Bringing family together -- one stitch at a time

·3 min read

Dec. 23—If you're one of the lucky few, the Christmas stocking you hang over the fireplace mantel for Christmas may have been knitted by Dee Harrington of Lewiston.

The 86-year-old great-great-grandma said over the years she has knitted "hundreds of them."

"I have 15 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild and I've knitted them for nieces and nephews and friends," Harrington said as she worked on the final stocking Wednesday for this year's supply.

"Two of the stockings were even sent to Norway," she said.

Harrington, an avid knitter, said she didn't even begin to do needlework until she was in her 20s.

"I taught myself to knit when we moved to Oregon and that was about in 1959," she said. "I had a little booklet that I still have somewhere and it says how to knit, so that's how I taught myself."

At the time, Harrington was raising her three young sons and she began knitting articles of clothing for them.

"I've knit a lot of baby sweaters," she said. "I like to do baby things."

She has subscribed for years to a knitting company called "Annie's Hook and Needle Kit Club." Each month, Harrington said, she receives a kit from the club filled with patterns and materials for a new knitting project.

Her most recent knitting enterprise is an afghan she calls her "pandemic pacifier," made up of 30 blocks. She began the project a year ago in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and is continuing to work on it.

Harrington taught school in Kamiah for 30 years before retiring and moving to Lewiston in 2004. She owned a small house where her grandchildren lived while they were attending college and when they moved out, she moved in.

"Now I've moved to a condo, which is less work," she said.

Besides spending her time knitting, Harrington also likes to play bridge. She attends her church, Tammany View Baptist Church, and enjoys socializing with her friends there.

A few years ago, she and a friend traveled to Norway where they met up with a young couple who had been to the United States years ago. The Norwegian couple became acquainted with Harrington and her family and when they returned home, they took two of Harrington's knitted Christmas stockings. Later, when Harrington and her friend visited them in Norway, the couple reciprocated the hospitality and showed them the sights and what life in that country is like.

Two of her sons currently live in Kamiah. The third, her middle child, died in a river accident on the Selway River in 1976. Her husband died in 2002.

Harrington said Christmas is always a difficult time for remembering the loved ones who have passed on.

"It's been a long time but it's still sad," she said. "And I have friends that have lost children recently, so I can really have sympathy for them."

Yet, knitting her family Christmas stockings and giving them gifts brings her joy throughout the holidays.

"I love Christmas but each year I say I'm not going to get all stressed out about it," she said. "And here I am, knitting this last stocking. I've done (stockings) for all the little ones. These are for the wives of my grandsons and great-grandsons that didn't have a stocking and they want them."

Hedberg may be contacted at kathyhedberg@gmail.com or (208) 983-2326.

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