My Grandma gifted me with a stack of her old knitting patterns this weekend. She also had several bags of wool yarn that she gave me. Most I’m not sure what I’ll do with, and some I may have to overdye because of the colors, but I’m pretty positive it’s all wool.
The patterns though, are pure gold. They are amazing. There’s a lot of baby patterns, as my Grandma taught herself to knit from a book when she was first married. I think she learned while they were living in Portland, OR while my Grandpa was still in the Navy. One of the first things she learned to knit were wool soakers, as they didn’t have plastic pants for diapers yet.
Of course, she knit a lot of socks in her day too. We talked about the trials and tribulations of knitting socks. She talked about how frustrating it is to spend time knitting socks for someone, only to have them wear out. I agreed, but said that todays commercial sock yarns seem to be more hardwearing with the addition of some nylon. I was again reminded of how things were different when she was a young woman – you definitely did not throw away a pair of socks just because the heel was worn. You darned them. If a sweater had worn out elbows, you ripped out the sweater and either knitted a child’s size sweater out of the yarn or you knit it into socks or mittens. She pointed out that this book (below) has tips for ripping out worn heels and reknitting them.
This page got me giggling. It reads,
Hand Knitted Socks by Beehive for Men
Knit your way to his heart. Any man goes soft and romantic over the little woman who makes socks "just for him". So knit them in his favorite style, his favorite color…and be sure the wool is the finest, imported straight from England… Beehive.
Oh yes, and Wonderized Yarn! Because you wouldn’t want your baby’s sweater to do what the one on the left did. "Stays true to size, it’s Wonderized!"
There were a fair number of books for women’s clothing. Everything from 1945 through to the very early 80’s (the last time I remember seeing my Grandma knit). One of the women’s books was titled, "Campus Women." It’s totally my style. A little preppy – OK, a lot preppy! There’s argyle, there’s cute little cardigans, a Chanel jacket, and there’s this super cute vest. This may have just won out for my Olympic Knitting Project. Right now I’m debating between this cabled number and the Scooped Lace Vest from Creative Knitting, January 2010. There’s enough patterns here to keep me happy for a very very long time.
It makes me wonder what my Grandchildren will say about my knitting stash some day.