Thursday, March 31, 2011

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, Day four (2KCBWDAY4)

Today's prompt:

Whatever happened to your __________?

Write about the fate of a past knitting project. Whether it be something that you crocheted or knitted for yourself or to give to another person. An item that lives with you or something which you sent off to charity.

I was mulling this one over last night on my way to knit night at I Knit London; and there, I met a couple of lovely women from Chicago who had met through knitting and had included IKL's knitting group on their itinerary of London. Totally aside from it being really interesting to meet more people from Chicago, a couple of the phrases one of them used struck me - charity knitting versus selfish knitting.

That sort of knocked me back. I knew exactly what she meant on one level; and then not on another. On a given day, in a given year, I suppose one of my on-the-go projects might be for me; but generally the other two (I try not to keep more than three things going) will be for someone else. Sometimes that someone else isn't terribly definite (I stash finished socks until they find the perfect recipient, or I just cave in and wear them myself; I do small amounts of test knitting which sit around until someone has a child who's the right size, that sort of thing...) but mostly, I do know the people I give knitting to. I do a small amount of charity knitting; but a very small amount. I wouldn't necessarily categorise the rest of my knitting as selfish though.

Before that - and I sort of had to get that off my chest without, actually knowing where I was going with that one - my subject for Where are they now? was a couple of baby/toddler cardigans I made quite some time ago.

The first one was made in the late spring of 1997, and I bought the yarn in a Phildar in Cahors, and cast on in the garden of the very first gîte (or, indeed, holiday) my ex-husband and I could afford after spending all our money in the previous few years making our house liveable-in. [On the way home, the car broke down irreparably around Orléans; and yet it still sticks in my mind as a really excellent holiday.] It had a garden full of butterflies, and, in between aiming the camera and the binoculars at them, I knitted this cardigan full of Weather. It had lightning clouds, and possibly ducks, and all sorts of little pictorial Fair Isle on it; and it was made for the prospective first child of college friends. All three of their children wore it; and then it was passed on to a sibling's children, and both of those children wore it. Somewhere, I have a picture of the Fifth Recipient wearing the cardi (and sorry, Anne, I can't find it). This was about 10 years later. The cuffs had almost entirely gone, and the general surface was pretty scrubbed, but it was a lovely picture of a small child, with food all over its face, wearing what was recognisably a completely knackered-through-wear Weather cardi.

The second was a cardi made in about 2001, in gold, orange and red DK cotton (three plies, one of each colour). Again, I made it for Big Sister, Little Sister wore it, and then it was passed along the road to the neighbour; which I realised when said neighbour came into the library one Saturday morning with her twins, and the little girl was wearing it, complete with the Fimo buttons I'd made for it, intact... We were ceremonially introduced (I was Suzanne's-Friend-Liz-Who-Knitted-The-Cardigan). I mentioned at that point that I had another of those buttons at home (they were made for a City and Guilds project). About a year later, the mother contacted me, to say it was a bit cheeky, but did I still have the button, as the cardigan was good as new but they'd lost a button and they wanted to pass it on to another family...

Seems to me that it's a very good reason to knit. You give knitted gifts to people, and sometimes they just don't connect, and are never worn. Sometimes they do connect, and the same person wears them and wears them until they wear out (my Dad's getting to that stage with the first Felted Tweed scarf I made him, I think; socks are good for that, too). And sometimes they do connect, and they're passed on, and whole families wear them, and friends of whole families.

It's heartwarming to know where things are occasionally; but it's not essential to making them in the first place...


Wibbo said...

I can't get my head round the concept of 'selfish' knitting! Love the sweater journeys :o)

NinaProofs said...

I know where *one* thing is (or rather two)... today I wore a pair of socks you'd knitted, because I was going to Half Price Books (which sends its love to you) for my birthday pillage & plunder. They still feel like heaven on my feet.

Anonymous said...

I have been following your blog-week but for some reason only just now saw this great post from Thursday with the bit about our loved-to-bits weather cardigan. Thanks. for the knitting and for the posting. Anne.