My mom taught me to knit. I’m not even sure when or how she learned to knit herself, but she taught me when I was 7 or 8. She wasn’t a terribly confident knitter, but she turned out some really wonderful things. A little red cardigan with cables that I wore throughout childhood (and still have and hold dear). Cabled ear-warmers that tied under our chins for my sister and I. Lots of slippers with pompoms. Chevron afghans.
When I got back into knitting in a big way in the early 2000s, my mom decided to start knitting again, too. We used to enjoy visiting yarn shops together, and we went to the West Michigan Fiber Festival together every year. She knit a lot of socks. Dishcloths (she was the Queen of Dishcloths). She was really big on the Clapotis pattern (remember that one?) and knit several of them for friends. She was a regular knitter in her church’s Prayer Shawl ministry.
When my mom died in 2016, I cleared out all of her things . . . including her knitting stash (which was a very manageable one, by the way) (goals). I kept some of her knitting notions and all of her dishcloth yarns for myself, but I gave most everything else to her church knitting group for their Prayer Shawls (she would have like that).
You know what else I found? These squares . . .
There are nine of them. I remember her knitting them . . . although I don’t recall what her “vision” for them was, exactly. I know we bought the yarn together – for mittens that she was going to felt. But at some point, she must have decided to knit squares instead. (I didn’t find the pattern or any extra yarn, by the way.)
I kept the squares. Every once in a while, I take them out and line them up and look at them, remembering. And thinking about my mom. Then I pack them away again. I love having them, y’know?
And then . . . on Wednesday morning I got a text from my son, Brian. He had been listening to NPR on his way to work and heard this story about an organization called Loose Ends and thought I’d want to know about it. Maybe some of you are already familiar with Loose Ends, but I had never heard of the project before. I got kind of tingly when I read Brian’s text and followed the link. Loose Ends . . . is a kind of “matchmaking” organization. They match volunteer “finishers” with folks who are holding “loose ends” — or projects that a loved one left behind – unfinished – when they died.
Here is little blurb from the Loose Ends website . . . about what they do and how important their work is . . .
Handmade items are gestures of love. The time, expense, and skill that go into making them are impossible to quantify. When you wear something made special for you, it feels good — you were thoughtfully considered with each stitch. When a maker dies mid-project, this tangible, handmade expression of love could get lost, donated away, or thrown out. Or, it can be finished as intended and given back to be cherished.
You can read all the details about how Loose Ends works and how you can help if you’re interested. (They cover the gamut of the fiber arts — knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery, needlepoint, ALL of it.) (And there are many ways to help – even if you’re not interested in actually “finishing” a project for someone else.)
I’m not ready to be a volunteer “finisher” for Loose Ends yet (although I will find other ways to support the organization). BUT. I am newly inspired to “finish” my mom’s “loose ends.”
I’m going to find a way to finish my mom’s squares . . . by turning them into two pillows. One for me, and one for my sister. I know my mom would like that.
Sometimes HOPE . . . is just tying up loose ends.
I wish you a lovely weekend . . . full of hope.
PS . . . I’m doing a little minor “housekeeping” here on the blog. Nothing major. Just a little fresh paint. You may notice things look a little different from time to time over the next couple of weeks. Don’t be alarmed.