This Día de los Muertos, I am thinking about my grandmother an awful lot. She passed away almost five years ago and with all the knitting and crocheting I’ve been doing this year, she is in my memories a little more than usual.
My grandmother came to Chicago, from McAllen, Texas for a few months when I was a newborn. I’m told it was a typical frigid winter in Chicago. The many stories of her visit always end in giggles about the story of my older sister chasing my grandmother’s bus in tears when it was time for her to go back to Texas. I imagine the time that she spent with us to be warm and comforting; my grandmother Carmelita was everything a grandmother should be; sweet and always the voice of reason.
When my grandmother passed away, I woke up to a tearful phone call from my aunt in Texas. It had been years since I had last seen her and I was filled with regret for opting to stay home during my parents’ last visits to Texas. It happened over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend and so my parents, my oldest sister and I hit the road and drove more than 24 hours straight to make it on time.
These days it is my grandmother’s crochet lessons that stick with me the most. Our family visits to Texas always included a sweet handmade gift. My last childhood visit included a little lesson; I remember sitting down next to her and learning how to do the chain stitch on a crochet hook. She enthusiastically showed me all her projects and tools, and I vividly remember her teaching me how to make a pom pom.
These memories stay with me now more than ever and I can’t help but feel a wonderful connection to her through my fiber arts adventures. Carrying on the tradition and dedicating an altar to her and El Stitch y Bitch’s crafty ancestors has given me the ultimate peace; I know she is with me and El Stitch y Bitch and I hope she and our crafty ancestors are causing a raucous at the National Museum of Mexican Art this year.