Sunday, February 27, 2011

The magic mitts

Several weeks ago, I surfed around on FaceBook visiting the pages of a few people who I didn't know-- like most everyone else, I have quite a few friends who I don't really know but we are friends because we have mutual friends who we do talk to on a regular basis. I do this on a regular basis just to touch bases and say hello. I clicked on a lady who happened to have her grandfather dying. She is in her mid-20's and her grandfather was dying of cancer. It was herself, her sister and her mother, and his live-in companion of the previous ten years who were his support. (Her grandmother was remarried and living a few states away.) They all lived in his city and her mother was his only child.

I sent her a supportive message and asked if, while we didn't know each other, if she'd mind if I checked in on her page and just said supportive words here and there and she didn't mind at all.

One of her grandfather's complaints was that he was cold. I had just finished knitting a pair of handwarmers in a washable wool (buckskin was their color) that I had intended for myself, but as the wool feels quite nice, I made another pair in baby alpaca and asked if I could send them to her for her grandfather via a mutual friend who was posting often on her page, and she consented and was quite happy when they arrived. He was happy and especially very much enamored with the baby alpaca mitts. I do not have a picture of them, but there were quite basic, what I'd make for myself, or for a man who I didn't know as they lack frou-frou frills. As he has been ill for a while, my small hand size fit him well. (They are very similar to what you can find in this picture.) He was really happy when he found out that a complete stranger happened upon his granddaughter's page and how we worked it out. (He loved that I was from Alaska-- he'd come up here in the 1970's, vowed to return, but never did.) Upon getting my mitts, his hands were no longer as cold as they'd been, and he loved that people cared enough about his grand daughter to worry for him.

I'd not heard from her in a couple of weeks, dropped by her page and saw that he'd died early last week. I sent my condolences and in the way that people say, "If there is anything I can do, let me know" I said this, not knowing what I could do and assuming, as people do when they say such things, that there is nothing that I could do. Of course I wouldn't be telling my readers this if nothing came of the offer!

She wrote me back and she seemed embarrassed, but there was something I could do. . . her grandfather had very little in worldly goods, and what he had, he understandably left to his girlfriend. There were tears over the gloved that I'd sent! His girlfriend was going to give them to my friend's mother in a few months, but she very much loved them as they were a link to a man who she loved. Of course his three biological descendants also loved him and they, too, wanted the gloves. She didn't tell me what she wanted, but simply said that she was sorry for asking and that she hoped I understood. Of course I did. I have extra hanks of the yarns and I quickly knit up two extra pair of mitts, identical to the ones that I had sent her, and told her to put one of each with his others, and I made so that my friend, her sister, mother and grandfather's girlfriend could each have a glove that he'd worn-- and a new one.

I just got a message from her. She had taken them to church this morning and his girlfriend was very happy and they went back to the home she had known for the last ten years and had cake and wine and they made the new pairs of mitts. His girlfriend had no children of her own and my new friend and her sister and their mother are bonded for, I hope, life, and this is in a good way.

I was so happy to have been involved from a distance in making her grandfather's death a little easier. My fingerless mitts are like puppies-- they are warm and soft, very tactile, but they don't have cold noses. At the ends of a person's hands, they are open so they can handle the blankets and have their hands held and have the touch of their loved ones. From my end, I like making them better than shawls because fingerless mitts can be complicated, but they don't take long to knit up, so it isn't like knitting a shawl or an afghan: what is 2 hours of tricky parts in a pattern when you only have one more to go? (Shawls take longer.) You also use less yarn which, considering that I love using nice yarn, this spreads to more people and I think they get more joy out of it! 

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