of the week it was almost a relief to head off to the library yesterday. I am usually in there twice a week, sometimes more often but I had not been there for over a week.
I was greeted like a long lost traveller and told they were calling off the search party. Search party?
It is nice to be wanted - or it would be if they wanted me for myself rather than for something I could do for them. But, I was there for the knitting group.
We had to open the fold back doors again. There were nineteen people there - and two more called in briefly.
I wondered if our very young knitter would turn up. I had remembered to bring a book I thought she might be able to use. It is, unlike many knitting books for children, more realistic than most. It has small objects in it, a headband, covers for mobile phones, a simple bag etc etc...all in just plain garter stitch. (Knitters will know what I am talking about.) You can make something in a relatively short period of time - and then actually use it.
I had a knitting booklet when I was little older than the very young knitter. It was called "Knitting for the Junior Miss". It was a small size Patons booklet. I paid for it out of my own pocket money. It was the only thing available unless I wanted one of the very grown up pattern books in the haberdashery store not far from where my paternal grandparents lived.
I can remember handing over my money and watching the coins being sent on a small "flying fox" arrangement to the far end of the store. The pattern books were in a pile on that counter and the wool was lined up in boxes next to it.
I had been allowed to spend the money because I had just managed to learn the purl stitch. My mother thought I was wasting the money but I wanted the book.
In some ways it was a disappointment. The projects in it included jumpers and cardigans, socks on four needles and other impossibilities. I would never have been allowed to buy the wool for any of those projects even if I had been given enough money - but I could dream.
There was one project in there I thought I could manage and my grandmother thought I could manage too. It was a striped beanie. I made it for my brother - and he wore it for several years. Then my middle sports mad sister nabbed it and it was lost somewhere on a dusty rural football field. I was not impressed. Neither was my brother. He made another one for himself at school. All the boys were taught to knit that year.
I still have the booklet. It is slightly battered by now but I went on and used it. I eventually made the cardigan and the two jumpers and the baby booties and my first pair of socks all from that booklet. It was useful - but not until I was well into my teenage years. All through that time I had my paternal grandmother to refer to and I wonder now whether I was following the book or following her advice. She did not need patterns. She would look at them but she did not follow them.
I wonder now about that book. It was probably intended for teenage knitters but I wonder how many of them were put off by what was really just patterns originally written for experienced adult knitters - in a different form.
Later I borrowed a book from the Children's Lending Service that was a little better but not much more realistic in terms of the amount of knitting - unless you count jumpers for teddy bears. I did not own a teddy bear.
The little knitter turned up. She had knitted a piece about 7cms wide and 20cms long. I showed her the book and told her she could borrow it. There was a "thankyou!" and a grin. She sat next to her mother and looked carefully through the book.
"I could do that...and that...and I can make that one...and.."
There were at least five projects that were possible. All of them would take less than a ball of wool. She looked up and grinned at me again and wriggled in excitement.
After that she concentrated on adding a stripe to her knitting.
Stripes are a good idea. You can see your knitting grow.