Archive | May, 2011

I have never knitted a jumper

But I will knit a jumper in 2011. Knitting a jumper feels like a rite of passage. When people who don’t knit find out I do knit they always ask me if I’ve knitted a jumper. ‘Not yet,’ I reply, ‘but I’ve knitted socks.’ They look at me sideways and change the subject.

I have started knitting jumpers previously and I have frogged them and sworn at them before they have been finished. Then gone back to knitting squares and rectangles (blanket patterns are your friends, they won’t let you down).

The bottom half of my neglected 'Neiman'.

In August last year I started the Neiman jumper and I finished in October last year. There were some holes around the colour patterning near the neck, where the yarn had been pulled too tight. It bugged me for ages and so I frogged back to the section before the holes. Then it was time for Christmas present knitting and I put it to one side. My excuse for not picking it up again was that it was too cold for a bamboo jumper.

It’s still on one side (my right hand side, at this moment in time) inside a project bag inside a cardboard box. I think about it when I long for a spring jumper. I think about it – and then decide I need to finish the present for x or the blanket for y. Well, enough is enough, I will finish this jumper this year. I am going to be a fearless knitter and a selfish knitter and tackle the scary colourwork yoke collar. I will finish it – and by putting that in writing on this blog I’m hoping that you’ll all hold me to it.

Now I’m off to finish knitting some socks.

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Up, up and away……..

Parachute Man

Crochet Graffiti from the sky!

Is it a bird?

Is it a plane?

No its parachute man…..

(A light hearted bit of fun, I’m feel a little bad with my post following such a beautiful one;-()

Where oh where will he land.

I think he may just pop in to the outcasts head quarters, AkA Jelly and have a cup o tea and a slice of cake.

The 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month.

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Why I want to teach my (grand)children to knit

I taught myself to crochet and to knit when I was a child and again as an adult.  This is a post about my needlecraft heritage, stretching back generations, that I was barely even aware of.

Both of my grandmas were accomplished knitters.  Brown Grandma (my Mum’s mum) made me several cardigans when I was small that I dress my daughter in.

My old cardigan on my baby

Blue Grandma (my Dad’s mum) made me a pair of socks when I was a teenager that I still wear for comfort on cold nights.  I’d like to say I learned the craft from my Grandmas, but I didn’t.  I remember Brown Grandma helping me with knitting one rainy day in Weymouth when I was teaching myself from a book, I was probably about 10, but that’s about all I remember of either of them actually passing on their knitting know-how.  In fact, I don’t even remember seeing them knit.  I wish they were still here to pass on their wisdom to me.  I don’t think they thought there was anything that special in what they were doing.  I don’t have a sense of the generations of my family practising and handing down their craft.  Yet here are a couple of pictures of my great-great-grandma in Brazil doing crochet (my first love).

Great-great-grandma Frisbee

My great-grandma, who I just about remember, made amazing lace.  I remember having to ascend the two flights of stairs in Blue Grandma’s town house to kiss her goodbye when we went to visit.  The room was dark green as was the velvet upholstery and the room seemed to be covered in lace (my imagination might have embellished it over the years) but I had no idea she’d made it until a few years ago.  Nan would be sat in a high-back chair in the corner with her prickly chin commanding me to kiss her before I could leave.  I was terrified of her!

Recently I came into possession of some things from this side of the family which are particularly special which made me miss a connection with this crafting heritage even more.  It’s 20 years since Blue Grandma died.  My Dad’s an only child and not that interested in textiles but kept all her old knitting and sewing stuff in a cupboard somewhere and passed it all on to me a couple of months ago.  There are all sorts of treasures.  Scores of old knitting needles, some of which would have been her mother’s and maybe even her grandmother’s.  An amazing old sewing box again filled with two or three generations worth of paraphanelia.  Paper bags from habadashery shops that must be 60 or 70 years old with plain old poppers in, old thread, a thimble sent back from Brazil, old lozenge tins full of pins, a darning mushroom, ancient packets of needles…  The mundane, the every day, the useful stuff.  Wonderful as it is to have the gifts both my Grandmas made for me, it’s somehow even more exciting to have the things used to make them.

Which brings me to what touched me most in the things my Dad gave me.  An unfinished blanket and an unfinished cardigan in Grandma’s project bag that she made and embroidered herself when, my Dad thinks, she was a teenager.  I don’t know who the blanket was for but the cardigan was certainly something my Grandma intended for herself.  I love that she was knitting for herself at the last, knitting for nothing but her own pleasure.  The magazine was recent and folded open at the right page, I’ve got the bag from the wool shop in Torrington she purchased the yarn from with extra balls, it’s still on the needle – the empty one tucked into the knitting where she popped it down.  She was only 68 when she died.  I never got to share my knitting with her but having her unfinished projects in my hands makes me feel, for the first time, like she has shared her knitting with me.

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