It is somehow fitting, as I am about to launch my first online store for the knitting bags, my first ever website, and make my first foray into the cyber world (giving Grandma Moses a run for her money!), that I should pause to reflect on where it all started.
I am a maker at heart, and come from a long, long line of makers. We just didn't call it that. I was surrounded by do-it-yourselfers long before DIY was in vogue. Making it yourself was just what you did whenever you needed or wanted something.
I grew up in a home where my father built on to the house himself as the family grew; my mother made our clothes, and grandma knitted our sweaters. (Foolish child that I was, I did go through a stage where I had to have a 'store bought' sweater.) But they continued to hammer and saw, and stitch and sew, build and remodel, and in so doing, provided the best lessons of my life.
In essence I learned, among other things, not to let the fact that I had never done something before, stop me from doing it. I only wish that I could have articulated that to my father while he was still alive, to let him know that eventually I got it, .....but I have to believe that he knows. He embodied that principle his entire life, and I am the richer for it.
But on to those rabbits. The little fellow above is a copy of the first rabbit knitted for me by my Grandma well over 60 years ago. I remember as a child, watching her knitting needles fly, and wondering if mine would ever go that fast. (They don't!)
I don't know how many rabbits she made. After each of her grandchildren had one, she went on to make them for the neighbors' babies, and church bazaars, and for 'someone's aunt whose friend has a cousin whose daughter has a new baby', and eventually for her great grandchildren. You get the picture! Later, my mother made more, and now I'm the Gran who is knitting them for my own grandchildren. And lucky lady that I am, I'm two bunnies behind as of this date! I'm enormously pleased.
I long continued to be fascinated by the speed of Grandma's knitting needles, and that triggers the memory of a very special sweater she knit for me as I was about to begin school at age six.
It was all that talk of rabbits that did it of course, that made me think of that remarkable sweater:
My sister and I had a good many of the sweaters from the Knit-O-Graf catalogue (I remember the poodles in particular.), but this one was different. Instead of an all over pattern it had just one small rabbit knit into the right hand pocket. I still clearly recall the exact shade of blue and the texture of the rabbit knit in soft white angora and wearing a tiny red sweater.
That red sweater was nearly my undoing.
I loved my new blue sweater, and being the introverted child that I was, it entered often into my daydreams as I imagined the places I might go in it. So I suppose it was not surprising that in my mind's eye the rabbit's red sweater might have acquired on its pocket, a small girl wearing a blue sweater, upon whose pocket was a white rabbit in a red sweater, which had on its pocket a girl in a blue sweater, and so on and so on...... How small is the tiniest possible thing?
And then I slammed headlong into the corollary. What if I, in my blue sweater, existed only on the pocket of the sweater of a very large rabbit, and there might be an even larger girl, and then a bigger rabbit still, and who could say where it would end? It was endless in either direction.
And so, I plunged into my first, and mercifully worst, existential crisis! For the record, life on the rabbit's pocket, as it were, remained interesting and only constricting enough to be safe, and I continued to be fascinated by Grandma's flying needles. Crisis averted.