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Knitting weaves our family together

A red and navy fringed sweater and hat

A red and navy fringed sweater and hat Judy Bernstein's mother made for her when she was a baby, which is now being passed on to her new granddaughter. Credit: Judy Bernstein

From the day last summer when I learned that my son and daughter-in-law would be presenting us with our first grandchild, I’ve been plotting what I could knit for her.

I’m far from an expert knitter and have only been working the needles for a few years, making mostly scarves and blankets — easy-to-stitch squares and rectangles. Ironically, it was my daughter taking up knitting that got me to pick up the needles and yarn in the first place.

I remember my mom knitting. I still have the red and navy fringed sweater and hat that she made for me, and which kept other babies in our family warm as they came along. And the mother of my husband’s oldest friend -- who, as it turned out, later married my cousin and is my son’s godfather -- loved to make sweet little baby sweaters and hats for the children in our family.

For this new arrival, I wanted to create the same types of tiny, made-with-love garments that had been crafted for my kids – and for me. I still had all of them, safely stashed in a dresser drawer in a spare bedroom.

So I emailed my cousin, who had beaten me to grandmotherhood by about a year and half, and who had started knitting after I inspired her. She had some easy-enough-for-me patterns for a sweater, hat and bootie set. I plenty of yarn left over, so I made a matching receiving blanket, too. Searching online, I found some simple instructions for a cocoon and hat that will make for cute photos.

I showed my daughter-in-law some of this work in progress and she asked me if I’d have the sweater set ready to be the baby’s going-home-from-the-hospital outfit. I’ve made that deadline, and our little girl is going home in the things I made for her.

And I know that even if a blizzard blows through New York, my granddaughter will be warm, wrapped in the clothing made by the loving hands of her great-grandmother, her father’s godfather’s mom -- and me.

All those loops of yarn, drawn through other loops, some so many years ago and some in just the last few months, are the ties of family that keep us warm and weave our lives together, wrapping us up with their love.

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