Sunday, March 25, 2007

George and the Mitered Square Blanket

My cousin's wife had a baby boy last week and my mother asked me to knit him a blanket. I considered several typical baby patterns; lacy and delicate. But nothing seemed appropriate for baby George. Such a strong, rugged, manly name would seem to demand a blanket more in keeping with the dragon-slayer image of his namesake, the patron saint of England, my homeland, where my cousin lives. So when Shirani suggested the mitered blanket, which I'll be teaching in the spring, it seemed a perfect match - rugged, brazen, funky and a little daring, but still sweet when done in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK...

While one would wish for the baby to get a good strong dose of St George's courage and fortitude, I do like to think that the choice of name has more to do with his great grandparents: Phyllis and Edward George Turner. Aside from the obvious middle name link, there is another George in our family history: "The George", a small pub in Winslow England where Phyllis and Ted first met and our history begins.

Grandad Ted was, at the time, employed as chauffeur to King George's personal eye surgeon, Sir Richard. It seems the King was a little insecure about his eyesight and liked to keep Sir Richard close at hand, and so it was that Grandad accompanied Sir Richard pretty much all over the world at the King's whim and fancy. While passing through Winslow one day, Grandad stopped for a pint at "The George", owned and operated by Grannie Phyllis'parents. Family lore has it that Grandad took one look at the red-headed barmaid and was smitten. Years later during World War II, while Grandad was serving his country in North Africa, Grannie and my mother, then just a toddler, escaped war-torn London for the relative safety of the rooms above the pub...

Here are my grandparents, with their beloved terrier Rufus. You can't see Grannie's flame red hair in this black & white photo, but I can tell you that she lived well into her 80s with not one day of grey...

I'd like to think that Grandad, a right jolly old chap, would be tickled to see this photo of the two of them, out there for all time on the World Wide Web. Grannie, as far as I know, never knit a stitch in her life, but she'd have certainly been happy to sit down with a gin and tonic for a summer afternoon's chat about the merits of miters!!!

Whether he's named for a dragon slayer, a family landmark, or a charming English gent, baby George has big shoes to fill! I hope his blanket gives him warmth, security, and the courage to recognize, without aid of the eyes, the gifts that life holds for the wise.

Yours in knitting,

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

that was a nice post Claire. you are a good writer.