All Knitting Has a Story

Filed in Industry Insight, Out of Our Head by on September 28, 2015 0 Comments

Sometimes things come up in bunches and it’s a reminder to pay more attention. For me right now, that thing is the intersection of history and knitting.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend sent me the link to this article from 4 years ago. I can’t believe I missed it at the time. I immediately ordered the book Donna Druchunas mentioned, Black Lambs and Grey Falcons: Women Travelling in the Balkans, and I just got the notice that it has shipped from a book dealer. I’m so excited to read it. It is going right along with my study of Bishop Rutt’s History of Handknitting and my current UFO, the gorgeous Secret Garden by Alice Starmore. I’m finishing this piece in the hope that my little Granddarling will be able to wear it this winter. This particular UFO was started a very long time ago for a little girl I loved who turned 15 yesterday. I made good progress on it back in 2003 or so, but didn’t finish in time for her to fit into it, then she got too big and I put it away. When I pulled it out of hiding, everything looked fine, with no damage or anything to indicate its long hibernation.  It’s a wonderful pattern and I love that Alice Starmore’s pieces always have a story. This one will go to my little one with a copy of the classic children’s book of the same name for her future library. In spite of how long it’s taken me to complete this particular project, I love that the sweater itself now has a story.

Literature, history and story really excite me when it comes to knitting, I suppose because I feel connected to women and men who came before me who combined providing for their families with creativity and resourcefulness. I suppose I still secretly harbor a fantasy to be a simple farmer in the country and make and grow everything from scratch. My dad was a farm kid and he often made his childhood seem a LOT more interesting than my humdrum suburban life. I fully understand the effort and strength this would require and don’t think it will ever happen, so reading about people in the past who made it work is very interesting and satisfying to me. I suppose it’s really that I just love understanding the full pathway from the beginning to the end of the things I knit, and it always totally excites me to be part of keeping old things alive. I fancy that perhaps I’m possibly infusing them with new energy by interpreting them for the modern world.


To that end, I’m putting the finishing touches on a new design in the Fair Isle style of knitting. It will be a tablet cozy for your favorite mobile device, sizeable and made of Elemental Affects’ amazing American Shetland. Jeane sent me a gorgeous assortment of colors and I’ve had such fun swatching and designing a new Fair Isle-inspired color pattern just for this project. A venerable old technique to your latest technology, and you get to knit it! In addition, this week I’ll be chatting with the amazing Beth Brown-Reinsel about historical knitting and I’m kind of giddy about it.

Our topic for October over at Eduknit is Stranded Knitting, a style that is closely connected to several types of ethnic and traditional knitting. If you’re not already a member, consider joining up. If you choose the monthly plan, you can give us a try and unsubscribe any time, and if you choose the yearly plan, you’ll save $20 over the course of the year! Plus, every month you get a coupon for a free pattern from our Ravelry shop, a $6.00 value. It’s a lot of education and great resources for a low price.

What’s the story of your current project?



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