Thursday, 12 March 2015

A Personal Touch

Ripple blanket hanging on washing line on a sunny day with blue sky above.
My speedy ripple blanket is hanging on the line.

I brought the blanket home because it needed a hand wash after daily use at the hospital by a very close, elderly relative–my father-in-law.

When I gave this blanket, the deal always was that, whenever it needed a wash, I would come and get it and clean it for him (while saving my mother-in-law the trouble too–the daily commute between home and hospital is exhausting enough for her.)

Fortunately, the hospital is very close to my home so my immediate family and I were able to pop in almost every day. It was pleasing to see my father-in-law using the blanket all the time except for during the hottest of summer days.

The ripple blanket became a talking point for visitors to the room and helpful to 'break the ice' as new hospital staff were introduced.  

My father-in-law could have had any other items from home that he wished in his hospital room but he chose not to. He felt he had no use for them there.

The blanket provided a much appreciated burst of colour and homeliness in an otherwise bland and sterile room. 

Ripple blanket hanging horizontaly on washing line. The stripes are hanging vertically.
The blanket is a total of 17 stripes long.
Sadly, only weeks later, just as the season was turning from summer to autumn, my father-in-law passed away peacefully at the grand age of 88 years. (In my mind, a very appropriate age for someone who played jazz piano in his heyday.)

Close family members recounted their final hospital visit to say their personal goodbyes to a beloved husband, father and father-in-law (who was also a brother, grandfather and great-grandfather):  they were deeply touched by the sight of the hand made blanket and the way in which it had been draped over him with gentle care by the nursing staff as he lay at rest. 

The blanket was so much of my father-in-law in its style and colours. Relatives explained that the 'personal touch' of having something lovingly hand made just for him, brought special comfort at such a difficult time.

The funeral was held a week ago and the blanket returned to me at the wake. Many family and friends came to me and expressed their appreciation of the blanket, having seen it in the hospital, and reinforced how it truly did reflect his personality.

My father-in-law and the ripple blanket are forever linked in people's hearts.

So here I am, hanging the clean blanket in the fresh air.  
It is a glorious and sunny autumn morning with white, wispy clouds on a gentle breeze, making way for a clear blue sky.

A clan of New Holland honey-eaters have arrived to have a look and say hello as they search for the sweet nectar of the autumn flowering hakea tree in my garden.

A New Holland honey eater since amongst the foliage of a hakea laurina tree.
A New Holland honey-eater amongst the foliage of a hakea laurina tree.

It's time for one more photo and quiet reflection before returning the blanket and its comfort to my darling mother-in-law. 

Although my father-in-law was frail, when he first became ill, he was still expected to recover sufficiently to return home. The blanket was made with that scenario in mind. The planning details can be found in previous posts (listed below).  
I am so thankful and satisfied that my design choices were appropriate and that the project has been meaningful for many. 

Ripple blanket hanging on the washing line, horizontal stripes of red, beige, blue and grey. 

The speedy ripple blanket served its purpose and is dear to many relatives as it has come to represent my father-in-law and this stage of his life. It symbolises the love that we all have for him.

It has been a difficult time but also a time full of love within my family.

Meanwhile the honey-eater family are excitedly chattering around me. 
Life continues. 
I turn to observe the abundant activity but am too slow–in the blink of an eye, the honey-eaters have flown.

The canopy of a hakea laurina tree flanked by a pittosporum.
The hakea laurina is now empty.

Thank goodness that the Speedy Ripple Blanket wasn't too slow!


Lion Brand, "Shaded Ripple Afghan" free crochet pattern #L0092AD:

Lupey Loops, "…But Wait…There's More!", blog entry,  4 February 2015:

Lupey Loops, "Speedy Blankets", blog entry, 18 Feb 2015:


  1. Hi, I left a comment but it then disappeared when I hit published so really sorry if I am repeating myself!! Your post really touched me, it was beautiful. How special to make something that meant so much to your father-in-law, then other family members and now to your mother-in-law. I often feel that I cannot do what I would like to do to help others with the restrictions Lupus places on my life so it is always extra special when there is something I can do. Take care. Sharon x

    1. Hi Sharon, thank you for your sweet sentiments. I totally understand that feeling about having something that we can do. I call it the 'social exchange' and it can be quite upsetting and frustrating when it gets out of balance. I much prefer to give than to receive so chronic illness has challenged me and taught me the importance of being able to receive and accept help gracefully but it is still important for me to be able to return the favour. How does one do that when restricted by illness and finances? Crochet has the benefit of creating useful items that I can give as a thank you. I also like to purchase little cards and small 'universal' gifts like small boxes of chocolates etc. Things that can show my appreciation to people but don't cost the earth and are not so extravagant that they offend or embarrass. I also make the effort to give the gift of a gentle, listening ear, so while I may not be able to drive and visit my friends, everyone is welcome in my home. What are your strategies to deal with this, Sharon?

  2. what a lovely post and tribute to your father-in-law. He was lucky to have you and your mother-in-law will be grateful to have the blanket back to remind her of her dear husband.

    1. Everyone commented on the blanket's attributes: so incredibly soft and warm.
      I think those tactile attributes match with their feelings about and for my father-in-law.
      As I was choosing the colours and making the blanket, I could picture in my mind's eye how it would look in my mother-in-law's home. I am glad it will match so that she can confidently display and use it in any room of the house.

  3. May your father-in-law's memory always be a blessing for you and your family, Jodie. Those connections between people and objects can be very comforting, and I'm sure that'll be the case for all of you with this blanket. Hugs xx

    1. Thank you Kaz, your hugs are appreciated.
      We are blessed to have his influence in the family. It was a beautiful and touching funeral service. His legacy is a family full of love and support. I am very privileged to have married into this family, the values of which he worked hard to create and maintain.
      He was a kind, intelligent and loving man. xx

  4. Replies
    1. Thank you Cheryl. Many hugs to you! xxx

  5. I am very sorry to hear of your father-in-laws passing! It is always a very hard time letting a loved one go. I am glad to hear, your blanket gave him comfort and joy. It will be a wonderful memory blanket for your family.

    1. Thank you, Anne. It was 'his time' and while we all wish he was still with us, we are grateful that he did not suffer for a long time as some people do. I like your term "memory blanket". It certainly is that. xx

  6. Wat een super deken :).

    Nu ik weet dat je toch Nederlandstalig bent (Makkelijker voor de vragen), ik was aan het twijfelen. Hier een nominatie voor de Liebster Award!

    Meer info (wat je al weet :p) op:

  7. Hehehe! Ja, ik weet wel op van de Liebster Awards!
    Dank je wel, Anne, om nog een Liebster Award aan mee te eren. Ik zal van de Liebster Award op jouw blog verder antwoorden!
    Die deken was heel snel om te haken.

    Thank you Anne for another nomination for a Liebster award! I will answer further on your blog:
    That blanket was very quick to make!

  8. What a beautiful blanket! I loved reading about your father-in-law. A lot of the time we don't realise the stories behind the creations that we see online. Thank you for sharing that! And thank you for your kind comment on my blog! xxx

    1. Thank YOU for taking time to say hello. I enjoy reading about your stories from the other side of the world. You do a great job of explaining the background to many activities of your own and of others around you. Mutual appreciation! :-) I love how craft can be so much more than just the motions of making something.