For as long as I can remember, my mother, Mary Mavor, was always knitting. In her lifetime she produced hundreds of hats, sweaters and blankets, offering them like warm hugs to her friends and family. She was most prolific with the hats, which had side flaps and a pompom on top. She started making them in the 50’s, when we were kids. The hats were not just for children, but for her adult friends, too. She’d find out what colors they liked and measure their heads, frequently testing the hat size half way through the knitting process. Just yesterday, I saw one of my mother’s good friends walking up Water St. in Woods Hole, wearing one of her hats. It’s such a cheerful reminder of her spirit.
My sister, Anne Mavor, wrote a piece about our mother and her knitted hats for Interweave Knits Magazine’s Holiday issue in 2006.
Here’s a sample from the article:
“Even though Mum never taught me how to knit this hat, I watched her knit hundreds of them. I know the click of the small double-pointed needles as she followed the pattern round and round. I know the curve of her hands as they lifted up a strand of blue yarn, wound it around the needle and then picked up the white. I can close my eyes and still see her hands moving, reading glasses balanced on the end of her nose, tongue working in her cheek.”
Anne describes how after our mother died, she found Mum’s zipped knitting needle pouch and decides to learn how to knit the same hat with no pattern, just a sample hat to work from. She eventually figures out how to knit the hat and writes directions, which are included with the article. She writes this at the end:
“The night before Mum died, I sat beside her bed listening to her labored breathing. She and I were suddenly not mother and daughter anymore. We were two women sitting in a nursing home bed-room, one dying, the other living for a while more. Two lives with intersecting circles that included a pouch of knitting needles and a particular three-colored hat with earflaps.”