just a few old things

thanks for all the feedback on my stocking cap. i like it too.
that red one is going to be a gift though, since i have the little red cap AND i sorta promised it to someone special.
i’m going to knit another one for myself, since several people asked for a pattern, and that way i can test-knit it. now i just have to pick out some yarn.

while i was away i went through albany and visited with my mom. she was holding few things for me from her move a couple of years ago. it was just a small box, since most of the big stuff came here on a truck, but she included some early handmades that made me smile.

as a four-year-old, i must have been hard to entertain or keep busy, because that was the year i learned to embroider and sew, and to knit.
it was also the same year i got my first business—the vegetable stand.

one day, my dad showed me how to make change, sat me at the end of our farm drive with a wagon full of corn, and gave me a coffee can with quarters in it. he painted a sign which said “CORN: 50¢”, so i didn’t really have to do anything until someone stopped (although flagging customers in would have been fun . . .).

i liked it well-enough, but it did seem as if there should be more activity involved. later, when it took off a little more, he built a wooden hutch that served as a store, and my mom began to show me how to embroider, to wile away the summer hours. in hindsight i realize the genius at work here—they had three more children younger than me, and what better babysitter than busy hands? not only that, but i do remember my sister and one brother sitting close to my side as i executed those first stitches. no worries about any of them wandering off then—we were all completely absorbed in this new business of sewing.

so, anyway, there in the box was my first embroidery project, the one i got to make AFTER the practice pieces on old sheets.

it’s a dresser scarf. back then (i can’t believe i’m using that phrase), you could buy these at the dimestore pre-printed with a sort of “map” of which stitches to put where—little Xs for cross-stitch, little dots for french knots, etc. as you can see, i was intent on using every single color i owned in it.

i think this piece took almost forever to finish. i mean it—i’m sure i worked on this off and on for at least a year, if not more. of course, by that time i was sewing doll clothes and getting distracted by being allowed to use the sewing machine. once i did finish it though, it was well-used in our home for quite a few years.

another thing in the box was this needlepoint piece

according to the date, i was 14 by then. which makes this a piece of crap, because by age 14, i was doing some extraordinary sewing—i guess original needlepoint compositions just weren’t my forte. thank god i gave this hobby up.

and then there was this, which i was really happy to see

this is a sweater i knit for my dad about 15 years ago or more. he was especially fond of the “golf sweater” style—no fancy cables or ribs for him. i’m glad it survived the move becasue i’ve been wondering what happened to it. it is knit from green mountain spinnery sport-weight singles in a pattern from a vintage men’s sweater book.

this book was printed in a couple of different versions. i’ve made several men’s sweaters from it that came out well-fitting, and well-received. everything in it is fairly plain and pretty much what most men i know are looking for in a sweater.

i obviously had some issues with it biasing, even after it was blocked; that’s the danger of working with singles that i didn’t know about when i started. i definitely wasn’t as good at putting the pieces together as i later learned to be. now it has moth holes too. i’m thinking about reblocking it and maybe trying to patch the holes. but you know how that is—once you start, you just find another one nearby. (don’t worry debbie, i’m not going to wear it—i thought about it, but it’s too big). maybe i’ll just keep it as is to remember him by.

last night i worked on my ragg sock and now you can really see the colorways.

i am SO very happy with this yarn. it is tons softer than i though it would be. if you have issues with romney being kind of scratchy, i highly recommend plying it with something soft. works wonders. and the sheen offered by the pink strand is a nice touch too.

still working away on the starlight wrap as well. it’s going to be a while before i finish, so you may just get casual shots of it til then.

i’ve been looking at the fitted knits book and will talk about it tomorrow.

30 Responses to “just a few old things”

  1. cosy says:

    wow! thanks for sharing the story of your beginning stitchery.

  2. loribird says:

    Wow, you started early exhibiting the talent! I love the colorful dresser scarf! The sock is looking cozy,and the starlight wrap becomes more promising every time you show it. Great work! I’m feeling a curious pull towards embroidery…

  3. Beautiful embroidery — you were quite the crafty prodigy! I can’t wait to hear what you think of that book.

  4. I liked seeing a part of your history. It looks like you have always had a talent for needlework. I am starting to notice something – “Debbie” is very interested in your apparel. Is she part of the what-not-to-wear team?

  5. LaurieM says:

    What a thing! to let three young ones play by the road with out a worry. It shows you how times have changed. I’ve been known to meet my 10-year-old at his friend’s house and walk him home because it’s beginning to get dark.

    I remember those printed embroidery designs. I spent many a summer stitching and a some of my work is posted here: http://issueswithknitting.blogspot.com/2006/06/sometimes-its-hard-to-title-these.html
    I actually have two doilies I embroidered in my bathroom right now.

  6. Marlyce says:

    Interesting info on your needlework beginnings. The embroidery is lovely and well done for such a young child.
    Your dad’s sweater might make a good felted tote bag, if you wanted something practical and something that would hang around to remember him by. The outside pockets could hold a pencil, postinotes. Leave the buttons on it. Make handles out of the sleeves. It would be great, and the moth holes would felt together on their own.

  7. DebbieKnitter says:

    Anne, Lemme first say I needed a tissue midway in your posting. You see, having the pleasure of calling Anne my friend and knowing her personally, I KNOW this sharing of her life and her father *still sniffling here* and sharing her photos is a very personal and very private scenario for her. I think your items are beautiful, to the eyes and to the heart Anne. I think you should wear your fathers sweater anytime you want and you’ll not only look beautiful, but you’ll look stylish. I know your dad is with you in everything you do, every breath you take,every stitch you make and every smile you give and I know he is so very proud of him. You obviously did him proud from the first stand you ran to the last sweater you knit. I am so glad your mom gave you those items Anne, I am so honored you shared them with all of us, I really am. I don’t even know how to word what I felt so I will leave it at that.

    Also, Punkin, I hope I never gave you or anyone an impression less than appealing of me. I think Anne is adorable in anything she wears, I just keep hoping if I talk her out of enough of her knits, she just might give them to me *wink* !! Besides, I’m color blind, you should see what I wear LOL.

  8. Madeline says:

    I think your dresser scarf is lovely. And I like the colors, too, not to mention what a good job you did. It reminds me when I was about 3 or 4, going through a dry goods store (now that is dating me), I wanted one of those little stamped embroidery kits. My mother, surprisingly, said no. I’ve never forgotten how I just instinctively wanted it. She later taught me to knit and sew. I picked up embroidery and crewel in my teens, followed by counted cross stitch and needlepoint in my 40s, while knitting all the while, too. I think there is much to say about those little stamped kits — look what they started for me and, especially, for you!

  9. Danielle says:

    Anne, I love your posts today. The newest one with your reflections to the past make me feel so nostaglic, my great-grandmother was a beautiful embroiderer. I spent many many summers and weekends with her, she was very special to me. She taught me to embroider a little. I’ve always counted cross stitched(my older sister influenced me, this is her favorite hobby). I learned to sew from my older sister, which led to quilting for awhile. And I told you before that I crocheted since I was about 10 or 11 years old. I’ve also always loved to draw and paint too.

    You know when I read what Debbie said about how it was probably not the easiest thing for you to share your Dad’s sweater with us, I felt a connection there. I lost my biggest fan of all when my Dad passed away almost 2 and 1/2 years ago. That’s not always so easy to share, but sometimes it is. I don’t know why, but I needed to share that.

    Well, anyway I do love those hats you’ve made. And trips down memory lane can be so precious!

  10. Daphne says:

    a post of treasures. thank you.

  11. The origins of your genius! As I read about you learning to embroider, I kept thinking, tell me I’m going to scroll down to a photo of an early piece. Oh please, let it be so! And there it was. I think there is something truly magical about having actual pieces from the past to look back on, to touch and reflect on. And I think just holding on to your father’s sweater is a great idea. Great post.

  12. Kim says:

    I remember those printed cross stitch pieces as a child too. I KNOW I was hard to keep entertained or so I am told…LOL.

    Romney blended with angora is a yummy combination :-)

  13. Melissa says:

    Seeing your dad’s sweater reminded me. My niece has her father’s (who passed away) baby sweater installed in one of those memorabilia frames. SInce your dad’s sweater has some issue that makes it not wearable, and it triggers memories for you, putting it in a frame like this would protect it from future moths and let you enjoy the memory jog it produces. My neice has it hung up in her closet which means it gets little light exposure.

  14. Meghann says:

    Everything is quite lovely! Seeing the your old projects brought back memories of when my grandmother taught me to cross-stitch and sew and those first projects. I think my first little framed cross-stitch still hangs on the wall at my parents home. So sweet:).

  15. Kim says:

    Oh anne, that was so sweet!!! I loved seeing your first stitcheries. I think I have one of those dresser scarfs too!!! I used to love to get them at the TG&Y dime store. I think I still have my 500 foot purple crochet chain that my mom made me start with, before going on to the next stitch!! I used to drive around in the back of my dad’s pick-up doing my crochet chain, while my dad would pick up hitchhikers along the way. Ah, the memories your post elicits…..

  16. Tonia says:

    Love all the beginning stitchery that you did at such a young age too.!

    Oh I am sure that the sweater brings back memories of your dad ans who cares if you do put it on and wear it. If it is something that makes you feel good and gives you comforting memories then I say slap that baby on.

    The shawl is coming along. Can’t wait to see it when it is complete. It is going to be beautiful!

  17. For some reason when I visit this blog it makes me want to come over to your house and knit with you and visit, I know it sounds silly but your blog is very inviting and relaxing and I am a knitter as well, your work is just beautiful!!
    Bless you Mary

  18. Gina says:

    That was lovely to read. My Mom started me out early with embroidery. I remember learning the lasy daisy stitch first. Funny, but I never realized she was keeping me busy!! What a nice memory. Thanks.

  19. diane says:

    What great rememberances.

  20. stacey says:

    such great nostalgic finds! that sweater is a great keepsake – something special to remember your dad by….

    that ragg sock is wonderful!! I love the color!!

  21. Monica says:

    I love the dresser scarf and it’s many colors. I can’t believe you made that at such an early age!

  22. Angie says:

    Great memories.

  23. Ruby says:

    How wonderful to see the beginings of what has blossomed into an incredible talent. Thank you so much for sharing!

    You mentioned about the issues of using singles and bias in your father’s sweater. What do you do to work with singles and deal with the bias?

  24. Mary Jo says:

    Your dress scarf, brought back some happy memories for me of embroidering on dots and x’s. I think we must be about the same age Anne.

  25. Totally and completely in love with the colours of your sock. Truly!

  26. Laura says:

    I love seeing all that old stuff you made a million years ago. What fun. Speaking of which, does that needlepoint say ’74 on it? Is that what I’m seeing? If so, then we’re basically the same age! I was 14 in 1974, too. :-)

    P.S. Love that dresser scarf. The colors are wonderful.

  27. marjorie says:

    You were one talented little girl. I had to embroider a turkey in first grade–largely running stitch. And I still have half-done table cloths (with the preprinted designs for embroidery) that were supposed to be part of my trousseau. I’ve kept one just for amusement. I do remember the dresser scarves.

  28. Nancy says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your early stitch adventures. You were a bussy little lady, eh? It shows still today :)

    Boy, I still don’t know how you get all of this work done AND post it on here.

    Much appreciated!!!

    PS: You got me TOTALLY HOOKED on Brenda Dayne. I LOVE HER!

  29. Kristen says:

    I’m going backwards. It’s just how I roll (how the tabs rolled today, anyway).

    Wow, your story about how you learned to embroider and cross-stitch and knit so early…wow. I know there are a couple of sweaters that my own dad had – not even handmade – that, if they were still around, I’d absolutely LIVE in. I can only imagine how important that cardigan is to you.

  30. Wanda says:

    I’m impressed with your talent and that project was your first one, that’s amazing. How nice to see that your Dad’s sweater is still holding up too. I like those classic designs, those are the best to me.