In an effort to resurrect this site, on the day after Mother’s Day 2016, I’d like to post about a gift from my own mother that surprised me beyond means.
My mother was the own who taught me how to knit, and the one who still encourages me to fulfill what has become a life’s passion. She’ll still, at 86 years old, ask what I’m working on, and wants to know all about the yarns and patterns even though she herself has stopped knitting.
During a visit to her home she totally threw me for a loop, by emerging from the spare bedroom closet with two sets of needles, and without much ado or ceremoniousness (is that a word?) she presented me with the 2 pairs of needles and said, “These belonged to your Grandmother Emily and I thought you’d like to have them.”
Um, excuse me, you mean dad’s mom’s needles? She simply replied “Yes”. For me? Again simply “Yes”.
My grandmother Emily Frances Menton Lynch was born in 1899, and passed in 1960, when I was just 5 years old. I don’t have any vivid memories of her of my own. I know she lived in Astoria, Queens, NY where my dad grew up and I faintly remember trips to visit her. But I may be just wishfully imagining that I remember.
The thought of holding her needles in my hands, let alone being able to knit something with them, made my heart sing. Here I was reaching back into the past to imagine what could she have knit with these needles. Baby bonnets, little cardigans, maybe mittens for all her grandchildren, maybe even for me.
A pair of size 2 1/2mm Phantoms from England and a pair of size 3 Champions from Canada.
Knowing how I love old things, old patterns especially, these needles will have new life, only now knitting for my grandchildren, Emily’s great great grandchildren.
I love you Mom, thanks for saving these for me.
Testing to see if there’s life here
I came to Florida for a vacation, to get away from quite possibly the coldest dreariest New York winters I can remember. I came to visit my parents, sister, brother, and their families. I came to get time off from my job, to change the everyday routine. I came to get out of boots, gloves, hats, scarves, and heavy coats. I came to get a little sense of flip flop freedom.
Leaving New York in yet another snow storm and landing in Ormond Beach’s 77 degrees felt like I not just flew to another state, but another planet. Here was the sun shining, lush green growing, warmth I needed.
In an effort to be outside in the sunshine, my sister suggested we visit a Native American Festival that was being held on the grounds of The Casements, John D. Rockefeller’s family winter home on the Halifax River. I have been to The Casements before and enjoyed the history and the beautiful views. So to fill my lungs with fresh air and get much needed sunshine on my face, and enjoy the views, off we went.
It was much as expected, many Native Americans proud of their heritage, and proud to be sharing it with all those interested. I particularly enjoyed seeing the very young children carrying on the traditional dances. There were many jewelry, pottery and clothing vendors and historical displays. Really the kind of outing I enjoy.
Then at the very end of the festival, sat a woman weaving. She was selling some belts, blankets and demonstrating her craft. My fiber magnet of course drew me in. But it was the tidbit of history about some small items she was selling that intrigued me.
She had a pile of simply sewn bags, with drawstring ties. On top of the pile was a piece of wood acting as a weight so they wouldn’t blow away. On the piece of wood was handwritten “Possibles Bags”.
I learned that Possibles Bags have been used by many Native American tribes, traders, mountain men also, to carry whatever could possibly be needed for the day’s hunt or to hold personal items for their nomadic lifestyles. They were made in various sizes and from many different materials.
Of course, I saw these as “Works in Progress Bags”. The bags that I keep my projects in that are currently being worked on. They hold the yarn, needles or hooks and patterns, and whatever is possibly needed to complete the project.
It struck me that these small bags I tuck my projects into indeed hold the possible. The things I am working on, to make possible. They hold my dreams, my visions. So now I’m changing what I call my project bags to “Possibles Bags”, because they hold whatever I could possibly need and because I still believe anything is possible.
History, leave yourself open to learn from it, in every possible way.
A week ago Sunday, I ventured out and off this island to get into the city (the only city that can be referred to as just the city, NYC of course) and had the pleasure of participating in a class given by Franklin Habit at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, “Working with Vintage and Antique Patterns”.
If you are in any way interested, or just curious, about learning more about the history of hand knitting, I would highly recommend that you take this class, and get to meet the knowledgeable and thoroughly likable Mr. Habit. It was also my first visit to the Lion Brand Yarn Studio, which I truly enjoyed. All the yarns are cleverly yet neatly displayed making a feast for a yarn lovers eyes. The selection was huge, plus the new Martha Stewart and the LB Collection yarns are to die for!
During the class Franklin introduced us to the collected works of Jane Gaugain, an Edinburgh shop keeper, who sparked a Victorian age knitting revolution. We even got to swatch a piece from one of her patterns, a leaf block utilizing a surprising amount of knitting techniques for such a small square bit of knitting.There was so much more, I can’t even begin to tell you. I left with a newly sparked imagination and the need to get serious about researching the patterns I have collected and getting them organized.
I am not going to admit how many years, but I have been collecting “oldie” knitting treasures for quite some time now, both knit and crochet, books and patterns ranging mostly from the 1930′s through the 1970′s (the latter ones are mine, bought back then). So, I have an interest in the past and learning from what others have learned before us.
There are times I feel I have a real connection with the past, when my hands just do something when I am knitting or crocheting, without any conscious effort. Like some sort of saved past life experience, or memory that my hands just know how to do.
My only recreation from an antique pattern was from my oldest treasure, The Art of Crocheting, published by The Butterick Publishing Co. in 1891.
I adapted the Crocheted Shoulder Cape shown above for my daughter’s first communion day.
Looking back on this now, I wish I had taken notes while doing it. You know what they say “Hindsight is always 20/20″.
Live & learn, from now on I will be taking notes on any re-dos of antique or vintage patterns.
There are so many patterns out there that have just been waiting for curious knitters and or crocheters to re-discover.
So be brave and not afraid to experiment and try working up something from an “old” resource.
In just glancing through some Needlecraft magazines in my collection, I found an adaption of the block we worked in class.
Click to download below & then again at top of next page.
Leaf & Diamond Bedspread block 1919
If you can’t download this – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it to you.
Happy Holiday Knitting, Crocheting, Spinning………
I’m turning over a new leaf before the new year rears its ugly head and resolutions begin to pile up like all of my unread emails that have been saved for longer than I would like to admit.
I have granted a Thanksgiving gift and given myself complete and total personal email absolution. Just think, with a few highlights and a few clicks …..viola ……
Mind clearing, stress busting freedom, get out of jail free, and get on with your life, instead of worrying about what I may have missed.
New Year’s resolutions come & get me.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
So….. um, yeah, OK …. I was wrong…. there I said it, I admit it. Wow, what a relief to get that out of my head.
Really, these past months of “disconnection” has kind of made me feel like my brain was about to explode.
Let me explain, even though I have not been blogging about my knitting, spinning & crocheting, I have been indeed working at them, & everything has been stored in this new area of my brain created after I decided to step back for a while.
Seems I have created a temporary cache folder, so to speak, in the back of my head, and this folder is named “stuff I could or should be blogging about”. Well, the folder is somewhat overflowing & it is giving me a headache trying to keep what’s in it from not falling out of the back of my head & leaving a big messy trail behind me.
So where to begin in order to catch up?
I had thought I would just review my phone’s pictures folder and thereby have an accurate date order of pictures of my work. But I upgraded from a BB (which I very much disliked) to an awesome HTC android thunderbolt (which I love). In the move I am certain that some pictures were lost, so I have had to do a lot of backtracking to be sure I did not miss anything.
I am going to post pictures of only the finished projects instead of listing all the WIPs, because then things would really get out of hand.
Taste of Aran Afghan knitted for my very special niece in Cascade 220 Super Wash.
Super easy bathroom rug, crocheted using two strands of Lily Sugar & Cream cotton held together, so it worked up super fast. Plus the thickness makes it nice & cushy under your feet.
Hooded Baby Aran Sweaters – completed two. One went to an office mate who just had a beautiful baby girl, and the other is remaining “in stock” until needed.
Scarf & mitts knitted for a fore mentioned niece now going to FSU, hence the school colors.
More pictures to come when I have more time. That’s enough for now….I still have to spinning to get to.
Ever seem to feel overwhelmed with keeping up with all the ” cyberosity” of knitting that has filled the web? Not that it’s a bad thing in any way at all, but being connected to so many yarn companies e-mails, internet sites, blogs, podcasts, Ravelry, FB & Twitter to seemingly keep up with all that’s constantly new in the knitting world, has well kind of got me on overload.
Now, I never in a million years thought this would happen to me, but being sucked into this technology driven vortex has left me with a bit of an odd feeling. I am in the process of trying to learn more by participating in a Social Media Boot Camp offered thru Artfire.com.
Often when the fast paced demands of life have forced me to put down my knitting, I invariably wind up wondering why I feel not like myself.
Now this feeling has extended to time spent on Google Reader, reading emails, FB, etc… It is definitely turning into my hands on some sort of keyboard instead of my hands on my crafts. So with only two hands & limited amounts of free time, my dilemma is deepening.
In an effort to chisel out time for myself & for my crafts, knitting, crocheting, spinning, I have tried to cut things out of my life that I do not find as rewarding.
So I am consciously making an effort to walk away from the “connectivity”, so I can reconnect with what brings me joy.
I would be interested in hearing how others feel about this & how they deal with dividing free time between their actual crafting & time spent connecting in this faster paced digital world.
May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May God fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
I am so lucky to have stopped into a lovely local yarn store today. If you ever get a chance to visit the Daytona, FL area make sure to get to “She Sells Yarn” on South Beach Street in Daytona Beach.
It was a great way to spend a little bit of time on a rainy Florida morning talking about projects and making new Ravelry friends.
I snagged a lovely bag of hand dyed merino to spin up when I get back to NY in my favorite color —green Who would have thought that you would be able to find spinning fibers while on vaycay in FL? But this cute store had a variety of fibers that are dyed my a local artist, “Weelamb Creations”. Whatta ya think? If I left the merino out by my mom’s garden gnome would it be spun in the morning?
I also treated myself to a skein of luscious hand painted sock yarn. Heritage by Cascade Yarns in #9826,a blue, fuchsia & of course green combo. I can NOT resist buying sock yarn…..so sorry family folks this will lead to more hand made Christmas socks.
The minute I saw these gloves in the Fall/Winter 2010 Piecework , I knew I was going to try to make them. They just looked so gorgeous and even though I can not fathom where or when I would be able to wear them, it doesn’t matter. I will find a time & place for them. I basically wanted them in my life.
Oh, and they must be the same color as shown in Piecework, RED. No shy away red, but right in your face RED. This way they will draw all the attention that they so rightly deserve.
Luckily I had a willing yarn candidate in my stash, Phildar’s Chambord in ROUGE, lace wt, 70/30 acrylic/wool blend. Great color with a nice twist. Too bad they don’t make this yarn any more.
I worked up a swatch on the suggested size 0 needles, and was quite pleased with myself when I thought I had gotten the suggested gauge.
So off I went merrily following the pattern not ever thinking that the size might not work out for me. After all—- I “thought” I got gauge.
Well I finished the cuff and on to the increases for the thumb gore. Knit knit knit, the color is so pretty, & the pattern is an easier than you might think 4 row repeat.
It wasn’t until I slipped the thumb sts onto a holder did the thought come to me, perhaps the one size of this adapted pattern from the “How to Use Florence Knitting Silk No.4″ would not render me an especially well-fitted mitten as the Piecework article described.
So, yes, I pulled it off the size 0 needles, and tried it on my hand. Insert BIG SIGH, yep, it is too big. Seems I had NOT gotten the suggested gauge
Granted I think that back in the 1880′s this type of garment may have been utilized as an over mitt. Perhaps to be worn over other not so fancy ordinary gloves, and in that case, they needed to be somewhat large to cover on top of plain mitts, & to go over the sleeve cuffs of a coat.
Well this is not how I wish to use them, so seems I am off on an antique knitting adventure of my own.
Now I have always been intrigued by older patterns, & I have been collecting some over the years, but have only copied one.
For my first daughters’ communion, I crocheted a child’s size version of a tiered cape from a very old book of crocheted patterns. I have to get out to my studio and find this book so I can add the title to this post. I should really see if I can find a picture of my daughter in it to add here as well, but it always seems as though I am doing the posty thing at the last minute when I should really be doing something else….
Now I don’t have the original pattern from the “How to Use Florence Knitting Silk No. 4″, so working from the Piecework adaptation, I figured I would have to eliminate 2 of the 9 st lace pattern repeats.
So I have cast on 64 sts to start over, but I am not taking back the first mitten just yet. I want to use it as a comparison as I go along.
So my Red Rule No. 24 mitten has been thrown into the ring!
I love a challenge, even when it is just an imagined challenge, that I have challenged myself to.