Archive for February 6th, 2009

Do It Yourself

My mother was a very skilled knitter.  She was taught to knit by her doting aunt when she was 13 years old.  She sometimes repeats this fact as evidence of what a miserable childhood she had, forced to knit against her will.  Nevertheless, she knitted many beautiful sweaters over her life.  At the age of 85, she announced that she hated knitting, and wasn’t doing any more, quitting mid-project.

I didn’t suffer the trauma of learning to knit as a youngster and so was left to teach myself as an adult.  I tried my hand at a variety of handicrafts in my early 20s, and as a young mother, took up knitting for my kids, even producing a few sweaters for them.  When I moved on to knitting a sweater for myself, however, my patience was over-challenged and I never finished that project.  I haven’t picked up knitting needles for many years.

One of my mother’s last projects was a fuzzy purple hat that she knitted for me a few years ago.  I was very fond of that hat, not least because she had made it.  Funnily enough, when I was out shopping the hat received numerous compliments from other midlife women such as myself, perhaps in recognition of a skill in decline.  I dare say my generation produced fewer knitters than did my mother’s, and that skill is even rarer amongst my daughters’ generation.  I wouldn’t claim that knitting is dying out, of course.  Indeed, there has been a resurgence of interest, with books with catchy titles such as Debbie Stoller’s “Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook”, meant to appeal to a new generation, appearing on bookstore shelves.


Here’s my hat from Mom.  Here’s the label.


Sadly, my fuzzy purple hat is showing signs of wear.  A large hole has developed in one side.   Although I have other perfectly adequate store-bought hats, the demise of my purple hat inspired me to pick up knitting needles once again.  I chose the simplest pattern I could find, a basic knit one row/ purl one row stocking stitch cap that even I could manage without tears.  Here is the result.


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