Sunday, September 05, 2010

De-Stash Part One: Books. Free for the Taking

I've got duplicate copies of two knitting booklets. These are free for the taking. If you're in Toronto, I'll happily leave them for you for pickup at any of my usual haunts; if you're elsewhere in Canada, I'll mail them. If you're outside Canada, I suggest an exchange: I'll mail you the booklet, you mail me a local chocolate treat.

Both of these books are important to my knitting development, in different ways.

Paton's Bazaar booklet, circa 1970-something.

I remember with absolute clarity, this was the earliest pattern book I used. It's full of small things - "ideal for sale at bazaars and fundraisers!" - also ideal for a 12 year old with little patience. Dolls and doll clothes, baby booties, bags, and the inevitable tea cosies.

Also golf club cosies, a nice pair of cabled mittens - and my first successful projects: the finger puppets.

Although the styling seems a bit dated, many of the 50 knit and crochet patterns are classics.

The second book, Early Arrivals, is 12 or so years old. It was in print for a long time, but doesn't look like it is any more. It contains four different baby sets, all sized for preemies up to newborns, two in DK, two in fingering.

This book was important to me because it marks the first time I was forced to knit in public.

A couple close to me was expecting triplets, which were definitely expected to be born very small. The expectant grandmother, W., a knitter and all around lovely woman, had just started into three full sets of bonnets, sweaters and booties, when she broke her shoulder.

I offered to step into the breach and finish them for her. By the time she got the works-in-progress to me, it was pretty close to the shower date. If memory serves, she'd got one of the sweaters done, but I had three sets of booties, three bonnets, and two sweaters to knit, and very little time to do it. It was fiddly and slow work, on small needles, the bodies worked in garter stitch with a lacy edging. I had no choice: if I was going to finish the work for the shower, I needed to find as much time to knit as I could.

At the time, I was working a rather uninteresting corporate job at a rather uninteresting company, and I'd not been there long enough to really get to know anyone there. Knitting was significantly less popular among the younger set then, and I was still very much an "at home" knitter. No choice - I had to knit in public if I was going to make the deadline. So I packed up the project bag, carted it to work, and spent a week knitting through my lunchbreaks in the cafeteria. I got the projects done on time, and they were very well received. I was very happy to be part of a special gift for the triplets on behalf of their grandmother, and just as happy to discover that I could get a lot of knitting done at lunchtime, even if my co-workers did find it somewhat disturbing!

I later used the book to knit a baby gift for my then-boss, using the newborn size. He and his wife are Irish, so of course they got the cabled cardigan!

In particular, I'd like to give the Early Arrivals Booklet to someone who needs it: someone who needs to knit for tiny babies. Do you have a set of twins or triplets in your future? Do you knit for the neonatal ICU at your local hospital? Leave a comment or email me at kate at wisehildaknits dot com and tell me why you need it.

For the Bazaar book, leave me a comment or send me an email telling me you want it. If there's sufficient demand, I may need to draw a number from a hat.


Janet said...

I occasionally join a group of women for "Fibre Friday" at the local library - a two hour session of knitting, crocheting and whatever fibre project we've got on the go that's portable.

Many of those women knit baby things for the maternity ward at the hospital, including things for the neo-natal ward. I hesitate to take the booklet since I hopefuly won't have a need to use it myself but if someone else doesn't ask for it, I'd be very happy to take it to the library for the ladies there.

Debra said...

I knit baby items for a women's shelter and for the neo natal unit at my local hospital. Most of my patterns are for full term babies and don't fit the preemies. I would love to have this book.

Janice Hodge said...

If you still need a home for the premmies booklet I too would like to be considered a recipient. I knit premmie clothes for our local SCBU unit and patterns are not too easy to find in the UK. And we do superb Chocolate...