32 years and counting.

afghan-reading

It’s 5′ x 7′, that is five by seven feet. Unlike contemporary, machine-made models, which are much shorter and cheaper to produce, there is ample cover to reach the tippy-toes of my 6′ 1″ frame.

It has survived 32 winters.
It has served 6 homes, and is now working its 7th.
It has outlasted 10 automobiles.
And, yet here it is, working, in pristine condition, with a new car smell.

Besides our tableware, which should be replaced, it is the only wedding gift that has survived. She has long since passed, but her afghan lives on.

Is an afghan knitted or crocheted? Are they stitches or loops?  I have no idea.
Eric calculated 38,260 individual loops. 38,260 hand made loops.

It is brown, green, and two shades of blue. Why these colors? The earth? Its plants and forests?  Her hope for a God, for heavens? Why didn’t you ask her when she lived?

She would sit in her armchair in the living room as dusk approached and be workin’ it. Introverted, fiery and fearful. Head down, turning one loop at a time, 38,260 times.

Suppose we did our work like the snow, quietly, quietly, leaving nothing out.

~ Wendell Berry, “Like Snow” from Leavings

A wintery gust seeped through the window frame. I shivered, re-wrapped myself and let my thoughts run.

It will be passed down to Rachel, and hopefully to her children and their children.  May they read this post and understand where this afghan came from, the journeys that it made, the warmth it provided.

May they feel those small sclerotic fingers of Baba, those fingers which were white as snow, who worked it one loop at a time, 38,260 times, turning it, over and over.

Working quietly.

Alone.


Inspired by Ted Kooser:

If there’s some one thing to live for, how can we choose just one among so many? Take, for example, this ordinary kitchen chair, nineteen pieces of wood, fifteen of them— the spindles and legs— turned on a lathe, the seat sawn from a plank and shaped with a scraper, some of the pieces drilled, all of them sanded, fitted together, adjusted, clamped, and glued, a good week’s work for someone fifty years ago, the dust of that workshop long since settled onto the cobwebs, the cobwebs swept away, the broom worn down and gone. Five bucks at a yard sale . Any god would be happy to be given just one good chair like this, upon which the light of hundreds of mornings has rested like grace itself, but how long has it stood there next to the kitchen table , turning first one way and then another, waiting for someone to take a moment’s notice?

~ Ted Kooser, The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Comments

  1. That sir, is a wonderful story and tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Warming indeed! Thank you David!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And apparently can warm and envelop far more people than you realize.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You made me cry this morning. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Alex Jones says:

    Something no doubt created with love and attention, which shows this in its durability.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Vera Kanigan says:

    Nice tribute to your Baba!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it’s really wonderful that someone did something 38,000 times, with the intention of giving it to you. That’s a lot of knots and a lot of love all tied together. I happen to be making one for my son – I will (FINALLY!!!) finish it this weekend. I think he appreciates the number of knots (since I have the privilege of pointing it out to him) but I will send him your post for good measure. And finally – I believe it is crocheted 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. very warming–heart and otherwise

    Liked by 1 person

  9. michael zahaby says:

    heart warming

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s crocheted, my Grandma made me one as a high school graduation present. Mine is the same zig zag pattern in white, red, black and gray. She was rarely sitting with idle hands, something was always being created.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Gramdmas crochet. Last year I became a grandma and rediscovered the pleasure of this simple art. I hope my grandson appreciates his afghan nearly as much as you do yours. Thanks for a lovely story.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Warming, and heartwarming, pal. I have several such items that have been passed down to me–knit, crocheted, carved, precious….

    Liked by 1 person

  13. beautiful, Dave. beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Yes, it looks like it’s crocheted. What a cozy memory. A treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank-you. Such a gift of gratitude you created for us all.

    Like

  16. Wonderful. When well cared for, such a gift will warm the body and the spirit for generations. And it’s great you’ve recorded its history.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. oh, so lovely. what a wonderful post, david. thank you for sharing with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. A hand-made story about something hand-made; I feel the energy and the spirit. Such a good thing to share with the world, thank you…

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Christie Annabella says:

    Smile…I received my red and white crochet afghan when I was a teen. It was made by the loving hands of my grandmother. Every-time I place it over me, I feel a hug from my long deceased grandmother. When I was married we purchased a summer weight wool Pendleton blanket with some wedding money..We have washed it so many times, hung it on the line and at times dried on low in the dryer. It has served us well. It is getting thinner in its advanced age.PS we purchased a large crochet afghan at a thrift store, my husband says it is too heavy and he calls it a rug, ha 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Smiling back at you. I could feel this: “Every-time I place it over me, I feel a hug from my long deceased grandmother.” Beautiful Christie.

      And I’m smiling at your husband characterization of the thrift store afghan, the acquired ones just to fit/feel right. 🙂

      Like

  20. That’s a beautiful story…and it makes me think of the crocheted curtain that I keep in a box…that I made myself when my first born child was a baby. It took forever to make, so I can’t part with it…and will most likely pass it on to one of my children, just so that they know it’s something their mom made when she was at home as a new mom. Anyway, I love how you have written this loving story. Thank you David.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. You have reminded me of the afghan my great grandmother crocheted for my mother. It was purple and white and she made it for her when was born. I was the first great grandchild and grandchild and my great grandmother crocheted a small version for me. Over the years, the small one became a blanket for dolls and, like most all my toys, was discarded in some fashion. The larger version stayed with me through college, law school, break-ups; and then, somehow vanished. I haven’t thought about it in such a long time. Thanks you for sharing your beautiful memories and evoking mine.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. a rosary of affection, created with 38, 260 loops.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. As a knitter, I thank you. People have no idea that as I am making a gift for someone I am thinking of that person. Of how the emerald green it will be beautiful with her red hair. Of him working outside and how I will make mittens because they are the warmest, but they will have a removable flap so he can still work his phone. With every loop I’m imagining the soft pink wool on a tender pale newborn that we have yet to meet. So often we knitters, crocheters, quilters, and the rest offer a gift that we have spent days, weeks, or months making, and it is met with the same or less enthusiasm than that of a mass produced object. It cuts very deeply.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. I’ve had the same blanket since 1985(only 30 years). Got it in Tijuana, Mexico for $4. However I have had this beat up old body for 65 years. Thanks visit my blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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