Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I may be a quilter, but I knit and crochet too

I may be spending lots of time quilting these days, but it wasn't always that way. I have been knitting and crocheting for years; decades; hmm--half a century--even.

This is my latest project, a knitted baby afghan. I really enjoyed making this. 
knitted baby afghan
Knitted baby afghan

I first learned to knit when I was in fifth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Angela Amorosi, was my inspiration. I was so impressed by her. During our reading and study time, she would usually work on her knitting. She made the most beautiful sweaters, some of which she wore. I remember once asking her about a project she was working on. She said it was a sweater for her daughter. Iwas a large piece, the back of the sweater. They are made much like other garments in pieces that are then sewn together. Hers was almost finished because it was huge. I loved watching her as she moved the needles back and forth and wrapped the yarn around them with the precision of a military drill team. She worked so quickly that it was hard to keep up with just exactly which needle went where. 

During that school year, way back in the early 60's, I asked Mrs. Amorosi plenty of questions. She was always patient with her answers. I think she liked teaching knitting as well as any subject she taught. I did well in her class. She was a good teacher.

By the time I had gotten to her class, I had already known a little about knitting. My father knew how to knit. He was in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He took up knitting when he was on a ship for months at a time. He started a blue sampler afghan way back before I knew him, but he never finished it. I wanted to finish it for him. While he gave me some instruction, I never saw him pick up knitting needles. My mother could crochet, but she didn't knit. During the summer between my fifth and sixth grades, using all the tips I'd picked up along the way, I taught myself to knit. There were no You Tube videos back then. Learning is so much easier these days. 

I never did finish that sampler afghan, and don't really know what ever happened to it. Several years later, I found an updated pattern book with sample stitches just like the ones my father had. I bought the book along with all the yarn I needed to make an entire afghan. I selected three different colors: yellow-orange, red-orange, and dark brown. Those were really hot colors back then. I alternated the colors of each sampler square, and then crocheted around each of them with the brown yarn. The effect was like the sashing on a patchwork quilt. It really turned out nice. I gave it to my dad when it was finished. That afghan was never far from his chair. My mother tells me that up until the day he went in the hospital the final time, he covered up with that afghan. My mother is 85 now, and she is using it. Talk about getting the good out of a project...

Suffice it to say I have been doing needlework for a very long time.

Crocheted baby blanket
Baby afghan
Baby afghan
Jenny's afghan
Adult afghan
More than a year ago, I decided it would be worthwhile to make something while I watched TV in the evenings. I made a few baby blankets for friends, those shown on the left. Then my daughter decided she loved one of them, so requested I make her an adult-sized one with the same pattern. She picked out the variegated green yarn. I believe I made it about three times the width as the baby afghan and as long as she is tall. 

When that was finished I decided to make more baby items, so just in case I ever needed them, I would have them all ready-made. Perhaps I would even sell them one day. 

Up until that time, all the things I was making were crocheted. Crocheting is easier, and goes faster. But there is something about knitting that I have always loved. So, I found a pattern that was perfect. It had a cable stitch in it and a filigree-like stripe. It was beautiful. I had some extra yarn left from my other projects, so I set out to make a knitted cable baby afghan. It was done on double pointed needles. I happened to have a pair of those in just the right size. I have a wide variety of knitting needles and crochet hooks in just about every size. 

I'm really pleased with how the above blanket turned out, as well as all the other items too. 

purple and white striped baby blanket
A purple striped baby blanket

Crocheted baby outfit
Matching sweater, hat, and contrasting blanket
I just made the lavender and white striped blanket to keep me occupied during commercials. It was the only one in the book of patterns that I hadn't made already. It is an old book and I've been using it for years. 

The blue and white outfit is one of my favorite patterns. It uses more yarn than most because of the stitch, but I love the look of it. I love making it. I have done several. In fact, I made one for my son, about 33 years ago. It remains my favorite pattern. 

If I don't have babies to give them to, or I don't sell them, they will always make nice lap warmers or cat blankets.