Tuesday, 3 December 2013

knitting blankets and the inner landscape

I knit because my mother knitted.  Each room in our house holds a blanket she made.  Most of them I remember her making: the blue one, for her king size bed, the red one, for me as her mother was dying, and the white one for Flossie, our elderly neighbour.  I remember the clacking and the clicking as her needles stitched knit after knit.  They are simple blankets, a variation of a purl and knit pattern.  These blankets were my mother’s life’s work.  A simple act of love knitted for family and friends for a practical reason: warmth.

But beyond the simple colours and patterned movement of her hands, and beyond warmth, there is a story of a woman who loved to create. She was a woman in love with beauty.  While I can continue to hold this beauty in my hands, I will never know its depth.

Recently as I was clearing out my mother’s creativity space, I felt both excitement and hesitation.  I was entering a small ordinary temple, a place reflecting my mother’s soul. Her creative life and her creative dreams still filled bags of unopened patterns, wool, and fabric--ordinary objects for a soul’s finest work. Buttons and needles lined bookshelves, stacks of cut squares of a project never finished--all signs that this woman loved to create.

Since my mother has died, I look for quiet clues as to how her spirit lives on.  I look at my disorganized collection of sewing objects, I find balls of wool that I forgot I had, I scan my list of hopeful projects, I dream of creating, and I know she lives on in me.

I recognize how creativity rises out of a mess.

Stitch after stitch, her simple dance with creativity rises in me with colours, patterns of purl and knit, and the constant clicking and clacking of my needles.  The act of creating is an act of continuity.

As I knit, I see a simple reflection of my inner landscape, growing row by row, growing in my hands right in front of me.  The blankets I knit, I will pass on to my children, friends, nieces and nephews, just like my mother did.  No one will really know the depth of that inner landscape, but they will see its colours, its shapes and patterns, and they will recognize what we all need and what we all want to share: warmth and beauty.


  1. "Creativity arises out of mess"! Yes! Yes! Yes! A rather profound thought has just occurred to me... is the insistence on women keeping a tidy home actually a cunning way to ensure our creativity has been curtailed over the centuries?

  2. yes, lucy, i think you might be right. often times i have to make sure that keeping a tidy home does not get in the way of my creativity time.