Monday, 21 November 2011

My granddad knitted carpets.

My granddads were very different. I lived with my Welsh one till I was six and loved him dearly. He had been a miner who was locked out in the general strike and I learned socialism and Christianity in equal measure sitting on his knee as he expounded to his friends and family.
My other grandad was a strange man to me after the war as was his son, my father....but I got used to them both in time.
The Lancashire granddad had joined the army at 16, telling them that he was eighteen. They took his word for it. He was sent to India and whilst he was there he learned to sew and to knit and became proficient at  all the skills usually practised by women. He was a gentle man and a creature of habit. He placed a bet on a horse every Saturday lunch time and had a pint with my dad every Sunday lunch time.
He was the night watchman at an old mill. Cotton and rayon balls  appeared in the house occasionally and he would knit them into jumpers that were very scratchy and not much worn.
As his retirement loomed the balls of cotton started to proliferate....cupboards full of them got everyone wondering what on earth he was up to.  The mill was about to close down. They had all been told they could have what they could carry on the day he retired he found another job instantly.
He started knitting. The fabric was unbleached and greyish....and there was a lot of it. Every day he knitted...there was a huge weight of work and none of us knew what on earth he was doing!
After about a month all was revealed. He had knitted a carpet.  A fitted carpet at that...with holes just the right size for the fireplace and the doors. The room was cleared whilst he laid it very gently.  It  covered the room before the furniture and granny came back in.
"I know its not the right colour love" he said apologetically but it will save your feet on cold mornings!
He went on to knit carpets for the whole house apart from the kitchen which was allowed to keep its oil cloth.  The stairs and the two bedrooms were carpeted by grandad.    So he became known as the knitting grandad.!  
I have told my children this and I could see their disbelief.....but it is absolutely true and the carpet out lived them both!
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