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

Additional Reading

Sean McKeel created the You are the  Chosen One mural project

I participated in another one of Seann McKeel’s community knitting projects called Knit Not War.

Interested in learning more about Irish knitting check out Wikipedia article on Aran Knitting.

Seems to be a myth of meaning in the stitches, however; they are fun to knit.

To learn to knit an Aran Braid check out this tutorial.

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