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Generational (Knitting) Differences - Elizabeth Unexplained
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Generational (Knitting) Differences
The first time my parents came up to visit after Margaret was born one of the presents they brought was a beautiful hand-knit wool dress. "When did you have time to knit this," I asked. Mom has specifically said she wouldn't knit anything for the baby until the gender was a settled matter, not one doctor's best guess based on one ultrasound. When she showed up less than two weeks after the birth with a dress in fingering weight wool I was naturally curious, but Mom ducked answering directly.

Mom wanted a picture of Margaret in the dress. As a knitter myself I could well understand this. When you make something special you want photographic evidence of it being used, especially if the intended recipient is small and cute. Margaret wore the dress and I took a photo. I called Mom to let here know that the photo was online. It was then that I learned when Mom had found the time to make the dress... some 38 years ago.

Mom admitted that she had made the dress when she was pregnant with me, but then never put it on me or my little sister because it was wool and she was afraid of ruining it. This is where I differ from my mom. If I put in all that effort I want to use the hand-made item. I understand being careful with it, but not to the point where you are afraid to use it at all. I think part of it is that Mom doesn't have any friends who knit. I know it's stereotypical for grandmothers to knit, but the truth is that most women in Mom's generation do not knit. They didn't knit when they were younger, and they don't knit now. It's women my age and younger who make up most of the knitters these days. It's easier to use the good stuff when you know of other people who have successfully washed wool without woe. So Margaret got to wear her vintage baby dress. She also got to spit up on it. I put the dress in a mesh bag and put it through the washing machine on delicate cycle with cold water and a drizzle of shampoo instead of detergent, and it came out just fine. She will wear it again.


You did realize this whole post was an excuse to post a baby picture, right?
4 comments or Leave a comment
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: September 27th, 2008 04:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
And an excellent baby picture at that!

Yeah, my mom and my husband's mom knit, but not most of the other people I know their age.

firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: September 27th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Both the baby and the dress are lovely. :)

While it's a shame that your mom wasn't willing to use it, it seems a much more touching gift this way.

(I have also seen patterns for christening dresses for babies, which are I guess like wedding dresses in the wear-once category, unless you pass them along too...)
jcatelli From: jcatelli Date: September 28th, 2008 04:27 am (UTC) (Link)
That is an excellent picture; I'm glad that pretty dress finally got some use.

In my family most of the women in my mother's generation knit. My mother pretty much always has knitting with her. One of my aunts even made a retirement business out of knitting (kanineknits.com).
enugent From: enugent Date: September 29th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a stunning dress - and the baby is pretty darn cute, too.
4 comments or Leave a comment