Our mother died today, quietly in her sleep, after experiencing several years of declining health.
The beautiful wedding dress she’s wearing in this photograph was made by our grandmother. The post below was written by Susan during our very first month of blogging. It seems fitting to revisit it today.
March 31, 2006
Because watching knitting progress can be as exciting as watching paint dry (oh goodie, another inch!), I have decided to provide some hysterical or historical backdrop to our blog.
Before there were the Rainey Sisters there was the Rainey Mother. Our mom (no longer a Rainey, but that’s a long story in itself) was an extremely talented seamstress, like her mother, and a wonderful knitter. I use the past tense not because she is “no longer with us,”* but because she no longer pursues these activities. She taught me most of what I know about sewing and was quite the perfectionist. She would say things like, “That zipper doesn’t look very good on the inside.” Huh?!? Who is going to be looking there? But it did make ME a perfectionist as well, and I started out as an avid sewer well before the knitting bug bit me hard. I still sew out of necessity and on occasion for the artistry.
As I said, my mom was a knitter. I do not remember when I learned to knit or who taught me (my dad’s mom, I think), but I do remember going to mom for knitting help, “Am I on the knit side or the purl side, Mom?” She would knit beautiful sweaters, and I still have a few of them:
This is a beautiful mohair jacket with 3/4 length sleeves. I don’t remember when she made it, but I think it is gorgeous.
The next is a sweater that Mom made for me when I was in 6th Grade. I absolutely love this sweater. It is a darker tan than it appears here. I’m not sure what the pattern stitch is — it looks like a variation of the Trinity Stitch:
You can tell that even then I was “the Big One.” Here is detail from the buttonbands. You can see the beauty of mom’s workmanship. Notice the machine-made buttonholes and fine handstitching.
Here is a sweater she made me in high school. I wore it often. The color does not show up very well — it is a beautiful, much darker, teal blue out of a very soft yarn. And it was knit in the round (you go, girl!).
And some details:
So you can see that Sally’s and my interest in the needle arts stems from a long line of crafters. I owe a lot to my mom’s instruction and encouragement — thanks, Mom!
*To our great sorrow, the past tense is now all we have.