I got an early-morning text message last Saturday to say that my grandmother had passed away suddenly. It’s hard to say that losing an 88-year old is ever unexpected, really, but it did take us all by surprise. She was healthy and active until the end, which came quickly and without pain. This has been a week of family: a wake, funeral, holiday, and then the cleaning out of her apartment, all in the space of 8 days. Among the things we brought home is this:

A piece of my grandmother’s knitting.

Grandma would have laughed at the idea of being identified as a “Knitter.” For her, knitting was just something you did, not an identity you took on. When you had someone close by to knit for, you knit for them. If you didn’t, you gave things to charity. In fact, most of her knitting was donated; she didn’t think anyone in the family would want it (despite protestations to the contrary). And yet, she knit unabated for decades and only gave it up when her hands couldn’t hold the needles. She made some beautiful things. She wasn’t a designer by any means (she loved to tell people that she wasn’t even the least bit “creative”), but she completed more projects than I can count, all beautifully executed and flawlessly finished. This is one of the few pieces that survived the downsizing of her house, and I’m happy to be one of the lucky ones who gets to keep a piece of her knitting. Honestly, this afghan probably didn’t mean a lot to her, but it does mean a lot to me…one small piece of a collection that represents one of the most consistent themes of her life.