A Knitter’s Legacy

Grandma Elizabeth's Crocheted Afghan, Margaret sleeping on it.

Grandma Elizabeth’s Crocheted Afghan, Margaret sleeping on it.

In 2011, I participated in the community art project, “You Are the Chosen One.” We had the option of submitting words to go with our square. I have revised those words for this post.

Mural Close-up

“I tell people I come from a long line of Irish American working women who knit.” Thus I began my remarks at my mother’s funeral. Wearing a reversible cabled shawl, I never talked about the knitting. I assumed attendees would know I had carried on the tradition by noting what I wore. I talked about what I had learned from them: advocating and supporting your family, the work ethic, speaking up for yourself, and singing at mass–even if you sing off key.

The lineage goes like this: myself-Anne Meixner, Mom-Betty Regan Meixner, Grandma-Elizabeth Dugan Regan, Great Grandma-Mary Dugan. For each generation I have an afghan or bedspread that has either been knitted or crocheted.

When I received the call for participation I immediately reserved a spot on the grid. I planned to knit a square with Irish Aran patterns. Such patterns reflect my preference for knitting texture. I easily bore with plain knitting no matter how luxurious the yarn. To keep me engaged, the pattern requires some twists and yarn-overs.

For the edges, instead of a garter I chose an Irish moss stitch. On the background of the reverse stockinet, I chose an undulating cable stitch that reminds me of X’s and O’s that grandmas typically put on their notes. For the center cable I chose a 5-cable weave, which to me represents the four generations and the next one. My niece, Lisa, already knows how to knit–and I am hopeful that my younger niece, Montana, will also learn to play with yarn. In a few years there will be five afghans.


Dear Reader, please share your comments and stories that are sparked by this piece. For instance, do you practice a craft that has been passed down through generations? See “Contribute” for how you can share a story at The Engineers’ Daughter.

Have a Productive Day,

Anne Meixner

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