Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day Eighteen in the Days of Joy

Knitting and Sewing

It seems that we have finally found the joy in these activities when performed together. For years, Lily and I have been knitting happily, and they have all done a little sewing with enthusiasm, but there are partially completed projects all about the house and the guilt I feel each time I come across one is terrible. There has also been the little matter of Aragorn not wanting to knit, "knitting is stupid and I don't want to do it. I want to go to school so that I won't have to knit, it's not real work," have been some of the more pleasant comments.

That all changed this week. Two birthday gifts to Alienor changed my mind. One was a lovely gift of sheets of good felt and needles and embroidery floss. The other was a wreath made by a seven-year-old friend. The one gift was so simple and perfect that we had to put it to use, the other so beautiful that it absolutely inspired me to give time to these endeavors, wherever they may lead.

Monday we began. The older two chose yarn and began to roll it into balls, that took the better part of an hour. I cut two pieces of rectangular felt for five-year-old Arthur, who really wanted to be a part of things, pinned them together, drew dotted lines to stitch along, threaded his needle and away he went. Alienor, eight, liked the idea of making a stuffed animal. She chose a piece of black felt and worked on her drawing on scrap paper all morning before putting it on felt in white chalk for me to cut out. A friend arrived for a knitting lesson, so everyone took a break from handwork to play with the others.

The friend, I am happy to say, got on beautifully with her knitting. It has nothing to do with me, she is just naturally talented, but by giving ourselves time to focus just on learning to knit, she was able to do it very quickly. Another day, I might have tried to over-achieve and start everyone in the house on a project and help out and not get on with the knitting we meant to do. After producing one holey trapezoid, the hallmark of all novice knitters, she made the nicest little square of pink and yellow yarn, no mistakes, no holes, no extra stitches. Nice going!

Later that day, Arthur finished stitching, with very neat, tiny stitches, his entire "backpack" he wanted to make. Alienor learned the blanket stitch and hemmed her little black bear and Lily decided to make a dove from felt A. loaned her from her stash.

The next day I took up knitting again with the two eldest. Our project had shifted from slipper liners to actual slippers, so I needed a moment to find a pattern simple enough, yet in the round, for slippers. We all sat down together at the table. I expediated the younger ones to the playroom, though they were clamoring for help with their own projects, in order to create a focused atmosphere for our lesson. Wow, what a difference. With me wholly focused on their stitches, they made great and quick progress. Aragorn, who had never managed to complete more than four rows in a day of knitting, was increasing, following a pattern and knitting like a pro. Lily, who had never consented to follow a pattern in her many years of knitting, was not only following it, but explaining it to her brother. Those slippers will be works of love, not stupid at all.


  1. I really love reading your blog! We are knitting quite a bit at home right now, too. :) --Jennifer

  2. Doing a happy dance for you family. Please have Aragorn look at this site:
    He will be pleasantly surprised. :)

  3. Thank you for stopping by and the lovely comments. So, have you taught your little guy to quilt yet, Crys?

  4. Jennifer, you have the neatest family! I have just wandered over and around your many blogs, what an incredible life you lead. Thanks for dropping in!


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