Monday, November 22, 2010

Handmade Therapy: Knit one, purl one....

Everyone knows by now that knitting is all the rage. No longer the domain of your granny, this craft is taking over. Stitch 'n Bitch anyone? At primary school in Scotland we had a sewing/craft class for many years, but I don't recall ever completing a knitting project although I did try my hand at it. I preferred the sewing projects, until I drove the needle of the machine clean through my finger....another time.

Anyway, the ladies in my family have all been knitters and both my Grannies were into it. Granny Fox managed to knit full outfits for us all from our own wool provided by a couple of sheep in our back garden in Vermont. I am talking rompers, cardigans, footed leggings, hats, scarves, gloves.....I am allergic. The latest of the clan to resurrect this craft is my mother. Her philosophy is to keep it simple, and create pieces that will have lasting use and a uniqueness to them that just couldn't be bought. Her signature is the baby blanket, and she has created a beautiful piece for each of her 4 grandchildren, most recently for Isobel who arrived less than two weeks ago. I love that they all have a piece of De Oma (her Granny name) to snuggle up with.

I'll let her tell you more...
"I learned to knit at primary school in the north of Scotland (Distant memories of grey woollen socks on different needles -not the easiest thing to start on but we had a stash of sweets in our apron lap bags to keep us going!). I didn't get back into knitting again until the prospective arrival of the first grandchild and thought I would have a go at a patchwork square blanket."

For Oliver, the first born.

"Knitting was becoming fashionable again and I was inspired by my mother-in law who could knit a pair of bootees by tea time and made all the hand knits for our children. Leggings and hooded coats with rabbit ears and bonnets and mittens on a string as well for sleeping outside in the big pram-those were the days!"

F is for FOX, for Noah. Seriously..monogramming? Love it.

"Knitting is a kind of Meditation for me, something centred that I can always pick up and go back to. I knit in soft cashmere or cotton mix as I like the feel of this wool particularly with wooden needles for smaller projects. You can knit on a train (though no longer on a plane), take it with you to fill in the hours wherever you are and the latest pattern is always something to look forward to-a few rows at a time is the rhythm."

A touch of Pink for the first Granddaughter, Honor (the addition of colour was saved until the birth as we didn't yet know what sex she would be).

"I stick to simple garter, stocking and moss stitch but have just mastered cable! Start with something simple (no point in labouring over a complicated cardigan you can buy in Baby Gap). A white silk Lavender sachet with ribbon or cosy hot water bottle cover are both within the grasp of first time knitters.

A simple knitted square pinned to a New Baby card is the equivalent of baking home made cookies wrapped up in a paper bag with ribbon - your time and effort make a gift money cannot buy. Simple knits for Cherished Babies by Erika Knight is a constant inspiration and worth it for the photos alone."

Hot off the press! The latest blanket for the latest Grandchild, Isobel.

"Now that baby blanket 4 is finished, I am on to the next project- cashmere wrist warmers -first time on 3 needles for a while so watch this space!

Happy Knitting "

One of the first books my mother bought in recent years on knitting was Debbie Bliss's Baby Knits for Beginners. That was where she got the patchwork pattern for the first blanket (below).

The images are the cutest (don't you just want to eat that baby up?) and the projects seemingly simple. They almost make me feel like picking up the needles again. Although I am inclined to leave it to the experts! Thanks Mutt. x


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