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Category: Knitting

A Little Knitting Wisdom from 1922

From the Examiner (Launceston, Tasmania), Tuesday 11 July 1922 – page 7

Woman’s World
(by “Sylvia”)


The path of a beginner with wool and knitting needles is often very bumpy. First there is learning to manipulate needles and to throw the wool whilst still holding the right-hand needle in position. Then there is the trouble with wool forward to purl, and wool off the needle again to knit plain.

Every beginner knows the tragedy of forgetting to slip the wool back to its proper place, which means not only an an extra stitch on the needles, but an obtrusive hole as well. Even with plain knitting a beginner usually garners in a few extra stitches quite unconsciously, and she awakens suddenly to the fact that the outer edge is assuming a crosswise appearance, instead of being perfectly straight.

Anyhow, these are difficulties to be overcome by practice very soon, too, by some people, who go ahead so quickly as to be able to follow intricate patterns and produce exquisite articles in the finest silk, cotton, or wool.

I know an old lady who is nearing her 90th year, and she still knits most beautifully the finest thread and needle as fine as darning needle. Her knitting is practically unsurpassable. On my remarking to her about the wonder of keeping all the different slipping and making and passing of stitches demanded in some of the doyleys and lace she knits, which mean such a variety of rows, she laughingly told me how she manages to avoid confusion in rows.

She has made a number of little books from strips of paper, and on each leaf is written a single row (numbered) of all her patterns. When knitting she simply turns a leaf for every change, and, moreover, interruptions are a matter of no importance; she merely turns down the leaf, and knows exactly where she left off.

We all know how bewildering are some of the detailed directions in both knitting and crochet patterns. And possibly the excellent plan adopted by this old lady would prove valuable to many workers. No matter how well one knows at intricate pattern – or thinks she does it is practically impossible to remember it without a pattern. And yet the directions may be made quite intelligible by abbreviating them in rows. The writing to be done whilst the pattern is being worked. This sounds like something of a task, but even so, in reality the system is labour-saving for the future.

Casting on, and casting off often decides for or against the finish of jumpers, socks. etc. To have the edge too loose or too tight, is a fault – the tension should be exactly the same as the work in the article. When casting on with two needles the average knitter somehow manages to have the stitches so loose that the first and second rows are unsightly, because of slackness. Knowing this, such a knitter is well advised to cast on with needles a size smaller than those to be used throughout the work. And in casting off the trouble often is to knit too tightly – therefore, the plan is to use large needles for the casting off. Another point to bear in mind is, be sure to cast off on the wrong side to avoid the chain-stitch effect on the right side.

It is also desirable that wool should retain its elasticity. Remember this when winding. Avoid making a tight ball. Always keep fingers of the left hand on the ball when winding — roll the wool loosely over them for a few turns, then change the position of the fingers. This method will result in a soft ball that puts no strain on the wool.

A good way to wind wool so that you will have a ‘still ball’ is to arrange to have the end coming from the centre of the ball. Proceed this way:- Wind a few strands around your four fingers, slip off the strands and hold in the hand, and commence winding the wool around one end of the strands, leaving the top to stand out in a bunch. Wind loosely as described for the other ball, and tuck the end under one of the outer strands. Now pull the loops in the centre right. You will have a yard or two of wool and you will find the wool will continue to come freely from the centre of the ball.

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Sewing buttons onto knit and crochet garments.

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Baby Jumpers, Cardigans and Hats

I have to go to the maternity day clinic tomorrow so I thought I’d post the rest of the baby stuff that I made, just in case they make me stay. I have borderline hypertension, nothing serious, they just want to know if it fluctuates wildly in a single day or if it’s more of a week by week thing. It’s been perfect for the last 6-8 weeks, but was borderline on Friday and when I first saw the doctor 18 weeks ago so they want to know if it could have been high on days that I wasn’t at the clinic.

I’ll be taking some knitting of course (I hope they let me knit while attached to all those gadgets), and I’ll be making some ballband washcloths.

I’ll show the projects roughly in the order that I finished them. Because I don’t want to spend 10 hours writing a post like I did with the toys, I’ll link each project to my ravelry page so that you can see my notes on any changes that I made, which yarns I used etc.

Presto Chango, a free online pattern. The original has very pretty lace panels on the front but I left the lace off because I didn’t think it would work well with such a colourful yarn.

Presto chango

Knut Hats, a free pattern on

Vintage Hues Knut Hat

Knut hat knit with Cleckheaton vintage hues

Handspun Knut Hat

Hnadspun knut hat

February Baby Cardigan from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s Knitter’s Almanac. I left out the lace to make it a more all-purpose jacket for very cold days

February baby cardigan

Baby Surprise Jacket from The Opinionated Knitter, also by Elizabeth Zimmermann (you may start to notice a trend here)

Owl Baby Vest, a free Ravelry download.

I made a lot of size modifications to this vest so that it would fit baby-in-progress during the cold weather.

Owl baby vest

Surplice Jacket. Another pattern by Elizabeth Zimmermann 🙂

Baby surplice jacket

Handspun Natural Wonder from Family Circle: Easy Baby Knits: 50 Whimsical Projects for Babies & Toddlers

Handspun baby cardigan

A closeup of the handspun yarn:

Handspun swatch for baby cardigan

The next two hats are from my The Any Yarn, Any Size Knit Hat Book

Skully Jester Hat

Baby jester hat with skulls

Handspun Stocking Cap

Handspun stocking cap for a baby

and that’s it for all the baby knitting so far!

If I’m not admitted tomorrow (I doubt that I will be), I’ll show you the receiving blankets and bibs that I have sewn and tell you all about the rest of the projects that I want to get done before the baby’s born. I am nothing if not ambitious in my crafting 😉

Things to Keep Little Feet Warm

I’m not a sock knitter. I have knit socks. Bed socks, day socks, all sorts of socks but I don’t like making them.

Except these:

Blue baby knee socks

These are the shaped baby knee socks from Homespun Handknit’s “Bouncing Baby Set”. I love making these socks so baby-in-progress ended up with two pair 🙂

The blue pair are made from a Japanese (possibly Chinese, I don’t know because I lost the labels) yarn that I bought at the op shop many years ago, while the purple pair are Opal sock yarn. I’ve made an awful lot of things from that one skein of Opal sock yarn. Baby socks, a woven scarf and a pair of fingerless mitts plus there’s still enough left over for a baby hat or something small.

These, however, are not socks!

Converse baby booties

Converse baby booties

Converse baby booties! I figured if I couldn’t make pretty girly things then I would have to go for cool 🙂 Did I mention baby-in-progress is a boy?

Yeah I know, purple stripy knee socks aren’t very cool but I had to find some use for the only skein of actual sock yarn in my stash 😛

These booties are made from Cascade 220. Yes, the handwash only stuff. I have copped a fair bit of flack from people when they find out that I have knit all my baby’s gear from handwash only yarns but in all honesty, I don’t understand what’s so difficult about hand washing them. You throw them in a bucket of room temperature water with a bit of woolwash for half an hour, spin out the water in the washing machine and lay them out to dry somewhere. Baby stuff is so small and light you can hang them up without worrying about them getting all misshapen. Anyway, that’s what I did with my first baby and what I plan to do with this one.

I would change one thing on this pattern if I made them again. I find that the tongues are too short and if I made them again I’d make the tongues the same length as the outside of the bootie.

Anyway, a short post today because I started writing this at 5-something am (boo to insomnia and large baby-bumps that keep you awake) and I’m tired so I’m going back to bed.

BTW, I washed that sorry looking blanket from yesterday’s post and I think it will have to be patched with many crocheted squares and rectangles instead of hearts because there are just too many holes in it (and not the good granny square kind of hole). I’ll save the hearts for the blanket that I didn’t show, which only has one hole in it so far 😛

Tomorrow: Toys!

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