The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know....

I saw on a couple of different blogs that people had chosen to list “knitterly things” that readers might not know about them. I’m not sure if I can think of that many knitterly things that would truly be of interest….but I decided it might be fun to try. Here, the untold story—every knitterly thing you ever wanted to know about Ms. Knitingale, but were afraid I’d tell you….and tell you….and tell you…..

1. I am told that I have a very strange knitting style—more than one experienced knitter has been known to stare fixedly at my hands while I work, and I swear I can almost hear brain cells rupturing as they try to figure out what in the world I could possibly be doing. And why.
2. Which leads to this: I taught myself to knit when I was 18, sitting on the couch with a knitting encyclopedia on my left, and a pattern on my right. And a very troubled facial expression in the middle. This could easily explain number one.
3. The first item I ever knitted was a pair of blue baby overalls. With button plackets on the sides. And a swan worked into the bib in white. Seriously. I have no explanation for this other than a) I was such a knitting innocent that I believed that if you could knit, you could knit anything (and I’ll even admit that I still believe this for the most part) and b) I didn’t particularly want a knitted dishcloth or scarf. They actually turned out pretty well.
4. The scarves I knitted out of Fun Fur a couple of years ago are actually the first scarves I ever knitted. Truly.
5. I am vehemently opposed to knitted skirts of any kind…..possibly because of disturbing memories of the sweater/skirt outfit I knitted back in 1986. The skirt was red with a slit up the back. And a bow above the slit. That kind of thing can scar a person for life.
6. I once entered two knitted baby outfits in the Spokane Interstate Fair, blue ribboning on one and red on the other.
7. I’m still annoyed that I didn’t notice that tiny flaw on the outfit that got a red ribbon until it was too late.
8. I crocheted before I knitted, (Momma Knitingale taught me) and made myself a big, square afghan that was not much more than a giant granny square. I kept it folded at the foot of my bed until my cat ate all the fringe off of it.
9. For sweaters, I generally dislike things with many colors, both to knit and to wear. Which is odd, because when I was working at a clinic I sewed most of my own scrubs in colors and patterns that could wake a person from a coma (medically very useful, I think). Here, some favorites:

The tie-dye pattern has pants in the same fabric; I just decided I was too lazy to take them off the hanger for the photo op.
10. I adore patterns formed with stitches—cables, lace—you name it. Love making it, love wearing it. Only one exception: I have an unreasonable bias against bobbles. I don’t understand that…but I really don’t like them. Perhaps my mother was frightened by one while pregnant with me….?
11. I’m all for creativity with patterns and suchlike, but I nearly gave up cardigan making entirely due to patterns that say “mark places for six buttons evenly spaced on button band. Make buttonholes to correspond to the markings.” WHAT??? I think only someone who hates knitters and loves math could have come up with that. Give me a pattern that tells me exactly where to put the buttonholes, and I’ll be happy to line up the buttons to match.
12. I detest weaving in ends. Absolutely loathe it. So, on garments that are intended for me, I am often guilty of leaving some ends just hangin’ out, whenever I think they won’t show.
13. I also detest swatching AND NEVER, EVER DO IT. (Some of you may wish to go lie down….go ahead. And feel free to skip ahead in the post if this part makes you feel faint..) And I know that this is tempting the knitting gods and believe me when I say that when they come for me, I will go quietly and accept the punishment that I so richly deserve. I will whine only minimally. Promise.
14. I am unreasonably fond of mohair. I have no idea why—I only know that I can rarely pass it up. It throws itself shamelessly at me in yarn stores. I keep trying to end it, to tell it that the other yarns are getting suspicious, that we can’t go on this way… no avail.
15. I have never understood the attraction to holiday sweaters.
16. The fact that my husband does not wear sweaters, scarves, hats, or nearly anything else knitted makes my fingers itch. The socks are only easing this a tiny bit. How can anyone not want a handknit sweater??
17. I am constitutionally incapable of throwing away knitting patterns. Even if they’re so out of style that I’d be on “What Not to Wear” a mere five seconds after putting the finished product on. If anyone is in need of a truckload of 1980’s knitting patterns……
18. I cannot manage to like boucle yarn, no matter what I do, and no matter what it’s made of.
19. I knit pretty much everything on circulars these days….but every so often, I put something on the straights that I purchased way back when I first started knitting (two sets of Aeros in two different lengths) and I always feel a little pang of knitterly love when I see the orderly march of the stitches across the needle. Weird, I know.
20. I would love to make hats…but I absolutely hate to wear them. I need a friend with a cold head. Anyone know any bald guys in my area?
21. And I love to knit while watching these guys:

Okay, so that wasn't something you didn't know. I just can't pass up an opportunity to say "Go Hawks!!!!" (And yes, the jersey belongs to me and not hubby, given to me by none other than Chad Eaton himself, who is a very nice guy.)


  • At 4:44 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    Ok, quite a bit of that I do know, and I agree about the bobbles, I don't get it.Maybe I should just say here are some things I agree with you on: the buttonhole thing...'hey,*you* wrote the pattern! finish it', skirts, have never been really moved to make one, why? don't know, haven't been traumatized either,my DH doesn't wear but one sweater (cotton, purchased a hundred years ago) and I knit him a hat out of baby alpaca, and he doesn't have *that* much hair on the top of his head but does he wear it? hah.weaving ends, bleh.
    And finally, and I'm incredibly in awe that you chose to write that in caps...that well, I don't either, so if the fates come after me at least I'll know to be in good company. how funny.

  • At 4:46 PM, Anonymous Marianne said…

    oh yeah, and that boucle...which is a good thing because it leaves just that much more for the folks that love it.

  • At 10:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wait a minute!!!
    I have a scarf you knitted for the first Mr. Knittingale...that was not a short time ago.


  • At 11:45 AM, Anonymous marti said…

    have I got some mohair for you. coming soon to the local knit for life group on monday.

  • At 12:01 PM, Anonymous Childe said…

    Want to knit hats? Check this out:

    The Dulaan Project spearheaded by the incomprable Ryan of Mossy Cottage Knits:

    We, the Dulaan Brigade (or DulaanHeads) have a goal of over 12,000 items to send by July of 2007 -

    Super neat, real life, feels good.


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