to knit - at least I think she does. Perhaps she was just a wee bit jealous that I got to spend the day near a bookshop? I would be happy to teach Katy how to knit. It is one of the great achievements of my life. I am happy to share my passion for knitting with others.
My paternal grandmother taught me to knit. She taught me a lot of others things too. My grandmother and I were very close. I think this was because she was the person who kept saying "You can". It is important to tell children that they can do things.
By all academic and intellectual reasoning my grandmother should have been a lousy teacher. Her own schooling was limited to three short years before her father made her stay at home to work on the farm. There was no economic need for this. He just did not like to have his children out of his sight. Grandma had seven brothers and a sister. It was the same for all of them.
So my grandmother with three years of schooling and not much self-confidence should not have been a good teacher - but she was. She was patient. She would have been a very wealthy woman if someone had given her a half-penny for every stitch I dropped or accidentally jerked off the needles. She would wipe the tears of frustration and hug me when I finally managed to make it to the end of the ten stitch row. "You can do it."
Grandma taught me to cook too. This was the no-nonsense sort of cooking, the useful sort of everyday cooking. It was things like the Saturday roast. (Sunday was cold meat day because of church.) There was apple crumble and apricot jam or fig jam from the apricots and figs off the trees in the back garden. There was the yearly 'boiling' or making of marmalade, the scones and the cakes. Porridge was my grandfather's responsibility. My grandmother did not eat that. Her breakfast was never more than tea and toast. Grandpa showed me how to make porridge and eat it without sugar.
When I think about the education my grandmother gave me I am grateful. It is useful in caring for her son, my father. It keeps us fed. The knitting keeps us warm. I admit we drew the line at sewing. My manual dexterity has never become that good but that no longer matters to me. What does matter is that my grandmother kept telling me, "You can."
Katy, if you read this one...you can learn to knit. When I get back to the UK I will be happy to give you the first lesson.