Monday, December 21, 2015

Storytellers Christmas: A Mother's Love


Those are my cozy feet in the photo at left, and those red socks were made by my storyteller friend Kate Dudding, five years ago exactly. I still wear them often in the winter, hand-washing them to be sure they do not shrink. 

There is nothing like hand-knit items. My mother was a knitter, and made many, many baby sweaters, booties and shawls, as well as socks, hats, mittens, vests, sweaters and even tea cozies. So today's story, shared with us by my friend Kate from New York state, is special to me. I hope you enjoy it too. You might even recognize the old folktale on which it is based!


A Mother's Love

by Kate Dudding

Once there was a mother who knit sweaters for her daughter.  The mother started knitting sweaters for the daughter even before the daughter was born, using the ‘safe’ colors: white and yellow and green.  After the daughter was born, the mother also used pink and purple yarn. As the daughter grew, so did the sweaters.

After the daughter learned to talk, whenever the mother gave her a sweater, the daughter said, “Thanks, Mommy! I like this sweater the best.”

When the daughter was ten, she asked, “Mommy, will you teach me how to knit?”

The mother smiled.  “I would love to teach you to knit. I’ve been hoping that you would ask.”

So the mother taught the daughter how to knit.  First the daughter knit sweaters for her dolls.  But then she started making sweaters for herself, then for her father and brother, her fiancĂ©, her husband, her son, and her friends.  But she never made a sweater for her mother.  Once that thought flitted into her mind, that she should make a sweater for her mother.  But she quickly dismissed it, without thinking much about it.  “Whenever Mom sees a sweater she likes, she makes it for herself.”

But the mother continued to knit sweaters for the daughter, even after the daughter was an adult.

The last sweater the mother made for the daughter was a red sweater with a pattern of raised hearts across the shoulders.  It was warm and soft to the touch.  When the mother gave the daughter that sweater, the daughter said,

“Thanks, Mom. I like this sweater the best. ”    

Six months after the mother finished that sweater, the mother died.

The daughter wore that sweater many, many times.  And every time she wore it, she felt her mother’s love.

The years went by.   The sweater was eventually worn out. When the daughter realized that, she said to herself, “This sweater is worn out, but I don’t want to throw it away.  It’s the last sweater my mother made for me. Isn’t there something I can do?”

She looked and she thought.  And then she smiled. “I know, I’ll take the sleeves off the sweater, and use the good yarn from the sleeves to mend the body.  Then I’ll have a vest to wear.”

That’s what she did.  The daughter wore that vest many, many times.  And every time she wore it, she felt her mother’s love.

The years went by.  The vest was eventually worn out. When the daughter realized that, she said to herself, “This vest is worn out, but I don’t want to throw it away. It’s from the last sweater my mother made for me.  Isn’t there something I can do?”

She looked and she thought.  And then she smiled. “I know, I’ll take the vest apart and see how much good yarn there is.”   She ended up with a ball as a large grapefruit.

“I’ll make a scarf from this yarn and knit the pattern of raised hearts all over it.”

That’s what she did.  The daughter wore that scarf many, many times.  And every time she wore it, she felt her mother’s love. 

The years went by. The scarf was eventually worn out. When the daughter realized that, she said to herself, “This scarf is worn out, but I don’t want to throw it away.  It’s from the last sweater my mother made for me. Isn’t there something I can do?”

She looked and she thought.  And then she smiled. “I know, I’ll take the scarf apart and see how much good yarn there is.” She ended up with a ball only as big as a lemon.

“I can’t make anything to wear out of only this much yarn.  I know, I’ll make a Christmas ornament, with a raised heart in the middle.”

That’s what she did.  The daughter knew that whenever she saw the ornament on her Christmas tree, she would feel her mother’s love.

But it wasn’t Christmas time, so she put the ornament away with all her other Christmas ornaments.

She was left with a piece of good yarn only three inches long.   “I know it’s foolish to even ask, but is there anything I can do with this?” She looked and she thought.  And then she smiled, because she was a storyteller as well as a knitter.


From that last piece of yarn, the daughter made this story for her mother.  And she knew that whenever she told it, she would feel her mother’s love.



From Kate Dudding's website: "Many people find my stories entertaining, heartwarming and memorable. I hope that you will too. For me, storytelling combines the intensity of a one person play with the intimacy of a one-on-one conversation.

As an award-winning author and storyteller (I won the Story Slam at the 2010 National Storytelling Conference in Los Angeles,) I specialize in telling true stories about people who made a difference. I've told stories at many venues in the Northeastern USA, including The New-York Historical Society (New York City, NY), The Clearwater Festival (Croton-on-Hudson, NY), First Night Saratoga (Saratoga Springs, NY), and The Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA). Each of my four CDs has won a national storytelling award.

My fourth CD, Fighting For Our Rights - American Women Mid-20th Century won a 2015 Storytelling World Honor Award in the category Storytelling Recordings for Listening Pleasure For Any Age. Storytelling World is a fully-refereed journal offered annually through National Storytelling Network’s Storytelling Magazine. Each year, Storytelling World gives awards to the most exciting new stories that audiences of various ages would enjoy hearing and storytelling resources that offer information about the field of storytelling. This double CD set contains seven stories of women fighting for civil rights and women's rights, set during a time when white women could not rent cars, be on juries in many states or get a mortgage no matter how much money they made. African American women could not do many more things.

My third CD, Young People Who Made a Difference, has been named winner of a 2013 Storytelling World Resource Award in the adolescent listeners category.

A story on my second CD, People Who Made a Difference: Volume 1, won a 2010 Storytelling World Honor Award in the category stories for pre-adolescent listeners.

Photo of a knitted 4-pointed star Xmas ornamentIf you would like to receive my quarterly e-newsletter, Voices From the Pastplease click here. Click here to visit my web design site. Click here to visit my knitting design site. "

Contact Kate at: Kate Dudding, Storyteller    kate@katedudding.com    www.katedudding.com 
(518) 383-4620 


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