Saturday, May 17, 2014

5KCBWDAY6 - Knitting, Breastfeeding and Baseball

The blogging challenge today is to write about a knitter that you admire. Immediately I thought of my dear Aunt Georgie, who taught me to knit when I was 9. We knit Barbie clothes from patterns we found in her many McCall's magazines, and my first big project was a crew-neck,raglan sweater, and then my second big project was a v-neck raglan sweater. I still have the Paton's booklet with those patterns.

Note the price - 65 cents!

pretty snazzy models, eh?

Here is my favourite story about her and knitting. I wrote this for the British Columbia Lactation Consultants Association newsletter in the summer of 1996.

What does the World Series and a seventy-four year old woman have to do with supporting breastfeeding?

My aunt, Georgina Burton, loves to watch major league baseball games. She also is aware that time in front of the TV can be perceived (by some) to be time wasted. So....she knits.

When many nieces and nephews, and later, grand-nieces and grand-nephews started to arrive she knit baby jackets, booties, and bonnets. Once the last baby was toddling she started to knit for the Red Cross gift shop, but soon her arthritis stopped her from knitting such small, intricate outfits.

Two years ago she saw me knitting a breast as a fundraiser for my La Leche League group.

"I could do that", she said, "mail me the pattern".

The next month when I visited her she proudly displayed the twenty knitted breasts she had made. They were stacked beautifully on her chenille bedspread.

"I can knit one per baseball game", she announced happily, and two years later she is still knitting breasts. Close to a hundred at last count.

She does not knit during the summer because her hands ache from gardening, but once the boys of summer hit the playoffs the gardening gloves come off and the knitting needles come out.

She has never had a child of her own, never breastfed, and yet she knits for my La Leche League group to help us protect, promote, and support breastfeeding. What a woman! Sometimes people who support breastfeeding are found where you least expect it.

I think I should write the Toronto Blue Jays and let them know how they too support breastfeeding mothers!

Sadly, by 1998 by aunt became afflicted with Alzheimer's disease and forgot how to knit. She died in 2008 and I miss her greatly. Her grand-nephew's wife is now a doula, and using two of the breasts my aunt knit. That thought makes me very happy.

(Just in case you were wondering what knitted breasts are used for (insert joke here), breastfeeding educators use them to demonstrate latch in pre-natal and breastfeeding classes.)

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