When Mum got sick for the last time, she was working on a cardigan for my Grandma. They met at our wedding and hit it off immediately. Here is an excerpt from an email of Mum's, 9 May, 2012:
How is the knitting going? I am not sure how you find the time. I have at long last finished that cardigan I was doing. Four times I had to pick up 340 stitches - three times it was all wrong. Talk about patience. So I have been sitting here wondering what on earth I can knit next. As you know I hate knitting for myself anyway, no incentive. I was wondering if your Gran would like another jacket/cardigan. Remember i did one for her a year or two ago. You will definitely remember because I nearly drove you mad when I was convinced it was not going to get there! Thing is, I have found a pattern which will not be too detailed (like your Dad’s was) in one of my Aran books. What do you think? I don’t want to do the Aran colour AGAIN but perhaps if you ever get a minute to spare, you could look online at the Knitwell Catalogue where they sell this Bonus Aran (400g. balls) and see if there is any colour she might like. Most of them are very bright, but one or two paler shades One I thought of was called “something storm” I cannot remember now but then I thought it looked a bit gray and she maybe would not like that. Difficult really. On the other hand you might think she maybe does not want one at all!!!! Anyway, when you have time – I can always knit squares!
In November, when Mum knew she really was ill for the last time, Dave was down for a visit. When he left she gave him the bag with her knitting, the wool, and the pattern book. He was crushed when he brought it home to me. I was so sad, it went straight into the cupboard, and there is sat, for months and months, across the ocean to Australia, and back into the cupboard. I couldn't decide if I wanted to finish the cardigan, or just leave it there in the closet, forever. One day I was discussing it with my Mom, and she said I really had to finish, because that is what Mum wanted when she gave it to Dave to brig home to me. I knew she was right, but oh what a road I had ahead of me. Mum had finished 3/4 of the back, and that left a whole lot of cardigan for me to complete.
And that is how Mum's last Aran jumper became my first. I picked it up around June, and I knit it in fits and spurts until my Mom arrived for holiday in December. She said if I could finish it before she left at the end of January, she'd deliver it to my Grandma in Michigan in February. THAT is what I needed, a deadline and a freezing cold winter in the USA. I finished it with a week to spare, and my Grandma loves it.
For several years now I've been focused on knitting in the round, with no seaming if I can at all avoid it. This jumper is seamed, and I loved making it. I loved that I could do it a piece at a time, and make other things without losing my place in the pattern. I really enjoyed making it, and I love how it turned out. I love that my Grandma, who I love dearly and was a good friend to my Mother-in-law can wear a hug that comes from both of us.