It was with great sadness that my family said goodbye to this beautiful lady, my mum. We were all just coming to terms with her illness when she was taken from us far too soon. I'm not going to dwell on that though. She wouldn't want me to and this is a tribute to her talent not to our grief and loss.
My mum was my inspiration growing up. She taught my sister and I to indulge in our creativity. She taught us to knit. We often helped her bake and we would design our own gardens on paper while my mum dreamed of having one of her own. There was more to her than that of course. She loved a glass of red wine, she like a night out with family, she loved to read and she loved her disaster movies. I could spend all day writing about her and I probably would still only touch the surface but this is about her creativity.
Growing up my mum always had a pair of knitting needles in her hands. She always had a project on the go. I remember many visits to the wool shop as a child. When we grew up and refused to wear knitted clothes (as young teenagers would) she was able to knit for herself. Quite often she enjoyed knitting these summery tops and jumpers and became quite famous for knitting them each year.
In fact her first large project was a jumper for herself. She was in primary school and had taken it in for what was her version of show and tell. Her teacher accused her of having my gran make it and pass it off as her own. My gran had to pay a wee visit to the school to assure the teacher she had made it entirely herself.
My mum of course wasn't just famous for her summery tops but for her favourite colour, red. She was often teased for it although it wasn't a colour she often knitted with. This cable jumper is one of the few times she knitted with it.
My mum also had great Christmas spirit. She often would start her Christmas projects very early on. This usually involved making Christmas cards but in the last few years she loved to knit toys. Encouraged of course by myself and my sister. Not just Christmas toys but Halloween or anything cute that we happened to see in magazines. My mum could often be persuaded to knit something cute for us and sometimes she would even do the same for herself.
When my gran passed away I picked up a couple of cross stitch kits. My mum and I had never tried it before and decided that it would be a good way to distract ourselves. This was the first craft that we both learned together. We both became quickly addicted and we would often spend afternoons together stitching or reading and swapping magazines. As a result everyone in our family has received a stitched card from my mum. These were always my favourites and I have kept every single one of them.
My mum's stitching has even won her prizes. The first time was the first challenge event held by our knitting group. The theme was Scotland. My mum decided to stitch the Scottish snowman. It would add to her growing collection of Christmas cross stitch pictures. She added the little logo at the bottom which got a few laughs.
There were even times when she combined some of her favourite things. In this case cross stitch, red and Dr Who.
When we started up the knitting group I dragged my mum along. Back when we were growing up she would often have knitting sessions with my gran and aunt. It had been a long time since that had happened and I think she took to the knitting group partly because it took her back to that. She looked forward to it every week and it was something we enjoyed doing together. I don't think she quite expected it to grow as it did. I also don't think she expected it to be a way to learn new skills. For example, she learned to crochet and this Christmas blanket was her first crochet project. She was so proud of it and it was brought out every Christmas.
She also learned to knit socks. One of the first pairs she knitted were these red ones. Quite often she would wear knitted socks and she was proud when she got to wear a pair that she had made herself.
She took part in other classes at the knitting group which involved using a sewing machine. Something she said she had never been able to do. Yet she managed to make her own knitting bag thanks to some classes.
Baking was another craft that my mum excelled at. She never had a failure and we often encouraged her to make her scones. They never lasted long in our house. I have many happy memories of my sister and I helping her with them (although I am sure we were more hindrance than help).
Last but not least, her pride and joy was her garden. My mum had dreamed of having her own garden for as long as I remember. Even when we lived in a flat she would watch every gardening show on television. Then 15 years ago we moved and my mum got her dream. Her garden has always looked beautiful. Every summer we all liked to sit out and admire it. Her plants were her babies (her words) and she loved to pick up new ones and try new colours. Her favourites were roses and her Hosta's. In the spring she loved her daffodils and tulips. All colours, not just red.
This post doesn't even touch on her talent. She didn't just craft with me and our knitting group. She would have crafting sessions with my sister. My sister taught her printmaking, jewellery making and felting. I think my sister and I can both thank our creativity to her.