“Click, click, click.” Nonnie, my beloved maternal grandmother, was never far away from her knitting bag. She carried it with her to the beauty parlor where, sitting under the dryer, she could knit uninterrupted for 20 minutes. She carried it to doctor’s appointments and movies—she could actually knit in the dark—turning out sweaters, scarves, and afghans. My senior year of high school, Nonnie went into knitting overdrive, turning out sweaters (so I shouldn’t get cold) and afghans (in school colors). Somewhere along the way, she also began to cross-stitch. In addition to the knitted goods, there was now a steady stream of tablecloths—with matching napkins—adorning our dining room table on “special” evenings.
After Nonnie died, my mother found an unfinished cross-stich pattern of a rose, going through her mother’s things. She added it to her own bag of cross-stitch projects. My mother, too, had become quite prolific in the tablecloth — with matching napkins — arena. When a friend’s child married, the wedding gift was, you guessed it, a beautiful cross-stitch tablecloth — with matching napkins — in colors coordinated with the bride’s china pattern! My collection of these treasures continued to grow, necessitating the purchase of an additional chest just for the tablecloths—with matching napkins. As my mother got to the bottom of her bag of cross-stitch projects, she found the unfinished rose from her mother, which had been patiently waiting for more than 25 years. And so, she started to work on it. Before she could finish it, however, she passed away, leaving the rose, once again, unfinished.
As I was going through my mother’s things, I came across her cross-stitch bag containing only one project: the unfinished rose. Although my needlework had been primarily needlepoint and petit point, I decided to finish the piece, to add my hands to this now multi-generational craft project. The rose, finished at last, hangs proudly in my home, and I never miss an opportunity to tell people it’s story. L’dor v’dor.