More than 30 years ago the announcement that JTH and I were going to have our first baby sent both expectant grans into a knitting frenzy. My mother (granny) to knitting practical, easily washable, matinee jackets (does anyone these days know what one of these things are??) and my mother-in-law (grandma) to make one of her specialty shetland ring shawls. MIL had been making these for friends' daughters for years, at last one to knit for her own grandchild.
No 1 child duly arrived (a bit late setting the pattern for a lifetime) on 13th March 1981 and, like her sister and two brothers that followed, was wrapped cosily in grandma's shawl for the first four months of her life. The shawl was not easy care but ,when you treasure something that has been so lovingly knitted and that has swaddled your darling babies from their first days, the care an attention of hand washing and drying flat on the spare bed with all its pointy bits pinned out straight, it is a labour of love. Following MIL's instructions, when it was no longer needed I washed it and wrapped it in black acid free tissue, storing it carefully in a moth proof bag.
It is possible to see from this close up that the yarn (ultra cobweb from Jamiesons ) has felted a little but the shawl is in very good heart and can still show off a little.
About five years ago, MIL handed me two tissue paper wrapped parcels. A pair of identical white shawls knitted in 'her' pattern for my two daughters. She said she didn't think she would live to see the girls have babies but she wanted them to have shawls. At the time babies seemed a pretty distant prospect for either girl so I kept the shawls secretly with my own treasure. Sadly MIL was right she did not live very long after she made the shawls. But in June 2009 a beautiful baby girl arrived in our family and her proud mummy (no1 daughter) and daddy carried her out of hospital (this time in a car safety seat - no more moses baskets on the back seat of the car) wrapped in the shawl knitted by great grandma. The second shawl is waiting...
In an earlier post I mentioned being custodian of much of MIL's work basket, it was there that I found the pattern.
It is a bit too early to think of knitting for my great-grandchildren and for the time being the grandchildren are well provided for by the kindness of MIL. So I thought I would see what a shawl would look like knitted in grown-up colours using a different kind of yarn all together, Rowan kidsilk. It's quite fiddly to begin with knitting with such light, fine, fluffy yarn on relatively large needles (4mm) but once there is a little weight on the needles the centre panel knits up quite quickly.
Its amazing how quickly one learns a lace pattern like this, the first two or so rows I needed to keep my eyes glued to the needles AND the pattern! But I surprised myself by learning the different stitches, even recognising what I should knit by looking at the row below (except I confess at night when the darkest section was a bit tricky!)
I admit that when worn over my shoulders on a winter's evening, knitting in a drafty corner of our sitting room, I really do look a bit of a granny! But tied carefully around my neck its a different thing altogether. And one chilly summer's evening in the garden last year when my granddaughter fell asleep on my lap it kept us both warm.