Monday, February 6, 2012

Knitting ~

And, as promised, in appreciation, I embroidered a little something for Anna W. and Susan K. for choosing the name ~A Maria-kind-of-day~ for my blog . Personalized lavender sachets were mailed, and received, thank you friends!


Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts.  Wikipedia.

I have been knitting since I was 5 or 6 years old. Growing up in Chile, there was no TV in “those days”. Neighbors would gather their chairs, and meet in the sidewalk after supper, to knit and share the daily gossip, or listen to the radio. Most little girls, notice I said “girls”, little boys were busy digging holes or fighting with sticks, would sit by their Mothers and Grandmothers and be taught the craft. I don't remember ever NOT knitting. In the society of "those days", you could not just go to the store and buy a sweater. And if they were available for purchase, most people simply couldn't afford it. If you did not knit, knitters were hired to make a cardigan for school, or warm socks, or a baby's layette. The first time I bought a sweater was after I arrived to the US, over 35 years ago.
For me, knitting is a form of relaxation. Once you have mastered the craft, you can do several things at once. At this stage, I can now multitask by watching TV, reading a book, knitting and. sometimes, eating cookies, all at once, without missing a single stitch! It is a nice way to keep occupied. 

When I travel, I always bring some small projects to keep me balanced. Claustrophobia and flying don't go together.  If I fly, I bring my bamboo needles and lots of WIPS (Works In progress) 
On my upcoming trip to Chile I will be bringing:
Socks (Notice the dangerous bamboo needles)
A sweater I have started for a beloved boy of mine

Tiny Shells Shawlette
Airport security seems to be OK with bamboo. Last time I visited Chile, they took away my metal needles before boarding the plane. Of course, I could gouge the eye of an intruder, or defend myself if need be with those things! I don't think that security is aware of how strong bamboo needles are, but I am not telling. They are my secret weapon!!!

Even at an early age I wanted to "just sit and knit", with that feeling of not wanting to put those needles down. Knitting needles, are called “palillos” in Spanish...or little sticks. I have a pretty decent collection of palillos. Some, I seldom use, they are too big or too heavy, or warped, but they belong with my knitting needle community and they are happy to just sit there, quietly and visit with their compadres, more modern needles, lighter, more pliable, more ergonomic.

I have not purchased all of my needles and crochets. Non-knitting friends pass them on to me when they inherit some, they KNOW they will come to live in a loving home. And I am delighted to receive those offerings! I have been given gorgeous antiques, some made from whale baleen with gold-plated end caps, special woods and Bakelite. They are my treasures! 
Here are a few of my treasures. The long ones, still in the wrapper, are baleen and gold....
When we moved to the Southern Oregon Coast, we were poor, barely making ends meet, with a brand new business to take off the ground, that sucked up every penny we had. On one Christmas I had two little girls. Christmas has always been a big deal for me. Not only for religious reasons and it's meaning, but I love all that goes along with the celebration, the lights, the music, the anticipation, the colors … and of course, the gifts!  But, unlike my other Christmases, that year, with very limited funds. When I say “limited funds” I really MEAN limited funds. I had to get inventive. I bought 2 Barbies at a second hand store and made matching clothes for them and my daughters. I sewed skirts for the girls and tiny skirts for the Barbies. I knitted white sweaters for the girls and tiny white sweaters for the Barbies. Jumpers for the girls, jumpers for the get the idea. For years after, I remembered that Christmas with a deep sense of sadness. It had nothing to do with the gifts, but with a raw awareness, when life, in the financial sense, is dangerously fragile. It is one thing to choose to go to the second hand store to find bargains. It is another when you have to go, in order to afford a bed, or warm clothes. A very uneasy feeling, when you don't know how you will survive the next few months, and if the business will make it. Recently, visiting with one of my daughters, I mentioned that Christmas, wondering if she, too, had felt the stress, my stress. She was surprised … “We were POOR???” … she asked ...”I did not know we were poor! That was one of my best Christmas memories! I went back to school with new clothes that you had made for us, and Barbies with matching outfits...NOBODY in my class had dolls with matching outfits! Everyone wanted to see!” 
I was speechless.... 

Growing up, I would receive marvelous gifts from loved ones that had taken the time to knit for me. Grandmother made me sweaters, hats, gloves....
A sweater made by my grandmother (and my pet chicken "Pepina")
Each time a sibling was born, I would watch the women gather and knit a full layette for the babies to come. They were usually white or yellow, since in those days there were no tests to know if it was going to be a girl or a boy. Some women believed on the “needle hanging from a string above your belly” test, that would predict what sex the child would be, depending on which way it would point. Not sure how scientific that test is. I guess it worked sometimes...and sometimes not ...
And, in the true meaning of “Passing it on”, I have knitted for others, hoping  that they experience the same joy and love that I felt. 
Grandson with his new vest and beanie... (observe the model pose!)
And granddaughter posing with new boots and new sweater!

Bunny was fashioned from spun angora wool from....

Miss Carrots, the family pet! Look at all that fur!!!

Sheep cardigan, inspired by Looking Glass
I learned to make Latvian mittens.."double walled"

And an alligator scarf, pattern courtesy of Aunt Judy

Love painted yarn...look at the lovely designs it makes!
And here is  a little pumpkin!
Seamless tiny sweater for a tiny someone new

A sweater worn long ago by my, now, adult son
When owls were fashionable!
And, of course, one must master the Aran pattern! Son looked so cute in  this!

A cardigan for the newest member of the family...
 Granddaughter Olivia, from Chile, has been showered with handmade gifts. Blankets, sweaters, booties and hats made by her beloved friends. After all, she lives in Southern Chile, a place where handmade knits must have been born! And, as a knitter, I KNOW that love was poured on each stitch of what she wears, and part of me wishes I could have kept EVERY single knitted gift that my children and grandchildren have received...but there is only so much space and there are so many! 

A purple little sweater ...

A blue little sweater...
A pink little sweater ...

A pink little hat...

A white little hat...

Lacy little socks
A shawlette for Mom and a tiny one for daughter
 And I could go on an on...but that is for another day. It is 2 am and I will try and get a little more knitting before calling it a day!!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely love the stories and pictures. Wish my car was out of the shop. I would come see you.