Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My knitting history... the newer early years.

In the early 90s I got the bug to knit again. A friend at church, Myra, really taught me to knit. I decided I wanted to do a sweater. Myra picked the "Circumnavigate a Cardigan" by Meredith Glover as the pattern because she said it was an awesome teaching pattern. It was.

This cool pattern starts at the the bottom of the body. You knit on and make it real wide, then you fold over for pockets and knit down for the bottom band. Then starting at the top of the pockets, you knit up to the neckline, then pick up stitches and knit the raglan sleeves out. Then you pick up the band around the front and knit in the button holes. Only 3 or 4 ends to work in. Sew on buttons and you are done. No joining of pieces required. It used a chunky yarn so it went pretty quickly.

It was also my first time knitting on circular needles (which you have to do even if not knitting in the round, since the work weighs so much and you would have trouble supporting the weight on straight needles.... now I know why grandma always knit afghans in strips).
Here is the finished sweater. It's a bit out of style to wear out of the house, but it is the warmest sweater I own (wool, of course) and I wear it to keep warm in the winter!

The most important thing I learned from Myra was how to tear back and fix mistakes. By recognizing the patterns of bumps and smooth sides, you could tell what you had done. Counting stitches, recognizing twisted or wrong stitches, all that stuff. By the time I finished that sweater, I felt ready for anything!

Story continued tomorrow...

My knitting history.. the earliest years

OK. Yawn. Boring. But this is the history of where I began with knitting.

My Gram Shaler taught me to knit. (this would be the Grandma in pictures last month) I think she taught all the grandkids to knit...even the boys (but I would need a grandson to confirm that). We had to do the "slippers" I haven't found a pattern like the slippers we made, but they were not too dissimilar from this one:

I think mine were blue, for some reason.

Grandma also made every grandchild an afghan. Marcel pattern (like this Afghan that I believe Gram made for Dad and Jan).

You got to pick your own colors. For some reason, I picked purple (curse the 70s), so I have a lovely purple afghan and it is in a different pattern than she usually did. It's well done, but doesn't really match the decor in any of my rooms. Here it is:

One more afgahn from Gram. In the late 80s/early 90s, I wanted an afghan I could use in my home that matched. She was willing to do it if I bought the supplies. This is the pattern she chose... she didn't want to do a marcel pattern again. I guess Crocheting was easier for her. So this is a lovely "Rose Ripple" afghan. I have the pattern for this one. Great late 80s colors, eh?

I treasure each one of these afghans that my Gram made. Each is special to me, even if the colors are not ones I would chose today.

One last bit of info from my early knitting. At some point I got this pattern book. 35 cents and published in 1968. Thought I'd share since it is a lovely piece of nostalgia. I have notes in the book, but I never made anything from it.

Gram taught me the "American" style of knitting... hold the loose yarn in your right hand and loop it over the needle with a swish of your hand. This is how I'm trying to teach my girls now, too. I now knit "continental" style where the loose yarn is in your left hand and you kind of grab it with the needle and pull it through. But that is a story for another day. I never saw gram knit anything other than afghans, slippers and washcloths. I wish I had gotten a pair of her needles (did she have anything other than a size 8? Either pink or blue metal.) when she died, but that didn't happen. I also have the pattern for knit washcloths written out from her on a scrap of an envelope. That's a pretty cool thing to still have.

Once in high school I got this bright idea I was going to knit a sweater coat. I got a pattern and all the yarn (It was expensive, I recall). It was bright colors with wide stripes. Not sure what happened to that, but I never finished it and no longer have the pattern. And then the itch to knit lay dormant for many years...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In spring a young girl's fancy turns to...


Yep. It's happened the past two springs. The weather gets warmer, and I get the itch to knit. I'm not sure I understand it. Is it a Norwegian instinct to start new woolens for the next winter before it arrives? I don't know. Seems odd. But it is happening again.

I have joined so I can have an on-line knitting community. I am nancyscraps there because... well... nancyknits was taken. Plus I am nancyscraps on several of my other on-line presences.

I have pulled out all my projects to take stock and re-prioritize. I am actually proud of myself that I don't hoard yarn (I do have that problem with scrapping supplies, but not with yarn). I hoard knitting patterns, however, and have several patterns and books sitting in queue waiting for other projects to finish up so I can buy yarn for them.

I have 4 projects on needles right now. A hat, two different socks, and a sweater. I have two project "mid needle".. that is... I have finished the first mitten of each project and need to start the second mitten. So six projects. I should wish for that few unfinished scrap projects.

For some reason, I decided to blog over the next few days about knitting... Guess the scrapper in me wants to write it all down. It's on my mind.

OK. Yeah. And I need topics for my blog. I was looking at my blog entries from two years ago and I was very impressed with my writing and topic selection back then. Lately I obviously haven't thought of any blog-worthy topics. My apologies to those who may have been keeping up with me by blog...that obviously hasn't been working. Try facebook, ok?