Friday, April 24, 2009

A Blanket for My Father.

My father loathed knitting. He thought it was beneath me. Plebeian and pedestrian. Vulgar, common. He worked hard to rise above peasant things, and his daughter should harness her energies and intellect for scientific and professional endeavors. He was crestfallen when recently I had stared to knit and crochet obsessively.
He would cringe when he saw me pull out my knitting in public – I did it just to bug him and show my independence from his prejudices.
To him there was no such thing as a luxury yarn - if he knew that yarn could cost more than most people make in an hour, he would have certainly scoffed. There was nothing difficult or beautiful about intricate lace patterns. Silesian housewives did it, cleaning ladies did it, his daughter did not do it. It was a waste of time, money and talent.
Some time in the past he got the idea that it “calmed my nerves”. I think my mother – herself lacking insight – told him that. I do have my share of psychological problems, but none of them can be – or have ever been – helped by knitting. It infuriates me when people suggest it.
So it is multiply ironic that I chose to crochet a blanket for him when he got sick. The morning after he was admitted to ICU and placed on life support I drove to the store and bought more than a pound of expensive thick fluffy wool and mohair blend and started a large granny rectangle with it. He died later that day; I finished it for the visitation at the funeral home – it was draped over the prie-dieu by his coffin and later I asked for it to be put inside. My husband and best friend thought that it was “sweet” – meaning caring and thoughtful? – that I wanted to do it for him, but I have my doubts.


  1. I have many of the same issues with my parents. I hear "you can buy it cheaper in the store!" Don't worry at least there is a haven online for people like us. :) Your father was a lucky man to have a daughter like you.

  2. i made something so quickly for a man i love recently. and i am taking forever to knit a scarf for my father. i find knitting incessantly tied to my emotions.

  3. And this is the only time you have ever had the last word.

    It is ok, in fact it is the best thing you could have done for both yourself and him. You gave of yourself, doing something comforting and meaningful because you love/d him.

  4. My sincere condolences on the loss of your father. I think it is good that you left it with him. It represents so much - time, thought, care and love.

  5. I am sorry for your loss. My Mom holds my knitting in disdain as well. The blanket you made is an expression of your love. Glad I found your blog through Rav.

  6. I stumbled upon your blog by accident. Very interesting. What's more interesting are the comments. I know why you put this blanket (unfinished) into his casket. You want to stick it to him, have a last word. It was an act of rebellion. I think this interpretation is more "normal" than the silly "acts of love" others thought. When last year my step-father was dying, I couldn't make up my mind if I wanted him to suffer longer or if I wanted him to just finally die. I shocked others with my dilemma, but that was exactly what I was thinking and I wasn't going to make-up any touchy-feely stories. He did die quickly and I regret lack of elation I was hoping for.....