Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Days 2 and 3 - Knit and Crochet Blog Week

I am nothing if not disorganized and distracted...

For those of you who read my blog regularly, you know I have a sweet senior dog who has been having some health issues.  I skipped out on Day 2 yesterday to do some extensive research on these issues.  He's doing well, we're doing well, and I'm feeling relieved and heartened at the things I learned.  Now, to catch up!!!

An Inspirational Pattern
Hmmm...the quick and easy answer to this one is every pattern is an inspiration to me.  If it weren't, I wouldn't take the time to knit it.  However, the deeper answer is that I am living my inspirational patterns right now.  I have always wanted to knit lace.  When I started knitting in the late 70s, it was hard, if not impossible to find laceweight yarn or small needles.  I remember trying to knit lace with crochet was pitiful.  

Fast forward to today - laceweight yarn and lovely patterns are everywhere!!!  A couple months ago, I took the plunge and signed up for the Evenstar Mystery Shawl KAL on Ravelry.  Yeah...not only am I knitting a major lace shawl...I'm doing this sucker sight unseen.  It is a 50% chance of inspiration and a 50% chance of crash and burn on my shiny new blog.  Well...I'm a little behind the group on this one (they're all on Clue #6, I'm halfway through Clue #4), but that's because I'm working on several other projects at the same time.  Here's my progress:
This is my "Woo-HOOOO!!!  I can do it!!!!" project.  I am working on two other lace shawls, but this is the "big scary one"...and the inspirational one.

Future inspirations?  I aspire to learning to spin and to dye yarn.  I want to knit every project in the world (fat chance...).  Most of all, I want to knit Eugen Beugler's Frost Flowers and Leaves Shawl.  It goes along with my lifelong love of the frost flowers pattern which is what inspired me to learn to knit.  I'm scouting out the's only a matter of time...

One Great Knitter
 There are so many great knitters today.  I'm inspired by virtually every pattern I see.  I love Elizabeth Zimmerman, though I only own one of her books and haven't read it yet.  I remember seeing a picture of her sitting on the back of her husband's motorcycle knitting happily, and I knew this was my kind of woman.

I think, however, the woman who had the greatest influence on me as a knitter and crafter in general was a woman named Pearl Rowe.  Mrs. Rowe was born in 1897 in West Virginia, however, when I knew her she was in her sixties, and I was a very young girl.  We moved into the house next to Mrs. Rowe's, the little bungalow in the alley of a blue-collar neighborhood, when I was two and moved out shortly before my seventh birthday.

Mrs. Rowe's house was smaller than ours and dark in color...brown? never was sure what color it was.  She had beautiful flower beds all around the house growing peonies and huge Shasta daisies.  I remember her showing me how the ants would crawl over the peony buds and tell me that the buds couldn't open without help from the ants.

Mrs. Rowe had a boyfriend named Barney.  Barney always had bags of candy, and all the kids in the neighborhood knew his car and would flock to the alley when they saw him coming.  He would throw huge handfuls of candy in the air for us to catch.
The best part, though, was when I was invited inside Mrs. Rowe's house.  For as dark and nondescript as the outside was, the inside was a wonderland.  There were china cupboards with lovely dishes, cup and saucer sets and the salt and pepper shakers she collected.  There were crocheted doilies and tablecloths, beautiful embroidered pictures on the walls and, best of all, bed dolls.  These weren't the crocheted bed dolls I'd seen patterns for.  They were real dolls with plastic faces and huge taffeta dresses in pastel shades.  One doll would cover the entire pillow of a twin bed.
I loved to go to Mrs. Rowe's house.  I would sit on her sofa, not moving, and try to memorize every detail:  doily, check...tablecloth, check...china cupboard, check.  Lace, flowers, ruffles, gotta have 'em...  Even though my mother and grandmothers knitted and crocheted, I don't think I would have caught the bug if it had not been for Mrs. Rowe and how much I wanted my house to look like hers.

Today?  No doilies in my house...fifty or so packed carefully away in the basement, but none on display.  About an equal number of needlepoint and cross-stitched pictures packed away.  It's no longer my goal to live like Mrs. Rowe, but her influence pops up whenever I see a lovely lace shawl or coverlet I want to knit.
And that little house?  After my mother died, I was sifting through old photos and found a picture taken in our front yard with Mrs. Rowe's house in the was little more than a tarpaper shack.


  1. Great job on your Mystery Shawl. I still haven't broken the ice and tackled one yet. I applaud your bravery!

    Funny store about Mrs. Rowe! Strange how our perception differs when we're an adult.

  2. Hope you found some answers on your four legged friends issues. Beautiful knitting!!

  3. I am charmed by the thought of a wonderland hidden inside a tarpaper shack.