Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unfinished Business

As knitters, we talk about the unfinished objects we just can't seem to get back to and joke about "Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy".  About once every six months to a year, someone tells a story of a thrift shop or rummage sale yarn bonanza, due to the untimely death of knitter.

In May, my old friend D. was back on the island for a week.  During her visit she brought me an interesting bag of goodies.  Her mother had passed away a few years earlier and left behind an assortment of pattern books, needles, and other miscellaneous tools common to all knitters.   Nothing fancy or excessive, all very practical and put to good use. No massive stash of expensive or exotic yarns, just what was needed to accomplish each project. Unfortunately, she also left a few partially completed items.

Looking at them there is a definite theme.  As D. explained, her mother loved cables, and favored knitting complex aran sweaters or afghans constructed of long panels sewn together, and always of very practical, washable acrylic in shades of cream, ecru, off-white. Although not a knitter herself, D. knew there had to be a way to finish off each piece of knitting so the needles could be pulled out and her mother's work preserved. She asked for my help and I was happy to tell her that yes, I could just take each piece and bind off the edges neatly.

D. showed me her mother's pattern books and I don't know, perhaps it was the drool on my chin, or I may have let out an involuntary little squee, but she asked me if I'd like to keep them.

Yes, as a matter of fact, that is a copy of Barbara Walker's "The Craft of Cable Stitch Knitting" peeping out from underneath Mon Tricot's "Knitting Encyclopedia 1800 Patterns".  (Do you need to take a moment?  That's fine, I did too.)  D. also asked if when I was done, I'd mind sending the needles and leftover yarn to Interim House.  I think that's a fine idea and I'm betting her mother would approve.

But of all the bits and bobs in the D. brought me, I can't stop thinking about this: 

Detailed, handwritten notes on index cards, carefully clipped together.  A sweater for one person, an afghan for another, it's all there.  I've stumbled a bit on the unfamiliar handwriting, the words "repeat the bobble" first came across to me as "respect the bobble".  (I do, I swear!) And I can see from one of her projects that she successfully executed a cable that has been giving me problems.  I'd so much rather she could show me herself, but the solution is on one of those cards, I'm sure of it.  And I know who I'll have to thank for it.

Before I forget - a little piece of my own unfinished business.  Yesterday was the deadline for the contest I posted on June 15th, my ten year anniversary of giving up my life on the mainland to move over to the island.  I asked for descriptions of where you were ten years ago and from what I could tell, most folks were happy with where life had taken them in ten years time.  I have to agree.  Of those who commented and entered the contest, the random number generator selected Happy College Knitter as the winner. So go visit her blog, wish her congrats, and maybe ask what she plans to do with the scrumptious red yarn she'll be getting sometime next week!


Sheepish Annie said...

Wow! That is an amazing piece of knitting history, there. How nice that you are able to help preserve it and even carry it on as well!

Ellen Bloom said...

Ooooo..what a cool treasure-trove of knit stuff! I promise to "respect the bobble" too. Hahahahaha!

Beverly said...

I would say your friend knew the right person to share her mom's knitting treasures with ... your appreciation of her precious handwritten notes is so evident.