. She also tats.

    I was the one who for years never completed a knitting project; there was a muffler that stubbornly refused to get longer than 18 inches for 7 or 8 years. I had a similar problem with embroidery. Somewhere in my mother’s collection is a sampler that I began that had the “Bluebird Promise” on it, and after I laboriously did outline stitch for about the first three words completed the rest of the saying using long stitches that make it look for all the world like it was written in computer script.

    Needless to say I am in complete awe of some of the samplers that show up on “Antiques Roadshow”, completed by 11 year old artists in 1789, total works of art displaying design creativity that rivals Leonardo da Vinci and features 4018 different embroidery stitches, none of which are longer than 1 sixteenth of an inch.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      I’m in awe of those embroidery samplers, too – and the tapestries. The patience (and eyesight) of those sewers must have been extraordinary. But then, in an age when ‘respectable’ women were not allowed to work for their living I suppose there was little else with which to fill one’s days than sewing of one kind or another, perhaps interspersed with a little light music or watercolour painting.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      one of my favourite phrases – that and ‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’, which gives me wonderfully literal mental pictures 🙂

  2. My mother is much the same way with projects like that, I imagine it must be an odd sensation to recieve them. I’m sure your friend and her children will enjoy them. Now I’m curious to know what they’ll look like too.

    • Norwichrocks says:

      We opened them on Friday and took photos of me, the babies and the blankets, to send to my mother. I look awful but the babies and blankets look cute. My friend was really touched that my mum had made and sent them. And I was proud of my mum for her kindness. It was a nice moment.

  3. doctordi says:

    Truce, everything about this post is enormously endearing and cute. Everything, that is, except the thought of that brittle island off the coast of Wales. Brrrrr!!!!

    (although today in Sydney can’t be far off it….)

    • Norwichrocks says:

      Honestly, the worst thing about the island is that they all speak perfectly good English and do so most of the time… except when an English person walks in to the room/shop/wherever, at which point they all switch to Welsh.


      My father is exempted from this treatment as he’s Irish, but my mother gets it everytime, even though she has actually made an effort to learn a little Welsh, unlike my father.

  4. azahar says:

    I don’t have the patience for knitting. Though I am going to try and revive enough patience to start sewing again.

    Do we get to see the finished products too?

    • Norwichrocks says:

      I don’t have the patience, either. Sometimes I fantasise about having a craft room, all set up and ready to go whenever the mood takes me: its all the setting up and clearing away that puts me off. In a one-bed flat, I can’t afford to have stuff lying around as space is at a premium.

      I’ll see if the photos come out okay (i.e. if I don’t look too hideous) and if they’re okay I might post them 🙂

  5. OmbudsBen says:

    Good for Mom! When we were little my mom once out of the blue said ‘look how big you kids’ heads are getting! Let’s measure them.’ So she did. We were so gullible we never suspected grandma wanted to knit stocking caps. Mine fit well into college, and I wore it, too, as an antifashion statement of sorts. Wish I still had the thing, tho’ there is little call for it in CA.

    Will you be posting pictures of Mom’s handiwork, once revealed?

    • Norwichrocks says:

      That’s a great way to measure heads! Clever mom!

      Mmmm, I’ll see whether the photos are postable… 🙂

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