My Grandma Helen was the original knitter in my life. She refused to teach me to knit though, always telling me I was too young to learn. Incidentally, it was my other grandmother that ended up teaching me (on sharpened pencils no less) to knit around age 8. Of course, I put my knitting down and didn't pick it up again until I was an adult.
But when I think of knitting, it's my Grandma Helen I remember most. I remember hearing about her finishing the Master Knitter program (I'm guessing just the first portion). She was the craftiest person in my family. She always had some sort of handiwork in her lap.....knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery....
She had an entire closet in the guest room (where I used to stay) devoted to craft supplies. Yarn, ribbon, shells, and sequins adorned almost every craft project I created in her home. And I created many!
We were two peas in a pod, but distance kept us from truly learning from each other.
A few years ago, Grandma Helen stopped remembering things. She mixed up people's names, and even forgot that she'd ever had children...much less grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It was around this time that I truly became passionate about knitting. It saddened me that I couldn't talk to her about it. After all, she was the expert in the family, and knitting is a tradition that used to be passed down from one generation to the next. Knitting loses a special something when it's learned from a book. I missed that, and I missed her. The one person that would understand my knitting frustrations and triumphs.
I haven't talked to my grandmother in a couple of years. She lived in Colorado, and someone introducing themselves as her grand-daughter on the phone confused her, so I stopped calling, not wanting to frustrate her. Eventually my aunt removed her phone altogether. I mentally said my goodbyes to the grandmother I'd once known, finding peace in knowing that her Alzheimer's (for the most part) didn't bother her. She was happy, finding the simple pleasures in life, over and over again for the first time each day.
This morning, my Grandma Helen passed away in her sleep. She was truly an exceptional woman, and I will miss her dearly.
I love you.