Wednesday, February 16, 2011


It is awful to have a closet full of half-finished handwork projects and then come across a photo like this in a book being advertised online. I HAVE to have it, and I have to have it NOW!

So the optimistic part of me says that I'd better buy the book right away, which I do, and the pessimistic part of me reminds me that a) it is probably too hard for your level of knitting expertise, and b) you are too old to learn how to do it. The rational part of me says to go for it and simply put it at the end of the line to do when everything else I've started is finished.

Now this might take a few years, and probably at the age of 90 I won't even be able to hold knitting needles, but optimism wins out and I now have the book in my living room where I can periodically feast my eyes on some unbelieveably beautiful projects.

However, I am almost undone when I look at the instructions for making the flower and read "Cast on 222 stitches." And then I have to work with short rows and a direction that says "wrap" - which I've never met before. Luckily YouTube has videos that help people like me get through these tricky things.

With as simple a thing as "short rows" and "wraps" I can hear you knitters thinking that I am pretty much a rube passing myself off as a knitter. Well, that's not exactly true. I was taught to knit by a babysitter before I was 10 years old (that would be in the dark ages, of course). The first project was baby soakers, forerunners to plastic pants that helped keep little baby "tinkle" from seeping through the cloth diapers. This was before the time of synthetic materials in yarn, so you can just imagine what urine-soaked wool baby soakers smelled like. But if you kept a close eye on the little guy, wet diapers weren't allowed to stay on him or her for very long.

I digress. I made little soakers and doll blankets during the early years. In high school hand-knit argyle socks were the rage, and I made lots of them for my boyfriend. The more garish the better. I could knit a complicated plaid design at the top of the sock using colored angora yarn, turn a neat heel, put in nice gussets and close up a toe so you wouldn't know that is where the sock ended. All that was necessary was to sew up the back seam.

In that period of my life I also knit lots of stocking caps for our frequent forays "up the hill" to various snow camps we always went to. Later, my knitting projects were pretty much limited to little sweaters and hats for my own babies.

Over the years I've made afghans for all my adult children, and of course knit Christmas Stockings for all the kids and grandkids. Lately I've pretty much limited my knitting to hats for children in foster homes, shelters and for my two smallest granddaughters, now 10 and 8 and who are now looking for something a little classier that a simple stocking hat.

My thinking, when I saw the hat above and the hat below, was that if I could master the steps to producing a hat like these, Olivia and Justine might just find them wearable (though you never know with girls!)

In reviewing the patterns, though, I can see that I'm probably going to need some help. The nearest yarn shop is about 25 miles from my house, so I've got to scout around to see where I might find some "real" knitters who won't mind sharing their knowledge with me. Actually, nosing around in this book makes me realize how far out of touch I really am with what's been going on with knitters.

Old dogs, new tricks. I can do this, I say. The Power of Positive Thinking! All little adages to help me convince myself that I will eventually be able to produce such lovely hats. (After I've finished my other languishing projects, of course.)

The book I bought is shown below: Knitting in the Details: Charming Designs to Knit and Embellish by Louisa Harding. The photography is as stunning as the projects. It's full of hats, sweaters, scarves, handbags and mittens. If the book were larger it would certainly qualify as a Coffee Table tome, kept out in full view so one could feast their eyes on it at any moment of the day.

And luckily it is so appealing that even if I never figure out how to construct a single item, I will remain totally delighted to have it in my possession.


Anonymous said...

I am holding those knitting needles at 73 and am still just a fair knitter but oh the pleasure! When the eyes tire of reading I pick up the the by.......those hats are spectacular......

marciamayo said...

It sounds like you are in the short rows with this project. I can't wait to hear how it turns out.

Stacey said...

Those hats are cute!!! And they would be especially cute on a bitty baby (if we have a girl, we should be able to find out in a month to a month and a half) Now that we are back on the internet at home now, so I can keep up on blogging again. YAH!!!