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Connections: My Grandmother’s Bag

I've been trying to write this post for over a week.  I've started it so many times in my head, and a few times on paper, but I keep feeling as if I'm missing the emotion I want to get down on the page.  I'm just going to stop trying.  I'm going to write up the bits and pieces, disjointed as they are, and put it out there for you all to see.

The story started when I was a young girl, in my teens.  I inherited my great-grandmother's knitting bag.  It had been around the house before then, but it was put away somewhere.  My mother ran across it, and it became mine because I was the only one in the family who would be likely to have a use for it.  Plus, I love (ridiculously, madly, unreasonably) bags.

I didn't really use the bag, but I kept it because I loved the vintage look of it (I loved "old fashioned" things decades ago, before the current vintage craze was a glimmer in a hipster's eye), and I loved that it belonged to a woman that my mother and aunt and all of their cousins spoke so fondly of.

There was an oddity about the knitting bag, though, and no one could explain it to me.  Inside the bag, although there were no holes in the lining, a safety pin was pinned to the fabric.  No one knew why it was there, but they left it there because their Baba had put it there.  So I left it there, too.

Fast forward to this May.  I took a beginner sock knitting class because I've always wanted to know how to knit socks (I'm told my great-grandmother could knit socks and sweaters without a pattern!).  I didn't use her knitting bag because the fabric is starting to come loose from the wood, and I don't want to ruin the bag.  Someday I'll figure out a good way to repair it, but until then I just keep the bag as a cherished memento.

I bought my own brightly colored, pyramid shaped bag:

And I learned how to read the pattern.  And then I got to a part of the pattern that called for marking a row with a safety pin.  I bought some fun, anodized metal pins in different colors and thought, "I think I'll pin these inside my bag so they don't get lost in the bottom."  Light bulb!  After all these years, suddenly I knew why that safety pin was there.  It was her row marker just as the brightly colored pins inside my bag are mine!

I told my mother and my aunt the story, and they were touched the same way I was.  It just gave us a warm, tender feeling in our hearts, this connection I found with a woman they loved so dearly but I never met.

This brings me to part two of my connections, and it's not about knitting at all, but I'm going to include it in this post because it's sort of related.  The same week I made the safety pin discovery, I found out I'm going to be going to Faerieworlds.  And I remembered that my friend Jo of Tanglefrost, someone I met last year online who showed me so much kindness and encouragement, had a beautiful leaf necklace in her shop, just perfect for a faerie gathering.

I contacted her, and some magic happened, and a gift of an amazingly gorgeous necklace has arrived in my hands (I cannot express how exquisite the work is on this necklace--it is delicate and ethereal and simply amazing and I seriously encourage you to gift yourself with one of these or one of her other works--you will be stunned by how much more beautiful this is in person even though it is already so beautiful in the photo!).  And with it came a real world connection between us even though we have never met.  The work of her hands is now held in my hands, and a small piece of art I am making will be headed to her this week.  And suddenly the friendship that was just online has stepped out of the virtual world and into the physical world.  My heart is so full with the joy of this connections!  I didn't even know I was missing this sort of connection until now.

So through the connection with my great-grandmother and the connection with my distant friend came an idea.  I love it that we can meet people and become friends with them online.  But I realized that there's nothing that can really replace real world connections.  I realized that I keep in touch with almost everyone on the computer.  I realized I don't actually have the addresses of most of my friends.  Sure I know how to get to the homes of my local friends, but I couldn't send them a card or a gift without having to spoil the surprise by asking for their addresses first.

My idea, formless as it is so far, is to find a way to make real world connections in our lives.  I'll be writing more about this as I come up with more of a plan, but if anyone wants to participate with me, to make connections, share things off the internet with each other, and tell each other about it, let me know.

There it is, all my disjointed rambling about connections.  I hope I've conveyed a bit of the feeling I wanted to share.  I hope I've planted some ideas in your heads about connections you can make for yourself.  Let me know what you're thinking, and together we'll move this idea forward, off this computer screen and out into the world where it can see the light of day.