We as humans seem wired to want to pass things on to the next generation. We tell our children about our family heritage. We save heirlooms to hand down. We hope our children remember all the things we tried to teach them. And sometimes they even learn things we unintentionally model.
I did not learn to knit or weave or sew from my Mom. She was a busy farm wife, mother, and freelance writer without much leisure time. But I saw that she sewed, she knit, she wove when something was needed, and I wanted “to do that too.” However, I learned to knit and sew and weave in 4-H and later in school.
As a young mother myself, I wanted my children to know how to work with their hands. I wanted to share with them the pleasure of making something themselves. But I also did not want to force them. I did not want to make it a dreaded project. So I crafted around them, asked them from time to time if they wanted to try, and if they showed interest, I showed them. Now I wish I had been more tenacious. None of my four has taken up knitting needles, shuttle, or fiber. That may soon change.
My daughter’s family just left after a week’s visit. In between trips to parks and reading stories, one granddaughter asked to learn how to knit. So I picked out some bright green yarn from the stash, a pair of easy-to-handle needles and off we went. She stuck to it and today before they left, she cast off a nice little sample piece.
I did warn my daughter: now that her daughter is learning to knit, she, too, will have to learn so that she can help her daughter on this adventure. She smiled and nodded.
Not to be left out, another granddaughter asked how to weave. I have a towel warp on the loom with a bit of warp at the end. So I showed her how to move the treadles and how to throw the shuttle. She wove through one sequence of the twill pattern, then she skipped off to another game. Shorter attention span on that one! Someday, she may try it again. At least she knows whom to ask.
Not every child or grandchild will be interested in fiber arts, but every one we teach will in turn pass along the skills in their own children. It’s been going on for generations.
Pass it on!