Knitting for the Ages

July 13th, 2014

We, the staff at Princess Animal, have recently been talking about heirloom knitting. That knitting where each stitch is made with someone in mind, and that hopefully gets luvved to pieces or maybe even passed down to a daughter or son, and therein to the annals of history. Here are some of our stories.

Kathy:

My recent trip to Squam involved several stopovers along the way, one of which was my brother’s house. He had saved a bag of yarn for me from our mom–who died 29 years ago. The yarn itself is all in relatively good shape. It’s nothing special, but I want to make something special out of it. Something that would honor the memory of my mom. Howsomever…it’s all in a very particular 80′s color of dusty pink. I…don’t like it. Honestly, it’s kinda fugly. There’s not quite enough to make a sweater, some of it is pink mohair. Some is cotton/acrylic. Some is a silk/wool mix that’s rather nice. But I’m stumped on what to make from it. Could it all be together has one big pink hairy blanket of some type? It’s literally heirloom yarn, and I feel like I need to make an heirloom from it. Suggestion? Help? What do y’all think?
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Sarah:

When I was little I had a security blanket I carried with me everywhere. I’d had it since I was born since it was a shower gift from one of my mom’s friends, but I didn’t start fixating on it until I was around a year old. I’d had a very bad ear infection, and my parents took me to the hospital, where the staff wanted to give me a spinal tap. They wouldn’t let my parents stay with me for the procedure, but they did let me keep my blanket, and from that day on, I always had that blanket with me, till it literally fell apart.

Having this simple little quilt as a toddler made a huge impact on my life, which is something I think about whenever a friend is having a baby. I love to craft unique toys, clothing, and blankets that will be a part of that baby’s life from day one (even if it gets a fair amount of drool on it). One of my favorite recent projects is a blanket I crocheted for a friend’s little one last year, using bright, squooshy yarn from Madelinetosh. While I have no idea if it will have as much an impact on his life as mine did, you never know! Either way it looked great in the baby photos.

Collingwood Blanket

Kathryn:

Last Summer, I knit a chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) for a woman who had been my best friend for fourteen years. I offered to knit a wedding gift, and she showed me some ideas, including one on Etsy that seemed like a perfect fit. I decided to search Ravelry for a similar pattern, and eventually found exactly the same pattern as the one the bride really loved. I knew I wanted to use a similar yarn: cream-colored (or undyed) merino-silk laceweight. The yarn I bought ended up being far too thin, so I held it double to achieve a good weight.

The knitting went smoothly, though it took me a couple of repeats to get the hang of the Frost Flowers motif, which has such visual substance and beautiful lines that I was glad my friend chose it. In the end, I replaced the called-for knitted on edging with an open crochet border, and blocked that sucker to 70″ square.

When the couple picked up their gift, the groom was blown away, and the first thing the bride said was, “This is going to be our first heirloom.”

They may use it as a shawl, a baby blanket, a table cloth, or they might save it for a family member’s wedding. No matter what happens to it, or how rarely or often it’s used, it’s their new heirloom.

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Kristina:

When I first taught myself to knit as a girl in middle school, I really wished I had someone with more skill than me to help me muddle through it! I ended up checking out piles of books from the library and just giving it my best shot. My grandmother was a knitter, but I didn’t see her for several years until I was already knitting.

At that point she was becoming very arthritic in her hands and was struggling to maintain any of her favorite past times such as knitting or sewing. She did have a little treasure trove of amazing needles, yarms and patterns that she no longer was able to do anything with and wanted to pass on to me.

I still have those knitting needles and use them from time to time, but I used the yarn years ago to make a scarf I used to wear in high school.

I remember my grandmother knitting the most amazing and elaborate Christmas stockings, and all 14 of the cousins got a special unique hand made Christmas stocking that got filled up with toys and goodies each year! Sometimes our old stockings now make appearances at the holidays for the great-grand kids!

So what are you planning to make as an heirloom? Or what was passed down to you? More proof that our craft is a tie to our past, knit into our present, and winds through our future…Share your stories in the comments.

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Easy love.

April 6th, 2014

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Being Princess Animal is complicated. We must arm our populace for the upcoming Craftolypse with an ever-changing and best-of, and coolest collection of yarnz and bookz–while ruling with a furry fist. We must conquer distant lands (this means going out anywhere but the Mission, which We do not seem to do), because we’ve been watching the Vikings, and the Princess is getting all Ragnar about it. She is thinking about building a better yarn boat, perhaps to sail across the uncharted waters of Golden Gate Park’s Lily Pond, which We hear has been fighting an invasion by the evil African clawed frog. All this while swinging to and fro between bouts of unquenchable rage, unquestionable joy, and pure mischief.

How do We, the staff, bring calm to the uncontrollable Princess? Simple. Easy knitting. Beautiful, lovely, brain-resetting, center-restoring stockinette, the stuff knit and purl dreams are made of. Soooo…easy. Look at her go. Sitting still, smiling, zen-like, fingers humming along while witnessing the human sacrifice rituals of the ancient Vikings. Ah, so delightful.

Simple knitting has been the Princess’ manna of late these days. Sure, there was complicated, challenging knitting in the past, but the sun is out again, and oh, to let the fingers fly without fear of mistake. Actually finishing projects. It is all. It is everything.

Here is what the Princess is working on, from what is quickly becoming Our new favorite tome, Very Easy Sweaters from Vogue Knitting. Give us stockinette, or give us…something else. Death’s a bit too extreme, ain’t it?

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Tell us, won’t you? What’s your easy crafting love?

Oh, hey, and while we’re at it…we’re looking for a talented new staff member come June! Want to join the Princess’ Not-So-Secret Service? Drop Us a line at kathy@princessanimal.com. More details on this soon.

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All roads lead to knitting–and crochet

March 1st, 2014

Here at Princess Animal HQ, we are well-rounded individuals. We refuse to be objectified as just sexy, sexy knitting objects! We won’t knit for your pleasure! We knit for ours! Okay, and maybe some other people’s.

Herein are some of our other interests. And, um, maybe how they always lead to knitting.

Sarah!: You may not know this, but Sarah is an actual, real archaeologist. Like Indiana Jones. Except for REALS.

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What ties into archaeology? Well, there’s the first sock, of course, and then there’s Hwaet!

hwaet

That’s oldeenglish for “Listen” And is also the first line of Beowulf. Perhaps in the comments Sarah will expand upon her love of Olde English Malt Liquor Socks.

Kathryn!: Kathryn is a lady of many talents, including EXTREME CRAFTING, singing (she sings in a choir) and a love of all things fantasy.

To escape from the real world, Kathryn turns to Tiny Owl Knits’ “Woodland Knitting,” specifically these fantastical fairy wings:

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Fly, Kathryn, fly! fairy

Kathy!: While having many a trivial interest, for the purposes of this post, Kathy has chosen her love of MUHDUH. And who better represents that than the master himself?

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And it turns out there’s a brand new book we’ve got called Hitch, with knitting patterns inspired by fillems of Alfred Hitchcock. Therefore, Kathy chooses the Eleven Hundred Dollar sweater, so named because Lisa from Rear Window boasts about her dress being a steal at eleven hundred dollars.

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There you have it. Archeology. Faeries (that’s right, I said “faeries” not even fairies). And murder. Well-rounded individuals indeed.

What about you? How do your interests pertain to knitting? Elucidate in the comments. Special points awarded for midieval folk dancing and monkey knife fights.

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