Grandma Esther’s Afghans Wrap Me in Love

28 Mar

Throughout my home are reminders of my Grandma Esther.   She spent much of her time knitting and crocheting for her three children, nine grandchildren and later 18 great grandchildren.

During the summers she stayed with my Aunt and Uncle in a bungalow in Kauneonga Lake, where my other grandparent’s bungalow colony once stood. Most days, rain or sunshine, Grandma crocheted.

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I still have the first afghan that she helped me to make, when she first taught me to crochet. It was the first thing I made after a scarf.  This afghan began life as a poncho. But when I got tired of wearing it, Grandma helped me find matching yarn, and we made it into my first afghan with my Mom’s help when Grandma was not around.  This green, orange, yellow, brown and beige afghan stays in my sewing room/guest room.  It is starting to fray, and the stitches do not look so wonderful. But since it has to be about 47 years old, I would say it is in pretty good shape.

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In my bedroom is the afghan she made as one of nine for her grandchildren.  My brother, sister and I each got one when we got married.  Mine is orange and green, because those were once my favorite colors (though not anymore). I keep it in my bedroom on a comfortable reclining chair.  When I am having a bad day or feeling sick, I wrap myself in my Grandmother’s afghan and feel only love and warmth.

My daughter has two afghans made by Grandma.  By this time Grandma only remembered one stitch.  So all the great grandchildren have the same pattern, just different colors.

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She made one afghan when I was pregnant and presented to me as a baby gift.  The other afghan she made at my daughter’s request, using the colors she wanted…pinks and purple. (My daughter was almost seven when my grandmother passed away.)  But the green, yellow and blue one was made in anticipation of my daughter’s arrival.

Grandma was 88 years young when she flew from New York to Kansas to be here the week after my daughter was born. My sister and her husband flew here with Grandma. Nothing was going to stop her from seeing my daughter. She stayed for a long weekend.  It was a special time.  And these memories are there in the afghan.

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A dark blue, kelly green and orange afghan was made for my son.  By this time Grandma has having trouble.  My son was born when Grandma was 92. Grandma had three great grandchildren born close together that year.  If I remember correctly, my Aunt helped Grandma complete these afghans.   She had several more to make after my son was born.  I think his is one of the last full-size afghan.  She made a matching pillow to go with it as well.

I keep his in a plastic bag in his closet.  When he was little he liked to sleep on the floor of his bedroom in a teepee wrapped in this afghan.  Now it waits for him to once again use it.  There is no room in his little college apartment.

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On the back of the chair I work in, is a small lap afghan. This my Grandma made from scraps of yarn leftover from other projects.  She gave it to my parents, who used it for almost 20 years  after she passed away, until they also died. When we cleaned out their home, I took it home with me.

Besides my Grandmother’s afghans, I also have ones that I have made.  A purple one for my daughter when she was born is one of my favorites.

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Each afghan holds love in each stitch.  The love I remember when Grandma taught me to crochet and knit.  The love my Grandma put into each afghan she made. And the memories she wanted us to hold with the little label sewn in each one that says “Made especially for you by Grandma Esther.”

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