About Me

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Five years into widowhood, after one year of incredible happiness and nearly 14 years of single blessedness. Have given up perfect manicures and pretty hands in order to resume playing the soprano recorder and to see if I can figure out how to play bluegrass banjo. Singing in the shower. Still really, *really* love to knit!

Sunday, February 03, 2008

My Own Knitting Trip down Memory Lane

This post was inspired by a recent post of Angeluna's. Sorry, am having trouble figuring out how to do links with Firefox.

I commented as follows: “Holy cow, woman! What a lovely excursion through time, and learning, you've given us. We started knitting about the same age. I just wanted to do Barbie stuff until I was fourteen or fifteen. And I had the same dismal luck with yarn shops that you did, until then. My first FO was a sleeveless Aran dress in oiled wool that scratched like fury. I had nobody to tell me how inappropriate that was for something that was to be worn next to the skin. Or how awful it would smell when wet!”

So, there was that beautifully-knit and utterly unwearable dress, long since vanished in a move, or perhaps foisted off on some other unsuspecting soul during a periodic closet cleanout. Several Barbie sweaters that were too long, because I knit so loosely and the local stores did not carry needles fine enough for me to knit on gauge. A black and cobalt and royal purple argyle vest for First Hubby. I don’t know if he still has that one. But he does still have the Aran sweater in a soft tweedy oatmeal color that I made for him. He keeps it wrapped in tissue paper in a drawer and wears it ceremoniously once or twice each winter.

How do I know this? Because he showed it to me eight years ago, when I visited him after 26 years of estrangement. I will have to see if he can send me a picture to share with you. I knitted another Aran sweater for the girls’ father, which got worn to death and may still be lurking in his closet. Not interested in calling him to ask if he still has it; sorry, you’ll just have to use your imaginations. I gave him the yarn in a box for our first Christmas, when we were living on the GI bill and he was getting his MBA. I think I finished it either the next fall or the winter after that, when we had moved to Texas.

My favorite sweater that I made for myself was bright red [of course], knitted up from Harrisville Shetland that I washed and wound into cakes to take out the sizing so beloved of handweavers. It had I-cord snakes slithering up from the bottom, in two shades of yellow, and tiny yellow square buttons. I gave it away when I got temporarily skinny, twelve years ago, and now I wish that I still had it. I only hope that somebody with an equally quirky sense of humor bought it at the thrift store and wears it on a day when she needs a little cheering up.

I knitted a sweater for my first post-second-divorce boyfriend [I couldn’t think of a more elegant way to express that], *after* I broke up with him, because we remained friends. It was knitted up from super-bulky yarn that I spun from Welsh pencil roving that I either bought from Jacqueline Fee or from somebody she told me about.

I made these tabards for the girls for Christmas, the first year that their father was in chiropractic school.

Each one has a unique pattern, so there would be no squabbling over whose was whose. Here is a detail. This is the largest one, so it belonged either to Firstborn or Secondborn:

We didn’t have LittleBit yet, so there are only four of them, and one has gone missing over the years. [One of the tabards, I mean; not one of the girls. Oye.]

Here is another; I don’t know if it was Middlest’s or Fourthborn’s, as they were the same size despite being two years apart in age.

The yarn is Brown Sheep’s Lamb’s Pride, and I chose Aran patterning because I’d just bought the Alice Starmore book and because the yarn was slightly overtwisted, and the slanting stitches of stockinette did not please me. Here is a detail of the preceding tabard:

These are a soft cranberry in color, in spite of what you see on the monitor, and each girl had a white turtleneck to go under it. This is the third surviving tabard:

And a detail:

That was also the season when “baby cord” was so popular. I made them each a skirt in fine-wale corduroy in what the designers called jade green. We were poor as Job’s turkey, so no photos of them dressed in their Christmas finery. I remember how pleased I was that we had enough money that I could buy them new turtlenecks at Wal-Mart.


Bonnie said...

I remember those sweaters. We all loved them. I know that you were only mentioning your knitting accomplishments in this post, but my absolute favorite things that you made were the T-dresses and the "Cinderella" dress you made for me that was blue with a flower print. It had crinoline and little tiny roses at each of the gathers and it went clear up to my waist when I spun in circles (which is very exciting for a little girl, but not so appropriate for me now).

Lynn said...

I will have to see if I can find those pictures of you girls in your T-dresses when we went up to Sis' house for Dad's 80th and I was pregnant with Fourthborn.

That dress that I made for you was the kind of thing that I thought I'd be making for each of you girls. It was a Daisy Kingdom pattern, but I didn't use DK fabric because I couldn't afford it. Instead I used leftover fabric from the bolts I bought wholesale to make T-dresses.

That was a good summer. I paid off half of our consumer debt with the labors of my hands.

punkin said...

Beautiful knitting!

Jenni said...

I loved our T-dresses. I am still jealous of her Cinderella dress. Mostly because I was "too old" for one. Rude, she always gets everything cool! And yes I am proud that at almost 30 I can still pout like a five year old and proudly proclaim, "She's looking at me funny!"

Rorek said...

I remember those Christmas outfits. Only vaguely though. It amazes me sometimes, the things that you are an were able to do. I never cease to be impressed by your creative skills.

Lynn said...

I'll give you all day to stop saying nice things like that :)

Jerry said...

Beautiful sweaters, I hope that someday I will have your skills. Thanks for the inspiration

Lynn said...

Jerry, you think you don't? You're kidding, right? I've seen that stuff that comes flying off your needles!

Where are my manners? Thanks; you make me blush!

All Things Bright and Beautiful... said...

you are one talented lady ;-)

Bonnie said...

I scanned some pictures of those t-dresses several years ago. I tried to put a picture in the comments, but rude - blogger doesn't allow it. I'll email them to you.