three generations sharpened

In 1900 at the age of twenty one, Maria Carlson came to America from Sweden. She needed a sponsor family, the Petersons, and a job, which she also had in a local Brooklyn bakery. She was coming to meet the man she thought she would marry and they would move to Australia, but the Petersons told her he was not a good man and that she should not do this. She listened.

She learned English well, became a citizen as soon as she could and met Oscar Anderson at the local Lutheran Church. The Petersons approved.

Maria was a staunch believer in voting. She would study all the candidates and issues and felt if you didn’t vote you had no right to complain, as you had done nothing to change the situation.

More to the point of this story, Maria loved to crochet. Over the years she made countless tablecloths, doilies, baby clothes, curtains, runners, you name it. She made up her own patterns, inspired by the simplest of things, like frost on a window pane.

Oscar was a carpenter and skilled cabinetmaker. Their son Rudy was also a carpenter and artist who designed patterns for his mother as well. One of the things I love about her is that if she felt the need to work out a pattern or piece all day, she would, whether the dishes got done or not.

While crochet was her first love, Maria also knew how to knit; a skill she taught her daughter Margaret and granddaughter, Eleanor. I spent last week in Florida knitting hats with my mom (Eleanor). Even though Maria died 53 years ago when I was only four, the memories are still there and her creativity has been passed down through generations.

In my family we simply, lovingly, refer to Maria as “Old Grandma”. She made fabulous Swedish pancakes, got really good at jumping out of the way of spilled milk, read to us from the How and Why Library and didn’t go to Australia.

Smile, relax and knit,


  2 comments for “Generations

  1. May 31, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Lovely story. I too was inspired to create at an early age by my grandmother and my mother, both highly skilled and intuitive knitters. It is wonderful how needle skills connect generations of women.


  2. Mark Gregory
    April 23, 2015 at 8:13 PM

    I am the baby in the pic (Andrea’s big brother) can’t knit a stitch, but I am a pretty fair carpenter. Love the story, love all the knitters including the unborn one.


We'd love to know what you think. Please leave your comment here.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: