Ethel Rose Knits

I’m off on a new adventure with my friend and fellow designer, Sima Brason.  We have some new designs and we’re teaching some classes in the NY/NJ area.  Ethel Rose Knits is our collaboration and we’ve named it for our maternal grandmothers ~ Ethel is hers and Rose is mine.  Pellegrino, pictured below, is my first design for Ethel Rose.  (Ettle, coming early next month, will be hers.)

FINAL 4

The story of my maternal grandmother is one of perseverance and I have heard it told since I was a small child. The eldest of 6 children, Rose left to be with her husband, John, who had already emigrated to the US. Her mother-in-law, with whom she lived after her marriage, begged her not to go in the hopes that John would return. She was torn between being a good daughter-in-law and being a good wife, and returned my grandfather’s ticket twice before she eventually left. She never saw any member of her family again.

Six years later, during the long labor in which Rose delivered her only child (my mother), her lung collapsed. She then developed tuberculosis and as was the custom at the time, was sent away to recuperate, leaving her infant daughter with her husband and family friends for almost 2 years. When she returned, her daughter did not know her.

FINAL 9

She was widowed at 48 when my grandfather died suddenly. She went to work as a seamstress and raised her 12-year-old daughter alone in a country without one relative to help her, but refused to go back to her country because it was my grandfather’s wish that his daughter be an American.

It’s a sad story, yes, but in the retelling I always find inspiration. I can’t imagine being brave enough to do those things. Rose was an amazing woman. Through hardship and difficulty, she never gave up, and it makes me proud that she’s my grandmother.

FINAL 3

And so, my first design for Ethel Rose Knits is Pellegrino, my grandmother’s maiden name.  When I looked up the meaning of “pellegrino,” I found that it meant “pilgrim,” a coincidence I find wonderfully strange.  Just like the Pilgrims, my grandmother came to a new world where things weren’t always easy, but through perseverance found a way.

You can find Pellegrino on Ravelry.  If you’re a subscriber to the Paper Moon Knits newsletter, you’ll receive monthly news and special offers.  (There’s one for Pellegrino in the newsletter this month.)

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