I design...I knit...I rock out to my favorite tunes while doing so...and in the end something usually gets created.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Knitting for Victory: A Few Historical Poems.

I recently found this poem about knitting and fell in love with it, and so I thought I would share it with you along with a few odds and ends on historical knitting. It's circa 1918 and taken from C. Fox Smith's, Sailor Town.  Here is a great online collection of old ballads and poems also, link.


In streets that are humming
   With the city's stair...
Or where leaves fall rustling
   Through the quiet air...
There are women knitting

Knitting and waiting
   Through hours like years—
Not with loud grieving
   Nor' sighing nor tears—
In their hands the needles
   Flash like spears.

Every thread a sorrow,
   Every strand a prayer—
("Oh, where sleeps my dear one?
   Or how does he fare ? ")
There are women knitting
   Everywhere... “The Knitters” From, Sailor Town: Sea Songs and Ballads by C. Fox Smith

While we may knit for recreation today, knitting was once a vital part of the war effort during WWI. Many men, and children even, knit to help supplement the clothing being sent overseas. The shear number of knitted articles turned out by the Red Cross is hard to imagine. One fort received 2,488 mufflers and 43,547 pairs of socks during February alone of 1918. The simple fact was, everyone knitted. In May 1918 one school bulletin printed this patriotic knitting song:
Johnnie, get your yarn, get your yarn, get your yarn;
Knitting has a charm, has a charm, has a charm,
See us knitting two by two,
Boys in Seattle like it too.
Hurry every day, don’t delay, make it pay.
Our laddies must be warm, not forlorn mid the storm.
Hear them call from o’re the sea,
‘Make a sweater, please for me.’
Over here everywhere,
We are knitting for the boys over there,
It’s a sock or a sweater, or even better
To do your bit and knit a square.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Humble Beginnings

A few assorted weeks ago I bought three lovely skeins of Debbie Bliss Rialto in steel. I had originally purchased it for a shawlette knit-a-long that I was leading ...and it was quickly frogged. There was nothing wrong with the pattern, in fact I loved the pattern, but it was not worthy of my yarn. I know I know, I'm a cheap knitter and 100% merino is a luxury. So here I am with a small heap of kinky yarn that I love but won't commit to a project. You see the problem with three skeins of lovely yarn is that you can't make very much with it.

*Cast on, frog, cast on, frog* repeat from * to *.

I must have tried at least ten different projects (probably more) since my original cast on and I think the yarn was beginning to hate me. Every time I passed by my project tote I saw it sticking out, mocking me. Use me already, 'ya wuss. Commit to something. Anything!

I feel like I need to give a little bit more background before I continue with the "Rialto Saga". I like complex patterns. I love garments, and shaping, and new techniques. And I love lace. If I find myself questioning my sanity for choosing it I know that I have found a "keeper". I am a knitting masochist. And so, not just any pattern would do for my Rialto.

Fast forward to the present and take a peek into the dark recesses of my project tote and what will you find? A simple, scarf. Plain moss stitch with no edge, no insertion, no maddening charts or pain-inducing focus required. It dawned on me that for all of the complexity of knitting, sometimes it's just better to go back to basics, the familiar stitches you botched when you first learned them. And you know what, my humble scarf kicks ass. It's true. So next time you're scouring your stash of patterns looking for "the one" maybe you'll think back to the simple stitches.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Spring is in sight!

My latest design! Athena Tunic, cables, shaping, darts around the neck line, so easy you can knit it in your sleep. Design coming soon to Ravelry.

2/24/11 Update: I had originally planned on this pattern being a Rav download and in then in print at local shops (fingers crossed), but I have decided to release it as free download for the first 50 projects (Oooo shinny). It should be out and in the world of knitting by the end of March.