Sunday, 8 May 2011

The gift of handmade

I like to make things. This would come as no surprise to anyone who reads my blog. I also like to make things for special other people. My favourite gifts to recieve are hand made. I find both the giving and recieving of hand made objects an act of love.

My grandfather died a few days ago.
DigX cosmos 057
My grandfather turned 95 just less than a fortnight ago.

I know the people who read this blog are mostly not very interested in knitted objects, but I want to show you this anyway.

SAM_0065

I knitted him this vest for his birthday, and watched him open the present in hospital.
When I started this project, 2 months ago, my grandfather was in good health. He was playing tennis a few times a week, and doing all sorts of other things no-one would expect a 94 year old man to do. It is tricky to think of an appropriate present for a 95 year old man. My grandfather had been downsizing for years.

I wrote this pattern specifically for my grandfather. I telephoned him and had him take his measurements, and looked at all my photos of him to check out his favourite clothes.
I thought about him as I knit.
He never wore this vest, but he was pleased that I had made it for him. Being of a generation that did not buy knitted objects in their youth, he knew how much work was in this garment. He laughed at me when I told him the no-seam short row shoulder finish was the knitting equivalent of dovetails. He made things too. Maybe it takes a craftsman to appreciate a home made gift.
I was chopping salad vegetables this afternoon and was thinking about my grandfather. I happened to be using a portable kitchen trolley with a built in chopping board that my father was building for me just before he died. My grandfather finished it, and gave it to me the following Christmas.
No bought present can compare to that sort of history.
My children made me chocolate cheesecake muffins, and blueberry muffins today for Mother's Day.
I am glad my family can make things.

33 comments:

shams said...

I'm sorry about your grandfather, Karen. He sounds like a very special man - what a kindness to finish the project that your father started for you. You are clearly part of a very lovely family.

Imaan said...

Words fail me so I'll just offer a cyber hug. The little beanie you knitted for my little girl's birth is even more special now:-) She's almost big enough to wear it too, this winter. Thank you again.

Janine said...

Karen, this is such a touching post and shows the trememndous love you have for your Grandfather, he sounds a wonderful person. My deepest sympathy to you and your family and strength for the coming days.

Summer Flies said...

My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

I hope the days ahead are filled with good memories for you and your family. How lucky you are to have had him for so long.
Sofie

BeeBee said...

I'm sorry for your loss, though he lived a good, long life it's hard for those of us left behind. It's great that you can remember him with smiles and the legacy of things made. From the US, Happy Mother's Day.

KID, MD said...

Thank you for sharing that. It brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry that you lost your grandfather. He sounds like an amazing man.

lizajane said...

This is a really touching post. What a special man your grandfather was! The best part about handmade gifts is thinking about the hands that made them and the love that went in to it. Sending sympathy to you and your family.

patchworkdreams said...

Coming out of lurkdom to offer my sympathies too. I'm sure you are taking comfort from the fact that he didn't have to suffer for long, and had the joy of such a caring family.

Lisa said...

May God bless and comfort you! Your Grandfather sounds like he was a wonderful man!

BetsyV said...

How wonderful to have had your grandfather in your life for so long!

I think your point about a craftsman of any kind understanding another's craft is spot on.

Happy Mother's Day

sdBev said...

What touching story. Undoubtedly, both your father and grandfather left parts of themselves with you by their gifts.

ejvc said...

Karen, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. I'm glad you have this vest to remind you of him and give you a special and good memory of him.

Hugs.

K.Line said...

Karen: SO sorry. What a beautiful vest. I'm sure he would have loved it.

Justlikeaboughtone said...

A beautiful vest made all the more so by the loving hands that made it. Your Grandfather must have felt so loved as he passed from this world into the next. My love and prayers are with you as you remember this special man and continue his legacy with the beautiful things that you craft.

Mary said...

Karen, I am so sorry for your loss. What a gift he gave you-clearly his love lives on in your heart.

a little sewing said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It must be difficult to grasp because he was so active so recently. Your post is a beautiful tribute to your grandfather (and your father).
Take care.

MareeAlison said...

Karen - I'm so sorry for your loss. I understand what you mean about making things for people. It's something that no-one else can give them. Obviously your grandfather felt that way too. Hugs Maree

Sharon said...

Karen, I'm so sorry to hear about your Grandfather, it is harder when they are so active and all of a sudden no more. Handmade gifts live on and leave lovely memories for you and your family to cherish.

Sue said...

I am sorry about your grandfather, but it sounds like you have some very treasured memories of him. Keep make great memories with your family.

katherine h said...

That is a lovely post. Thanks for sharing.

Gail said...

I teared up over this story. I'll join my friend Imaan and give you a group cyber hug.

Karin van D. said...

I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Your grandfather sounds like a remarkable man. And I so agree, nothing beats a handmade gift.

*hug*

Carolyn said...

I'm so sorry you lost your grandfather unexpectedly. (hug) He sounds like a wonderfully clever man. Handcrafting skill obviously runs deep in your family.

Joy said...

I'm sorry to hear about your granfather. It seems he passed on a good legacy.

Carol said...

What a lovely story. I'm sorry about your grandfather, but what wonderful memories you have. Thinking of you and sending love at this sad time.

Suit Yourself Couture said...

Your post is full of love and sorrow. Memories are a wonderful thing.

beurreblanc said...

Beautiful post. Thank you.

Sewingelle

Ruthie said...

Oh Karen, here's a hug! What a lovely gift you made for your grandfather. Yes I understand completely, whilst I have been here with my parents, my father and I have made a seagrass stool together and that is very precious to me.

Mary Nanna said...

I don't know how it happened but I missed this post completely - heart felt condolences. It sounds like he was active till nearly the end, which is huge. I never knew any of my grandparents but my son loves visiting his grandma and grandpa. It is a very special relationship.

Victoria said...

Wow, how touching! I'm so sorry to hear of your Grandfather's passing. The fact that you two shared homemade presents showed you had an awesome bond. May you find peace and comfort in the days ahead.

Vicki said...

Lovely story! Handmade is definately the best. And how wonderful your grandfather was able to open the gift and appreciate it even if he didn't get to wear it. It is always sad when we lose someone we love, no matter how old.

gMarie said...

So very sorry to hear about your Grandfather. However, what a lovely story you shared, full of memories of things made. g

tropicalthreads said...

I am so sorry for your loss. This post is so rich with your love for your grandfather. He sounds like he was a wonderful man.