In all the time that Alice has been part of our lives, I’ve been knitting for her and around her. I can’t imagine there’s ever been a time when she saw me and I didn’t have knitting needles in my hand even for a few minutes.

And yet she’s never mentioned it. I have struggled to think of a time when she pointed out what I was doing or showed an interest  but it’s never happened until recently. Last week when she was here she found a crochet hook in the lounge room and asked what it was. I got some yarn and made a little chain. She watched. She took the hook in her own little hand and waved it around the yarn, got bored and walked away.

It was a tiny moment, short lived, but enough to make me wonder if maybe at last she’d noticed I’m always doing this thing with stuff in my hands.

I wouldn’t say I’m desperate to pass on the love of making things to her – if she never knits or crochets or sews it’s ok. But it’s struck me that in all the time it’s been going on right in front of her, it jus doesn’t register and, you know, being three she asks about everything. Everything. All the time. But not this. It makes me pause to think.

Then recognition came in the strangest and loveliest way. There’s a book she loves. It’s called The Gruffalo. Do you know it? A lovely book about a little mouse and his encounter with a beast in the deep, dark woods. It’s a clever story. She adores it. Recently we saw the little movie and the movie of the sequel and we were all delighted.

I found a stuffed toy of the Gruffalo and knew I had to buy him for Alice. Here he is.


He’s a cute, cuddly monster. Here’s how Alice looked when she met him.

alice and gruffalo

To say she was happy is an understatement. Instant love. Very gratifying.

But for me, the best bit was yet to come. A little while later she said, and I’m still not sure if it was a question or a statement, ‘Bells made it!’

Really? She thought I made the Gruffalo? What a lovely, inflated view of my skills she has. Or as RoseRed said, Alice can’t distinguished between bought things and things I’ve made.

Either way (and who knows all the time what goes on in the strange little minds of toddlers anyway!) what this proved to me is that after all the cardigans, all the dresses, all the cakes – every little hand made thing I’ve given to Alice in her three short years, the fact of what I do has at some point sunk in.

Alice knows I make things and that I make things for her.

It’s the loveliest kind of acknowledgement. I’m happy now that she’s never asked what I’m doing when I sit with her and knit. She doesn’t have to ask. She just knows.



12 thoughts on “Recognition

  1. And sometimes it skips a generation – I can’t count the number of times people have said their aunt used to tat, but they never learned. But it’s so charming that she said you made it. Awww!

  2. That is a sweet story and seeing Alice hug that Gruffalo, I can believe you made it for her. She loves it as if you did and that’s all that counts.

  3. What a delightful story!

    All children are different; my Older Grandson watched every move and would sit and listen to me explain the mechanics of knitting before he could walk. Now he’s two, he stands at my elbow when I’m using the sewing machine. He likes to play with my carefully ironed and folded fabric and the quilt he wants is the one I’m working on, not those tired old things I made when he was smaller! Maybe I should take a hint?

  4. There’s a series of books by Orson Scott Card called the “Alvin the Maker” series. In them, there are people who Make things. Like you. It’s just a part of who they are and what they do.

    When my girls were small, the first question they would ask is “can you make this for me?”. And now, they’ve grown to make things themselves. Whether you realize it or not, you are passing along the Making to Alice. she may or may not pick it up herself but she’ll know that some things are made by people she loves.

    How cool is that?

  5. I can’t say it any better than Leonie did. My niece did the same thing with a shirt that was store bought, but she thought I had made it. She also loves to get her needles and yarn (I have a set just for her) and wave it around and stab the yarn, but she still doesn’t want an actual lesson. She tells me she know how. 🙂

  6. my three year old does about what Alice does with knitting needles and yarn, and has only recently started to show gratitude for stuff that is made for her. i think it is just the age they are at.

  7. I think you hit the nail on the head, there – you’ve succeeded in making knitting and crafting and creating such a normal and natural part of her life that she doesn’t NEED to ask what you’re doing. And what’s more special is she knows they’re an expression of your love for her, too!

  8. I think you have it right. Alice knows you make stuff and in the way of small people everywhere, she knows it is part of the person you are and therefore does not need comment. In the same fashion that you have dark hair and you are her aunt. You are also a maker. For her it is a natural part of the person she knows as you. Such a lovely realisation 🙂

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