My mother loved to knit. She was the only woman I knew who could knit while reading a book. She was famous for knitting, reading and watching TV all at the same time. Yep. She was the queen of multitasking, doing 3 and 4 activities at a time and knitting or crocheting was always the central activity. My Mom loved sharing her passion for knitting and delighted in giving free lessons. In the mid 1970’s with all of the other women in our neighborhood my mother started a group called, “Knitting”. Once a month all of the ladies in the neighborhood would go to one home, each month a different home, the ladies would drink coffee, chat and knit. Before the end of the night a dessert would be served, something homemade by the hostess.
I find myself thinking about those “Knitting” nights more and more. As a kid I both hated and loved those nights. When it was our month to host “Knitting” my mother would insist that the entire house be cleaned top to bottom. We couldn’t think of allowing the neighborhood ladies to enter our home if there was even a speck of dust. The cleaning was a drag, but honestly I was kind of thrilled when the ladies would come over. There was so much to learn if you stayed quiet, and I’m not talking about knitting. The ladies talked and it was like a live 70’s version of Pinterest. A quiet kid could get tips on everything from how to make 7 Minute Frosting, to how to clean grout between bathroom tiles.
I’m sure I expected to hear gossip and juicy tidbits about everything going on in the neighborhood. The truth was much more innocent and infinitely more trans-formative. These were ladies. They talked about their lives without drama and they supported each other. I learned so much from those ladies while their knitting needles clanked and hot black coffee was sipped from my mother’s best china.
In truth, I learned the most from watching my mother. There was nothing better than watching my mother in her element. She loved to show others how to make something they could be proud of and she had an amazing way of doing it while bolstering a person’s self-esteem. She knew just what to say to make everyone feel like they were doing a good job, as women, as mothers and as knitters.
I don’t remember what happened to “Knitting”. Eventually I got too old to be interested in what the neighborhood ladies had to say. I was busy looking for my answers elsewhere, which is sad, but true. I went away to college and it never occurred to me to ask my mother if “Knitting” had become a thing of the past.
As a working 21st century mom I find that most of the connection I have with my women friends is on the cell phone. From time to time I threaten to host a modern-day version of “Knitting”, sans the knitting, but it occurs to me that you can’t have one without the other. “Knitting” worked because there was the excuse that the ladies were doing more than just visiting. It was the 70’s version of a quilt circle. I don’t know what the modern-day version is…yet. Let me know if you have any ideas.
Today, on Mother’s Day, I think of my mother and of the ladies of “Knitting”. They were amazing women, caring mothers, devoted wives and loyal friends. They were the pillars of our community and although many of them are no longer with us, their legacy remains, in their children and grandchildren and in all the projects they completed in “Knitting”.