Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons from My Old Scarf Box: #1 What Happens to Old Knitting?

I have a lot of old scarves that were stored in a plastic box on a shelf in my closet.  These are really very old scarves that I have not worn for years and years.

Some were hand knitted.  I made them many years ago.  I pulled the box down because I remembered this set.

I was planning a design that I thought had something in common with these pieces.  I did not get anywhere with that plan, but I also did not miss out on the learning opportunity that was in my box.

1)  The mittens were actually used the most.  The edges are grayed and fuzzy.  Simple and practical items do get used.
2)  I never wore the hat.  I do not wear hats unless I really need to, and this particular hat was (from day one) very loose.  It could use a band of ribbing.  There is actually a seam (near bottom of photo) in this hat.  I would never make a seamed hat now.  Ill-fitting items with questionable construction will not be worn.   
3)  I do not remember wearing the scarf either. It looks OK, but has an edging that won't stop curling, or, I should say flipping.  I don't really like the scarf.  Right around the same time that I made this set, I also made another natural colored scarf -- all in seed stitch and with a light fringe.  I wore it often, and I still like it best when I go skiing.  I have a strong preference for scarves that look good on both sides and have neat edges.  Sometimes good design is in the details.  (And, in the case of the seed stitch scarf, I repeat: Simple and practical items do get used.)

Why have I kept this set for so long?  Many times in recent years I have remembered this or that sweater that I knitted and loved, but that is now only a memory.  It saddens me that, try as I might, I cannot remember when or why I gave up many items of my beloved knitting.

Of course the answer is that they no longer fit or flattered in terms of what was current.  Or they showed signs of wear... graying fuzziness, spots or even holes.  But I did let them go when it was time.

At opposite extremes are those that were loved and worn to death and those that were never quite right and eventually discarded.

I will donate the set to the Salvation Army Store.  It is the right thing to do.


  1. I have an old project that I simply cannot get rid of. It is the first cardigan sweater I ever made for myself. Very simple garment - stockinette stitch with ribbing on the cuffs and hem - crew neck line.

    First of all it is enormous!! Obviously no gauge swatch was done and I thought of myself as bigger I guess. The arms are long enough to fit a gorilla. Then there is the problem of the two front panels. I used one size needle for the left side and a different size needle for the right side. I didn't catch this until I finished both and they were different sizes. LOL. So instead of doing the right thing - ripping out one of them and re-knitting it - I decided that blocking would make the small size bigger - and it did - but it also made it thinner and stretched out. I wear this sweater once in awhile when it is very cold. It fits over many layers of other garments and it is very cozy and warm. And I could be pregnant with triplets and no one would know. BUT, it was my first sweater and I have a certain attachment to it. So it stays!! :-)

    1. I enjoyed reading your comment, Elaine! I can just picture that big warm and cozy sweater. And I appreciate your attachment to it :-)

  2. Last year, as I helped my parents sort through things in the attic, I came across some of my teenaged knitting. Psychedelic, variegated, gloves - crazy looking things. I wish that I had not tossed them!

    1. Hi Tracy. Isn't it too bad that we can't keep them all? I wish I could see some of your "crazy looking things". Thanks for commenting!

  3. One of my first projects as a pink acrylic poncho. I was so proud of it, but if I saw it now, I'd probably think otherwise.
    Thanks for jogging my memory, Carolyn.