Part III in a series …
In Sickness and In Health
Early in our marriage, my husband discovered he would have to get used to the sight of his wife constantly creating something. He patiently endured the creative phases I went through making bread-dough ornaments, pine-cone wreaths, sewn quilts, pillows, and crocheted afghans. The birth of a daughter brought new joy into our lives, as well as the opportunity for me to create baby things. In anticipation of bringing her home from the hospital, I crocheted a small granny-square blanket in pastel colors.
That little blanket received as many compliments as the new baby, and even now I continue to make granny-square blankets for charity.
But when someone anticipates the birth of a child, one has to knit baby booties, right? With a Coats & Clark Learn-How booklet to guide me, I began to make feeble attempts at knitting. This time everything clicked. I even succeeded in knitting a tiny sweater with some leftover yarn, which came out perfect, except for the color choice. Orange for a baby sweater? Oh well, into the family heirloom box it has gone, to be pulled out some day when we need a laugh.
When my daughter entered preschool, I went back to work and successfully found a part-time job in a yarn shop. Heaven at last! The shop sold cross-stitch supplies, needlepoint kits, yarn and patterns. Cross-stitch was the popular craft of the day, so of course cross-stitching fever took over. I still wasn’t comfortable knitting, especially after watching the other ladies in the shop who were experts, so I continued to stitch and crochet. But it was 1982 and a “new” publication was announced: Vogue Knitting magazine. We in the shop were so excited by that first issue.
Surrounded by inspiration, it was only a matter of time before I was knitting with the best of them. Early projects included sweaters for my daughter and myself, and hats and scarves for the Christmas-at-Sea charity project.
Pattern, book, and yarn acquisition began in earnest, until one day the owner announced the shop was closing. We were sad, but I had finally learned how to knit, and there was no turning back.
A new job on the local university campus found me continuing to spend break times knitting and crocheting. Requests began to come in for custom-knit sweaters and baby sets. When presenting a co-worker with the finished product, I would always photograph her modeling her new sweater.
#12 Queen of Hearts Sweater by Perry Ellis, from Vogue Knitting, Spring/Summer 1985
Looking through those photos today brings back wonderful memories, so I continue to photograph each new project made (ETA: it’s wonderful to have digital storage sites like Ravelry, Flickr, and Facebook to record and share our photos now.)
Years went by. Wonderful new knitting books were published (remember the excitement over Kaffe Fassett’s “Glorious Knits”?) and gorgeous yarns were produced. Pattern and yarn acquisition syndrome knew no bounds. Some projects came out so well that I sent photos and letters to magazines (the Perry Ellis theatre-mask sweater photo was published in VK).
#27 Theater Sweater by Perry Ellis, from Vogue Knitting, Fall/Winter 1985
Alternately knitting, crocheting, and reading my way through the years, I was quite startled when one day a knitting slump hit. Literally. Overnight. Nothing about yarn or knitting interested me any more. I had no desire to work on projects, old or new. I stopped knitting. I stopped crocheting. I stopped reading patterns and craft books. I would be turning 50 in a year. Was this my midlife crisis? What happened?
Next time, Part IV …