The bag contained a red ball of yarn and a partially completed, hand-crocheted blanket. I had been sorting my mother’s possessions, intending to donate her craft items to her friends at the local Craft Club. When I first saw the blanket I considered unraveling the yarn – perhaps someone else would be able to use it?
But when I picked the blanket up, it was warm and soft, and it gave me pause. I saw an image of Mum’s hands holding it as she crocheted. Suddenly the blanket was too personal, almost intimate, and I resolved it had another purpose.
A few days later, I searched for my crochet hook and sat with the blanket on my knees as I worked my way around the edge using a double crochet stitch. I thought about the importance Mum had placed on the simple pleasure of making the blanket, even though she was unwell, and her stitches showed her deterioration. I chose not to unpick those sometimes ragged stitches, instead working them into the final pattern, wrapping my own stitches around them like a hug.
Hooking the yarn, I also thought of my grandmothers who had helped me as I leaned a new crochet stitch or struggled with a doily pattern. I wondered if they knew the skills they taught me would be used on a day such as this?
When I give the blanket to Mum’s great-grand-daughter, my grand-niece, this practical heirloom will wrap together, with knowledge and love, five generations of women.