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Home : Community : Customer Gallery : Memorial Knitting

Customer Projects - Get Inspired

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Memorial Knitting
Created By: Mary Orum Jewett

Memorial Knitting

Most knitters learned to knit from someone else…a mother, grandmother, aunt, dear friend. I know there are people who learn strictly from instructions, but I’ve always been fascinated by how crafts get passed down hand to hand (pun definitely intended), generation to generation. My dear mother-in-law, Marge, showed me the basics of how to knit not long after I married her son. I learned to read knitting instructions shortly after that, and since then I’ve been knitting incessantly for nearly 30 years. Marge’s only daughter was left handed; and Marge, who was right handed, was never able to successfully teach her to knit. My mother, Irene, tried knitting once many years before I was born and never got the hang of it, so she stuck to her crocheting, which she did beautifully. (Actually, as an experienced knitter, I tried using the flimsy plastic size 5 straight needles my mother attempted to learn to knit with, and I probably would have given up as well!) I was never interested in learning to crochet, but my cousin Charlotte was, so my mother taught her; Charlotte now crochets as well as my mother ever did. So even though neither of these women passed their craft on to daughters, it nevertheless was passed down to someone else in the family. It seems an appropriate, lasting memorial to both of them.

When Marge passed away several years ago, the memorial service was delayed for several months until all the family could be convened. My father-in-law had decided he didn’t want to have those little biographical/service order cards printed for the service. He said they just cost money and most people throw them away within a couple of weeks anyhow, so it wasn’t worth doing. I thought about it and decided that I could do something a bit more permanent. The memorial service was still well away, so I wrote Dad a carefully-worded letter asking permission to knit small coasters to hand out at the memorial service. He wasn’t overly enthusiastic about it, but his beloved daughter-in-law wanted to do it in honor of Marge, so he gave his approval and told me to go ahead. Over the next several weeks, I knitted about 350 coasters using 100% cotton worsted weight yarn in various pastel colors. I arranged them in a large, attractive basket, and they were handed out at the memorial service, along with a card that I printed explaining the reason for them. Over the next week or so, they were given out to Mom’s Sunday School class, to members of her church choir that she had sung in for years and years, then to members of the local Senior Citizens Center, and to members of the bands she had played in over the years. At one point Dad somehow lost custody of the basket for a few days, and he nearly panicked not knowing what had happened to it. It was eventually returned, and a couple of weeks later I got a telephone call from him…did I have any more of those coasters? Seems he had completely run out, and people were still asking for them. All in all, I ended up knitting nearly 400 of them, and I still occasionally get a note from somebody saying that every time they use one, they remember Marge.

When my own mother passed away several years after Marge, I didn’t have time to do any type of memorial knitting prior to the funeral, and for months afterward I tried to think of something equivalent to what I had done for my mother-in-law. Then one day I was going through my mother’s crochet supplies, and I found a number of small balls of fingering weight yarn in various shades of purple…I have no idea what she planned to make with it. My mother had worked at the Stephen F Austin State University Bookstore in Nacogdoches, Texas for many years before she retired. She dearly loved babies, and she always enjoyed helping me find pregnant moms and newborn babies to give pairs of knitted baby booties to. So I decided to add some of my own white yarn to my mom’s stash of purple yarn; and I knitted 29 pairs of purple and white baby booties (school colors) to send to the SFA Alumni Association to hand out to baby SFA Lumberjacks.

So the tradition of crafting goes on…and on…and on. A fitting memorial, both in life and in death.

Marge Jewett Memorial Knitted Coaster

Size 10 needles

Row 1: Loosely cast on 17 stitches.

Rows 2–6, 9, 13, 17, 19, 21 & 24-27: Knit even.

Rows 7 & 23: Knit 2, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 1, yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit 2

Rows 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20 & 22: Knit 3, purl 11, knit 3

Rows 11, 15 & 19: Knit 2, knit 2 together, yarn over, knit 9, yarn over, knit 2 together, knit 2

Row 28: Bind off loosely in knit.

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