Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Knit One, Purl Two....

My mother crocheted ....  all kinds of things... afghans, shawls, and I don't know what all.  When I was a little kid I learned to crochet an edging on handkerchiefs...  and I made them to give as gifts.  But I was never very interested in crocheting...  what I wanted to do was knit.  I didn't know anyone who knit and could teach me.

When my son was born in 1962, I was a stay-at-home Mom.  I decided to try again and if I remember correctly I bought a "how to" book at the local Woolworth's store.  I taught myself to knit and the first thing I made was a cardigan and shorts outfit for my son.  He was just a few months old, and somewhere I think there's a photo of him wearing those garments while sitting on a blanket....  he wasn't walking yet.

Probably because I had learned some about crocheting first, I hold the yarn in my left hand.  I've since learned that this is called the "Continental Style" of knitting.   Later, my former mother-in-law asked me to teach her to knit but was really unhappy to learn that I didn't "throw" the yarn over the needle with my right hand...  she decided to take classes that the local college had at night.

Slightly off track here...  my former father-in-law was a curious person... and he just had to learn to knit.  Wilma taught him and while he didn't really make anything, he had fun making on all kinds of stitches.  He and my former husband were construction workers...  back then they were all macho and proud of it.  One day Wilma put a pair of knitting needles with some project she'd started in Paul's lunchbox.  Not sure if he ever lived that down.

Back to my story...
I still have stacks of magazines I purchased back then...
This 1963 Vogue magazine cost all of 60 cents.
It contained patterns for over 50 knit projects...  mostly sweaters..
Some of the contents...
Look at the Jackie Kennedy influence in the lower right photo.
I look at the advertisements...  an entire kit containing yarn for a sweater AND wool cloth to make a skirt...  all for $8.98 (plus $1.50 for shipping and handling)...  you can barely buy a skein of yarn for that now.

Some of the styles in that 50 year old magazine are classic...
A Fisherman Knit sweater is as stylish today as it was back then.
In fact, I still wear the one I made nearly 45 years ago, and while it shows some wear, it's still as warm and cozy now as it was then.
Yep!  I still carry it around with me.

When my kids were little I knit garments for a yarn shop...  well-to-do ladies would commission me to make suits, sweaters, jackets... just anything....  in all kinds of styles and patterns.  I loved the challenge of using multi colors of yarn and intricate patterns.

I don't knit as much as I used to...  I kind of take spells and knit like crazy...  then go for long dry spells.  My daughter learned to crochet a couple of years ago and makes all kinds of items.  Not too long ago she learned to knit and really enjoys it.  I think making things for her granddaughter has really spurred her on.

Evie, my great-granddaughter, has revived my interest as well...
I just finished this sweater and cap a few days ago.  
(Yes, Donna...  it's in the mail... it should arrive sometime this week)

The hardest thing now for me is finding time to read, time for the computer stuff, time to enjoy the outdoors and still find time to knit. I recently ordered yarn to make a pair of socks... it's been years and years since I've knitted socks...  I'll let you know when/if I ever get them made.  

That's All For Today!


  1. Several years straight, I am socked out, and started a pile of charity sweaters with my stash of sock yarn. 1's and 3's. Should keep me busy a while.

  2. That little sweater and cap are just darling. I tried learning to knit once back in the 70's but I guess I was too impatient. I kept feeling like the time would be better spent reading a book--if that makes any sense!

  3. That is really some nice work you have done. My wife crochets all the time. That is her favorite and she is really fast at it.

  4. Why would anyone prefer to throw the yarn? That's how I was taught, and I wish I could unlearn it. My sister's 4-H leader used what she called the English method so that's what my sister learned. It goes a lot faster than throwing the yarn. My sister could probably crank out several Fair Isle sweaters in the time it takes me to knit a simple garter stitch scarf.

    I just finished my first pair of socks with a turned heel a couple weeks ago. They look a little strange, but I'm hoping to improve with the next pair I attempt.

  5. I did a lot of knitting when I was in my teens and twenties. At that time yarn was still cheaper than to buy a sweater. Nowadays the yarn is way more expensive. Someway after I got married I lost my desire to knit. What I should start on is: socks. But I never learned to do a proper "heel". :))
    The fisherman sweater is still beautiful!
    I learned that every fisher family had it's own pattern and colors. That was if someone got lost at sea and was found later they could identify the body by the sweater. Sad, but ingenious, I thought.

  6. I never could get the hang of knitting although the results are superior to crochet in my opinion. I do love to crochet though and have made quite a few items over the years. I just made the first of a pair of slippers but it turned out HUGE. I need to find some person with feet larger than mine to give them to haha! Guess I'm out of practice. That is a beautiful baby hat and sweater. I'm sure your great granddaughter will look adorable in that. I still have a hat and sweater my mother made for my daughter - and my daughter is now 47 years old! Those handmade items are heirlooms.

  7. I want to learn how to knit. When I started full-timing my estate sale included all my yarn, needles, books, bags, etc. ( I spent a fortune) that I had bought with the idea of knitting when I retired. I never used them and didn't take them with me. I recently bought two needles and one skein of yarn. They are in a cupboard, and if I ever meet up with someone to teach me, I'm ready!!

    The dress and hat are just darling - I hope we get to see a photo of your great-granddaughter wearing them. :)

  8. Beautiful knitting that you do! I don't knit, crochet, needle point or any of that.

  9. We have several knitters in our park but I would not be one of them. My Mom tried to teach me but it was a lost cause. Now my hands don't cooperate even if I wanted to try.

  10. If you are going to do socks go to YouTube and search for toe up socks and magic loop as a way to make both of them at the same time. Also, Cat Borhdi's Sweet Tomato Heel looks easy enough. This is all theoretical as the yarn I bought to make socks is still hiding from me in the boxes I haven't unpacked yet. I may just go buy some more yarn. Oh darn... have to go yarn shopping. :)

  11. Hi Sharon:
    What a treat this post is for me. I'm a knitter and crocheter and absolutely love the photos of your work. Wow! There's a lot of hours put in, especially to the Fisherman knit Sweater. Gorgeous. Are you a member of If not, you should join (it's free) and upload your beautiful projects for other knitting buffs to enjoy. Thanks so much

  12. Oh, my goodness, those are just wonderful sweaters you made!! What a neat thing to make for grandkids... people just don't take the time to do those things anymore... love, love, love them!!! AND your work looks perfect!

  13. Love the little sweater and hat!! I've tried to knit, really want to knit but gave up on socks--I will have to get out my needles and try again.

  14. It turned out so great, Mom! Love the hearts and flowers!! Evie will look so beautiful in it!

    You and Grandma Wallace, both true artists, have not only inspired me in my lifetime of crafting, but it seems to be genetic... Heather and Megan are great crafters and artists, too! I am so grateful for you!

    P.S. I now listen to audio books on my iphone, since I don't have time "read" books any more!

  15. I had so many sweaters knitted by mother. She was incredible. Only one remains. I outgrew all the rest and gave them away all in perfect condition, including ones she made my father in the 40s. Nothing beats a well-made hand-knit sweater.

  16. I wish I had the patience to knit. After ten minutes both my eyes and my fingers need a long rest.

  17. Howdy Sharon,
    No wonder they're 'Xs', now !!! Are you sure you're not left-handed and k'nit backassards ?? Joyce has a friend who does ALL KINDS of NEEDLE-WORK, k'nittin', crochetin, etc..., and has a store in which she shows & sells it; IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL, delicate and interesting..
    We're trying to get her to try selling them on the ETSY web-store, but she's a bashful person and just won't even try it.. She hardly 'talks' when someone comes in the store; she sits and smiles, does her 'hand-work' and lets them look around... If they ask a question, she answers it, but otherwise is quiet... DRIVES JOYCE NUTZ !!! When Joyce is there she SELLS the creations, for her...
    My grand-mother was an ARTIST, from painting, to ceramics, to ALL NEEDLE-WORK; sewing, crocheting, needle-point, quilting, weaving, you name it, SHE DID IT and gave most of it away !!! One g-g-daughter got a quilt and her mother BOUGHT it, at the estate sale...
    You are indeed a talented lady !!! Hope you have a HAPPY DAY !!!

  18. Forty-five years later and you still have that sweater? That's pretty amazing.

  19. Vintage knit and crochet patterns are hot right now! Don't throw those magazines away!

  20. My SIL in Boise just sold her yarn shop as they are retiring. When they travel with us, she'll be in the back seat and do it all day long. She has her kindle on one side and her yarn ball on the other. I learned to crochet years ago, made a bedspread cover. Still have it. That was that. My brother knits and I have a BIL who is a nit wit no relation there but funny!

  21. novels are the answer for the avid knitter / crocheter, I think. I can get in at least two novels a week and maybe even a complete pair of socks at the same time!

  22. wow! Sharon… beautiful work… love the sweater and cap for little Evie!

  23. I want to learn continental style knitting! I just learned to knit about a year ago. If you haven't already check out, lots of free patterns and info. I have a granddaughter named Evie but I haven't been brave enough to try anything as ambitious as a sweater. I may do that after Christmas. I'm so hooked on knitting that I don't spend as much time reading or on the internet as I use to so I understand that dilemma. Those sweaters from that old magazine are coming back in style too!