Irish Sweater

In Attire

My great grandmother Anna Downing moved from County Kerry to Rhode Island at age sixteen. Though far from home, she would knit traditional Irish sweaters, with symbolic stitches that could tell a story to anyone who knew how to read them. She wove a familial tradition of life on the sea into cable stitches, good luck wishes to fishermen. She wove stitches that might depict landscapes, or honeycombs, a symbol of hard labor. She was an American, who wore the traditions of a foreign land on her back.             I am too young to remember Anna. I cannot ask her all of the hundreds of questions I have about her life, and I cannot recall the tremendous love that she is said to have held in her heart. But I have her sweaters, and in this way, I am able to keep her, and Ireland, with me. 

Place(s): Ireland,Rhode Island

– Brighidnora Gutch

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more