Saturday, July 23, 2011

Finishing what's been started.

Do you know what this is?

This is Michelle, knitting on an afghan in 85+ heat, in a car, see?

Why you may ask?  It's kind of connected to the last post.. kinda, you see, I have been 3 times honored.. I have had people come to me and say,

 "My mother started this blanket, and she didn't finish it before she died, Michelle, do you think you can look at it and see if you can finish it for me?"

Actually one of the times was a man who's grandmother had made him an afghan for his high school graduation and it was unraveling.. Les is a grandpa himself now, mid 60's I patched it up, and I hope he will have it for the rest of his life.  He treasures it for what it is.

Anyway the point is that a friend handed me this garbage sack with a blanket in it (they have all brought them to me such... I wonder why?) and Rebecca-- who is a master baker, master canner, and master gardener.. among other things (I admire her greatly, I can tell you) said that her mother had it almost finished and just didn't quite get it done.  I opened this up today on the way to a family birthday party, knowing that I would have at least an hour both ways to work on this with no thoughts of "I should be doing the dishes" getting in the way, and I found that Rebecca was right.. there was only one row and then the casting off.. I wonder if she knew how close her mom really was to done.

As I finished this, I thought to myself, over the centuries, how many women have quietly picked up their mother's unfinished work, and stitch by stitch, completed it for her.  Not just because of the waste of the unfinished work.. that would be bad too, but because of the connection of the loved one.  The shared effort of the completed work. Mom would have wanted it to be finished, she was still working on it after all.  How stretching out over the time of humanity this compulsion must have happened again, and again, and again.  As a very private mourning between mother and daughter, or even father and son, they had work to be finished too. This compulsion is so strong, that even when the skills are not known by everyone, and every house no longer has a work basket, people reach out to someone who does have the skill to see the work completed.

I'll tell the truth here, tears slid down my checks as I cast off that last stitch today, and I prayed for Rebecca and her mother.. I don't even know what her name was, but I found one of her hairs knitted into the afghan and smiled.  I came home this evening and washed and dried the completed blanket. 
I feel a deep and true satisfaction that nearly no one can tell where her work started, and my ending came. 

After all, it was mother's work, and I was just finishing what she started, honorarily.


Pam said...


Joan's Good Life said...

What a sweet post Chelle.

Rebecca said...

Michelle, I cried again today after reading your beautiful post. I proudly took the finished afgan Monday night and took it to my daughter to give to her newborn daughter. She and I cried together. The crying was of joy. My daughter, Marsha said she will give this afgan with pride to her daughter, Liila. This will stay in our family forever. Thank you so very much for your talent and kindness!