Before the age of ten, I learned to crochet, knit, and embroider. I created hats, scarves, and little pieces of cloth that could have been handkerchiefs with delicate pastel knots and flowers. My mother leaned over the chair, fingering the yarn, tsking, encouraging, guiding my fingers.
Over the years, I abandoned embroidery and dabbled in knitting but really embraced crocheting. But as the arthritis gripped my hands, even the easiest crocheted scarves fell unfinished into the basket.
Last year I started knitting a throw to give to a dear friend for Christmas. I never completed it, though. I got about a quarter of the way and had to abandon the effort, my fingers gnarled and inflamed. The work sat neglected all year in a plastic bag. I’ve taken it up again. I hope to finish it. I don’t purl; I only knit. Knit one, knit two, knit three. I hear my mother’s voice telling me, guide the thread, keep the tension regular, wind the yarn, don’t let the loop slip, there you go. I knitted for over three hours today and finished a skein started fourteen months ago. I’m on the third skein of four with three days left until Christmas.
My mother’s voice guides me and I am grateful that she taught me this skill, imperfectly though I learned it. I sit in my rocker, work the yarn, and feel like Lucy Corley’s little girl. I might not finish this piece in time for Christmas. Next year, for sure. Knit one, knit two, knit three, and rock, keep rocking, while the mind wanders and my mother’s voice shows me the way.