By Robin Sweeney
Do you ever wonder what it would be like to have a family member who was also a knitter, someone who could help you with patterns, shop with you, and, best of all, just hang out and knit with you? Beverly and Jennifer Linnane are just such a pair, a mother/daughter team. This Member Spotlight features Bev, the mother of this talented duo.
Bev has been a member of the GBKG for about 3 years, but has been knitting for a lot longer. Her mother tried to teach her to knit when she was in junior high school, but she really didn’t get into it. However, when she attended nursing school, everyone was knitting so she
picked it up again. She said they had downtime and would work on socks and “other crazy things.” When she would
come home from nursing school, she enjoyed knitting with her mother and said her mother was an excellent knitter. Her mother knit until the very end of her life, and Bev felt it was good for her since she would knit even with her illnesses.
Bev’s favorite things to knit are for children, because they are quickly done and you are not knitting forever on one thing. After she retired from nursing and the grueling schedule of working 40-50 hours a week for a plastic surgeon, she looked for something to do and started a business, “Rabbit Hollow,” that featured handknits from infant to 6 years. She sold her wares at multiple shows, including a
huge annual show in Connecticut. Sometimes she would bring 100 sweaters plus stuffed animals and come back with next to nothing. It doesn’t sound like much of a retirement to some people but Bev said she enjoyed it and made some money, although not an outrageous amount. When asked about her customers, she said it was grandmothers who were crazy about their new grandchild and wanted to give them something handknit but didn’t knit themselves. Then the next year they would come back for a toddler, and something for Christmas, and their birthdays, then siblings would arrive. Some people came back year after year—talk about a loyal following! The company has been in business for 12 years and is still going, although at a much slower pace and no more shows due to the amount of preparation it took for them.
In addition to knitting, Bev’s grandmother loved to quit and taught her how to quilt too. She remembers starting out by cutting scraps from fabric for her mother to use in her quilts. Smart woman! Bev is still an avid quilter, and the stunning Baltimore Album quilt hanging behind her during Knit Chat sessions is a testament to her skill. She meets regularly with other quilters and goes on retreats with a dozen special friends a couple of times a year. Bev is also a rug hooker, and says she is blessed to have three Collections to curate.
With an inspiration like her mother, it is no surprise that Bev wanted to teach her daughter Jen to knit. But just like her mother, Jen was only “sort of” interested in learning how to knit when she was in high school. While she says she eventually taught Jen some things, she is mostly a self-taught knitter. (Stay tuned for Jen’s story for the next member spotlight!) Bev made some sweaters for Jen in high school and college and now Jen has made some things for her which she finds delightful. The benefits of a mother/daughter team are to have someone to exchange ideas with, but mostly it is the joy of sitting together and knitting. While Jen is still working and travels quite a bit, they still grab the time when they can to knit together. Bev especially enjoys seeing the colors Jen chooses, the funky clothing or off-the-wall patterns she picks and seeing what she does with them. She is impressed with how great Jen looks in whatever she makes. Bev’s philosophy is, “The joy is in the journey” so whether it is a quick baby knit or a more challenging knit, it is fun thing to do, especially if you are doing it with a beloved family member.