Mary’s Fish Hat


Yes!  It’s Done!!!  I am so proud of the work my boys put into it and I can’t wait until we are able to give it to Mary.

This is a great project to use up scrap yarn – and there is always scrap yarn.  If there is enough yarn leftover from a project, the first thing I do is knit an afghan square with it.  Then I put the squares in a basket until there are enough to make an afghan.  If there is still more yarn left, then it will be a stripe in a fish hat.  If there is more after that, then it becomes a row in a granny square, and if there is more after that – then it waits for the next great scrap yarn project to come along that needs a stripe.  If there is enough to make another project – like a hat or mittens – then it doesn’t make it into the scrap yarn but gets assigned to a new project.  Nor will I do two afghan squares from the same yarn.  That’s cheating.

Gram did not have alot growing up, and she learned very early how to make clothes and knit sweaters.  She grew up in downtown Albany, in an apartment in the Polish speaking section of the city.  Her Father moved the family there when the railroad brought him to Albany to work.  Here’s a picture taken of him the year Gram was married.  He’s standing at the end of the top row on the right.  I think he was a handsome bloke, though he is hard to see in this picture.  I don’t have a scanner hooked up to the computer yet so I have to take pictures of pictures and they don’t always come out right.  Sigh.

Gram attended St. Casimer School – which was a Polish speaking school – where she wore tight, pointed, lace up shoes.  She swore those shoes were the reason she developed bunions years later.  Gram had to leave school when she was 13 to go to work to help support the family.  She still remembered having to scrub the stairs going into people’s homes when she was much older.  It affected her.

Gram always kept her scrap yarn and that was what we would use to make our afghans and smaller projects.  We did  not through out yarn.  It was to all be used.  If you needed a pair of mittens she would go to the scrap yarn and whip you up a pair.  Same with a winter hat.  I had wonderful afghans made up of blocks of scrap yarn that my mom made me, including one that was just a giant granny square which I still own and still goes on my bed.  Here’s a picture taken of it when it was newer in my then college dorm room.

I grew up knowing that you did not waste.  You used every last bit of what you had – be it toothpaste, food or yarn.  Not that Gram ever complained about what she had – or didn’t have – growing up.  You just learned by how she lived.  She kept her house immaculate.  She always had a project in her hands – no idle hands in her house – and you were always fed when you came to her house.  One of Grams’s sayings that I always remembered was “Pay your bills, someone will always feed you”.  When I was a single parent going to college and law school, many were the times she fed us.

Now I am the one feeding others who need to be cared for – and there is always a project to be completed – and the scrap yarn all gets used for something – an afghan – a fish hat . . .

Mary was back in the hospital last weekend.  The bad news was that she lost about two pints of blood through her rectum – the good news is that her doctors believe it is because the chemo is working and that it is breaking up and removing those tumors that were lining her colon.  As our parish priest said when telling the church about her illness, “we are not above asking for a miracle”.

Lets hope there’s some magic in the love poured into this Fish Hat.  I know Gram will be helping.

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About Shelly R.

I am a Mother, a daughter, a sister, a wife, an attorney, a crafter and the granddaughter of an amazing woman - my Polish Grandmother. My Grandmother gave me so much, through her love and her patience, her sayings and her time teaching me how to craft and to give to others, that it seemed fitting to share some of that wisdom, to tell some of her story, and to chat about life and crafts in a way that would be a testament to what she gave me.
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One Response to Mary’s Fish Hat

  1. danielle says:

    I don’t think I ever saw that afghan before…the one on your bed. I love it! Maybe I’ll have to bug mom to make ME one! (Or learn how to crochet.)

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