Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thank you, Trish

Our SnB has had a little bit of publicity in the last couple of weeks. Jejune's poster went up in a couple of stores and we had new people finding us from our blogs, from Communities Online and from the events lists on the two Aussie knitting mag sites, Creative Knitting and Yarn. We also had a spot in the 'WotzOn' section of the free weekly community newspaper, The Chronicle.

The 'Wotzon' listing also brought us Trish.

We were a little early on Thursday night thanks to my allowing contingency time and to Jejune, Othlon and Sharon being wonderfully organised and not needing any of it. I'm so glad we were early.

We had just arrived in Starbucks and were beginning to look threateningly at the occupants of 'our' comfy chairs when a woman approached me. I think she'd spotted my (now endangered) Stitch 'n' Bitch Chicago t-shirt. "Are you the stitching bitches?" She asked. I confirmed it with a smile and she handed me an old Grace Bros carry bag. "I'd like you to have these", she said. "I can't knit anymore and thought you could use them."

The bag contained sets of needles and several patterns - a 1946 Knitcraft volume, a 1960s book on stockings, some 1970s crochet patterns and some actually tasteful 1980s patterns. Trish is the woman's name. She has Parkinson's now and can no longer knit. I sat and talked with Trish while she had her iced coffee and we went through some of the patterns. She showed me which patterns from the 1946 book she had knitted as a young woman and we giggled together over the advertisements. She told me about the scarcity of wool in England during WWII and how when a shop got a stock of wool in word went around like lightening and everyone raced down to buy up. She couldn't remember if wool was rationed, but fabric certainly was. Trish has always knitted and loved it. She was so pleased to find out about us because she wanted to hand on her knitting patterns and needles to someone who could use them.

I was deeply touched by Trish's generosity. It must have been an effort for her to get from Garran to Civic on a very hot evening. I will treasure the needles and the 1946 pattern book that I took for myself , and I'm sure those others of us who also accepted her kind offer will too.

One of the things I love about knitting is the connection it gives to women of earlier generations. Yes there were women of earlier generations (and probably lots of them) for whom knitting was a chore. For others, though, it was a creative act and an act of love which they cherised as we, who do not NEED to knit, do.

When commentators talk about knitting not being from grandmothers anymore I hope they also remember that if it were not for our grandmothers and for generations of women before them many of us would not be knitters now. Thankyou, Trish, for reminding me.


Jejune said...

It was indeed a very poignant meeting... I will certainly treasure the book of stocking patterns that came home with me. It was lovely to sit with Trish and listen to her memories of how she and other women travelling to and from work by train would all be knitting, and chatting along the way, admiring each other's work.

Thank you for writing up the experience, Taphophile, and for being so instantly compassionate and 'in tune' with Trish as soon as she approached.

happyspider said...

*sobs quietly*

Rachael said...

I love this post. Thanks for sharing...wish I lived near a stitch'n bitch....