I want to share an odd habit with you today. A quirk is what I call it- others might call it  pack rat syndrome or maybe hoarding sickness. I like to browze in thrift shops and antique stores. I’ll visit estate sales occasionally – usually  I don’t go to garage sales. I don’t spend much money at these places. Normally it is just a piece of bric brac or an odd Kitchen utensil. I pick through old books and find many treasures. And if I find old knitting leaflets I am in heaven. The local St. Vinnie’s charges 29 cents for a leaflet or magazine or 4 / $1.00. What a bargain.

A couple of weeks ago I was dropping off some things. Because I do have a rule I can’t buy unless I discard. And any ways I went in. I was looking for some picture frames. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look through the books and leaflets. So I found the winter Vogue Knitting from 1985.
Don’t tell me its vintage because in 1985 my oldest was 9. And if this magazine is vintage it means I must be vintage too. and we don’t want to go there. I had to buy it- after all it was only 25 cents and I had a 20% off coupon. and look at this table of contents – sweaters for cabbage patch dolls. Remember when cabbage patch kids were the hot toy that every little girl had to have for X-mas. And Couture Finesse – look at that cowl it could be from today’s runways. On page 76 is an article of how to knit your own shoulder pads in 3 different sizes.

I don’t think shoulder pads are back but if they come back I will be ready.

But seriously there are a couple things I would like to knit from this magazine the cover sweater with the seperate hood or maybe I will just knit the  hood to keep my ears warm. There is also so these 2  ski bunny sweaters with another hood.I think I am too old to be a ski bunny but I could sit by the fire place with a mulled wine or a rum and coke. Is there anyone else out there that wishes that Vogue would bring back the  Then AND NOW series???

My other find was even better – a book that I couldn’t leave behind. Knitting Workshop by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Every once in a while I find a book by E. Zimmermann or her daughter Meg Swanson and I cannot leave them. I have given many beginning knitters the Knitting without Tears book. It is a classic.

In 1975 I was a young mother living in Upper Michigan. We didn’t have much money and I decided to relearn knitting. I knew how to knit but hadn’t done much knitting in a while. I went to the library and took out books to teach my self  to go beyond knit and purl. And that is where I met E.Zimmermann. I read the Knitters Almanac several times. And enjoyed the stories that accompanied the knitting. After all Elizabeth lived a hop, skip and a jump away in Wisconsin. I could identify with fishin and knitting and ski jump hills. And the directions gave you permission to experiment – heck it challenged me to. It taught me to try and not to worry just to go with your gut and reason it out. This is important in more than knitting.

There was only a 5 and 10 store to buy yarn with only acrylic- I longed for wool to knit with. But I knit -I learned to turn a heel and to cable. I found out that plain garter is pretty amazing.  And I even learned to do stranded knitting.  All with a patient voice at my shoulder telling me there wasn’t any mistakes it might just be a new stitch unvented.

Knitting gives me confidence  – when I learned to steek last winter I felt like super woman. I strutted around the house like a rock star for at least a week. Knitting has calmed me down when I was waiting up late for my children to come home. Knitting kept me sane when my son was learning to drive. And knitting kept me company and helped me stay awake long nites when my Father was ill. I have made socks so tight that no-one has ever worn them and sweaters that weren’t quite the right color. But my children have also worn out sweaters that I made and proudly show off the funky colored socks under their dress slacks. I like to think that they wear my handknits and know that no matter what kind of day they are having they are loved. Kind of a mommy force field around them.

So I took home this Elizabeth Zimmermann book, Knitting Workshop. I paged through it and saw a pattern that I want to try, the Stonington Shetland Shawl on page 116.  First I need to finish my Escher Blanket but then I want to tackle this. When I went to put the book on my shelf  it fell open to the first page. And there I found 2 signatures and a wish for Good Knitting. I never met Elizabeth Zimmermann in person but I feel like a friend is with me as I knit.

1 Comment

  1. Peg said,

    November 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    What an amazing find! I think when I started knitting it helped me be a much more sane and patient mother . . .


    p.s. Look forward to reading more posts!

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