A Christmas Miracle: My Close-Knit Family

comments (15) January 16th, 2009     

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MichaelaMurphy Michaela Murphy, contributor
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Yes, Virginia, that is my brother, Tim; brother-in-law, Rikki; and niece, Rachel, KNITTING!!!
My sister-in-law, Julianne, confronts her very first handknit row and the realization that just eighty more like it will produce a scarf.
Even by the hotel pool, my sister, Shannon, and her daughter, Rachel, opt for a refreshing knit.
Yes, Virginia, that is my brother, Tim; brother-in-law, Rikki; and niece, Rachel, KNITTING!!!

Yes, Virginia, that is my brother, Tim; brother-in-law, Rikki; and niece, Rachel, KNITTING!!!

Photo: Michaela Murphy

Truly, if I didn't see it with my own eyes, I would never have believed it. For years my family has watched me knit, received handknit gifts, and openly wondered why I would ever make what I could (more quickly) buy? A few years ago I began to notice a shift in their attitudes via certain commissions: My sister requested a yellow mohair scarf, my brother-in-law a black wool muffler, and my niece anything in her school colors. But nothing foretold or prepared me for the big DIY shock of Christmas 2008. As my family gathered around the tree on Christmas Eve (yes, we are one of those early unwrapping families) opening up their handmade presents, I watched with my crafter's pride as they instantly snuggled up to their new gifts. Then I was jolted out of my DIY reverie when they ALL turned to me and asked me if I would please teach them how to knit!?! Wha...? Were they serious? Yes. My brother-in-law, who happens to be a police officer, put it very well: "Kayla, the economy's tanking, people want scarves and blankets—we should make them."

And so, just like a Rockwell painting, my formerly Hopper-esque family gathered around the fireplace to learn how to knit. I supplied the needles and yarn (and checked my enthusiasm lest it frighten them away). It was actually a riot to act as teacher to my own family, and in addition to the pleasures of learning something new and useful, several other benefits surfaced after a few hours of stitching. As they all struggled with casting on, and that always difficult first row, my relatives discovered a renewed reverance and respect for my own knitting skills and patience. And in just a few hours, I dramatically increased the chances of opening a handmade gift presented by one of my own relatives! Best of all, the memory of my whole family gathered around with knitting needles and excitedly talking about what they hoped to make (while the brand-new Wii and Xbox360 remained unopened!) was the best gift that I have ever received. 


posted in: family crafts

Comments (15)

LisaBinSD writes: Wow, I am IMPRESSED! My mom taught myself, 2 sisters, and 1 sister in law, how to knit around a campfire many years ago during a summer of camping at the beach in California. My baby brother was taught how to crochet when he was sick for several months. I knitted a few sweaters and quit after a few years. My sister in law proved to be a knitting powerhouse for many years. Now in my later years, I have begun knitting again and have rekindled that satisfaction of making something for myself. Thank you for such a heart-warming photo and story. I'll await the knitted products of your great Christmas anxiously. Wonderful story. EXCELLENT picture!
Posted: 11:59 pm on August 13th
NetreaB writes: You are truly blessed, I wish I had a relative who could teach me how to knit. But I'm not doing so bad myself, with the right books, many trials and error I've come a long way. Oh yea, I'm a retired police officer and enjoying doing the things I never had time for now.
Posted: 1:31 pm on April 25th
MichaelaMurphy writes: Aww, thanks everyone. I just checked in on the Knitting Murphy Troupe and it seems to be sticking (if not with all) with most of the new knitters in my family. The stragglers told me that they are waiting for my next visit to get them back on needle--you know how the first few months are all about confidence. But when I do go back to R.I (most likely March) I will post some pics of the new knits by the new knitters. You should know that all of your comments and support are really helping them. They can't believe that they are an inspiration! Thank you all.
Posted: 1:37 pm on January 31st
Jen1964 writes: Congrats on your lovable family!
The fellows here are still shy about such things, but my daughter really took off with it... including getting a knitting group going at her school. At first it was just herself & one other girl, and a teacher willing to volunteer. Word has gotten around and there are about a dozen, and lots of donations of yarn and needles, now- and a site on facebook. Some of the guys are captivated and trying it too.
You never know how many will catch on through those you've taught.
And I had the same stunned reaction, when asked to "show me how"... from someone who didn't want to practice, etc, so many years ago.
One thing, though... you can't make them want to, or force them to stick with it... that'll drive people away. Just keep having fun with it yourself - you're an inspiration!
Posted: 12:54 pm on January 31st
TROLLBYrm writes: You have to love a knitting cop.
Next year, I want shots of the Murphy family quilting bee.
Posted: 1:57 pm on January 22nd
SarahSaturday writes: I've been saving this post as my very own post-Christmas gift. Finally got to open it and read, and enjoyed every word. Not to mention the pictures. Now onto my NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION to get take my new sewing machine out of the box and get started!
Posted: 11:40 pm on January 19th
Rachel_P writes: LOL, that's a priceless picture of my father and uncle Tim. I must say learning how to knit was one of those special Christmas presents that you get that never gets old, and is always beneficial. My scarf is coming along nicely,I am making progress... as is my "closeknit" family.
Posted: 9:37 pm on January 18th
LauraMM writes: I just LOVE this photo!!!
Posted: 9:45 pm on January 17th
Grandma262 writes: My mum knit me socks this Christmas and I almost cried. I knit too, but when she told me about how she used these dinky needles and would make sure she did a certain number of rows each day, I was moved!
Posted: 8:14 pm on January 17th
Carriecan writes: That is just amazing and if any of my relatives EVER suggested that we all sit around and learn to knit...? I'm inspired. Yes, please post pics of the Murphy family knits:)LOL
Posted: 2:57 pm on January 17th
lisalady161 writes: I just learned to knit (at age 47) in October of last year. I've finsihed off four scarves already to my sons, niece and myself.

I hope someday to have the joy you felt this Christmas. Good for you!
Posted: 9:57 am on January 17th
zlee writes: Whoa! That is totally awesome! I hope that you'll keep us updated if/when they progress on to making what they want to make -- photo galleries from the family Murphy, please!
Posted: 7:43 am on January 17th
Asia_Tatiana writes: Oh my. This would be my Christmas miracle too. Wonderful, wonderful.
Posted: 7:58 pm on January 16th
Jen_W writes: Yay! I've taught a few friends to knit but it never seems to catch fire after the first scarf.
Posted: 7:46 pm on January 16th
Sherrisews writes: Oh my gosh!! I would love it if my husband would take an interest in something like that! LOL What an amazing Christmas for all of you. An inspiration for me as I want to learn to knit.

I would like my daughter and youngest son to learn as well so that we can make caps and blankets for babies in the hospital...
Thank you for the inspiration and fun post!
Posted: 7:16 pm on January 16th
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