It pays to ask the right questions. All this time I thought I inherited my love for knitting solely from my maternal grandmother, who was heavy into crochet, tatting, quilting, sewing, and did some knitting, too, although mom tells me that crochet was more Grandma's thing. While at Mom & Dad's house for Thanksgiving on Thursday, however, I found out that my paternal grandmother was a crazy-busy knitter herself, so much so that she earned a medal for it.
Grandmére, as we called her, was born & raised in France. She met my grandfather, (Grandpére, as we called him, although he was American born), when he was sent to Paris as an Army 2nd Lieutenant and put in charge of airplane procurement during WWI. As Grandmére described it, airplane procurement was like discovering the West -- there were no airplane factories in the 'teens. "Procurement" was a matter of finding small firms who would manufacture one part or another and getting these parts together until they made a plane. Grandmére had taken a position in the building assigned to that job, which is how she met my grandfather. They married & honeymooned in France in March of 1919 and moved to the U.S. after the war.
Later, during early WWII, but before American involvement, Grandmére led the local British war relief efforts in their Indiana town. My dad remembers her "knitting, knitting, knitting" all the time. And lo and behold, I found this photo of her yesterday, which warmed my heart:
Check it out -- even though she hailed from the Continent, she was a thrower -- I'm so glad to see that, since I'm a thrower, too. Perhaps that was in honor of the Brits she was knitting for....
Later, after the war, she was recognized for her efforts:
I don't know if she ever did receive the actual medal, but no matter. I'm pleased and proud of her all the same, and am thrilled that I come by my newfound love of knitting honestly!