25 April 2012

KCBW2012: Your knitting or crochet hero


Today's topic is about the people behind the hook or needles, people who inspire me and make me want to crochet and knit.

"Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it's really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger. If you are writing about a knitting designer and you have knitted some of their designs, don't forget to show them off. Remember to get permission from the owner if you wish to use another person's pictures."

Now, I must say, that for this topic, I immediately knew I wanted to write about my grandmother, because she's been a driving force behind my crafty hobbies these past few years and even though she couldn't do much crocheting or knitting in her final few years, we bonded over our shared hobby. But the thing is... I don't have much to show. My grandmother, even though technically we're not related, must have somehow passed down her way of yarn-crafting to me because we don't use a lot of patterns! When she passed away last year, we helped clean out her house and I was expecting to find a treasure-trove of old patterns, books on knitting and crocheting, maybe some hand-written patterns... After all, she had worked in the yarn industry for over 40 years and she had knitted and crocheted all her life!

Strangely enough, though, all we found were these two pattern-books:

 They appear to be published by a magazine publisher in the seventies, and even though the one on the right (800 stitches and notes) seems well-used, the one on the left is almost in pristine shape!

They're full of pages like these, with a short description of a stitch pattern or a graph, or how-to's on all sorts of topics:

(clockwise, starting top-left: crochet stitch-patterns, increases and decreases, knitted patterns and graphs, knitted button-holes)

(A section on knitted necklines)

(and an advertisement for a magazine! Love the seventies look there. And the occasional odd spelling!)

It is telling that my grandmother did not have any patterns or books at all: it tells me that she really did it all from the top of her head. She was so comfortable with her knitting and crocheting that she would whip up a sweater without even taking measurements! Her work was impeccable, her stitches always neat and even, and I cannot remember my parents' kitchen without at least 2 pairs of her handmade pot holders. When we were younger, she tried to teach us kids to knit and any time I pick up the needles, I can hear her voice in my head going over the steps like she did when we were kids. She lived and breathed yarn and crafting, and I was very proud whenever she would tell me that the stitches of one of my handmades were all so nice and even, and that the fabric was looking sturdy, or that the pattern was so pretty. Even though she couldn't see well enough in her last few years to do some crocheting herself, she managed to pass on the love for yarn and crafting and some good pointers to me. I would love to one day be as good as her, and she'll always be a crocheting and knitting hero for me.


  1. wow those pattern books are amazing, it's lovely that you are so inspired by your grandma. have a knitty wednesday xxx

  2. I love Mon Tricot and seem to have acquired lots of magazines and books like yours over the years. They are total treasure troves aren't they?! So much is still so useful, even if the patterns aren't quite what they might once have been!

  3. There is something truly special about hearing the voice of a loved teacher in your head even after they're gone. How sweet to remember your grandmother that way. :)

  4. Mooi! I love that your grandma is your inspiration. I also love vintage patterns so your very lucky with those two books!

  5. What a sweet story and great memories to have!

  6. Great post! Your grandma sounds truly amazing.

  7. What a great find! I find it fascinating how she worked in the yarn industry. What did she do?

    1. She was the co-owner of a small chain of yarn shops! My grandfather manned the shop, and she helped out behind the counter, helped explain patterns, made sure that there were samples for the window displays, and when knitting looms came into fashion she demonstrated those in the shop. At one point they owned 6 yarn shops in and around Amsterdam! They sold all of them before I was born though.