Friday, August 21, 2009

coal miner's granddaughter

my mom was born a coal miner's daughter. in a company house, on a hill in yatesboro, pa. her father, my grandpa, was more than a miner. he was an excellent carpenter, shoemaker, storyteller, fly fisherman and a gardener among many other things. he played the guitar and sang with my gramma on the side porch swing of the house that he built. hard-working, honest, fair and wise beyond the few years of classroom education that he memories of him have taken on mythical qualities. i'll never forget his strength. when he hugged you he could squeeze the air right out of your lungs. after a series of heart attacks, that strength began to wain but the twinkle in his eye never faded.

i was thinking of him as i worked on this project, the onerva by särmä, a finnish designer (ravelry link here). it was a tricky pattern to learn, the fact that it was written in finnish being but one difficulty. for some reason, it never seemed to sink in. and there was much ripping and restarting and a point where it came very close to being put down and put away. but then i thought about my grandfather, and how he would never give up. he'd tinker and toy with things until he found a way to make them work. and that's just what happened. finally it came together and made sense and started to grow into something beautiful. no coincidence that as it grew, the color became more palpable. the slate gray resembling shale, like the walls of my grandpa's underground office. the color that he found himself surrounded by on a daily basis, for hours upon hours.

this is my favorite of them all. because it gave me hours to sit and think about a man who was such an important part of my life and who continues to be an inspiration. he passed away several years ago, so no more bone crushing hugs...just the soft drape of a carbon colored scarf around the neck to remind me.


Bette's Bags said...

Such a sweet and touching remembrance of your grandfather. Thank you for sharing...I'm now gonna go get a hug from my 85yr old father.

School of Crafts said...

What a beautiful scarf!!! And I have to say I am very impressed with your ability to decode finnish. I love pieces that you work on that remind you wonderful people. It always makes handmade even more special.

Anonymous said...

what a lovely scarf and you did your granpa proud. he would have loved to read your article about him and would have thought you made a beautiful scarf. you can read finnish.....that's to read your writing.

Unknown said...

what a beautiful tribute my little chickadee -- made my eyes water -- love, sad