Monday, April 30, 2012


I often find that knitting connects me.   Knitting connects me to the person who designed and created the pattern I'm using.  If I'm doing some "designing" (in quotes 'cause I'm not a real designer) it connects me to Barbara Walker and her great treasuries of stitches.  If I'm using hand painted yarn, I'm connected to the person who created the wonderful colorway.

I'm always connected to my past when knitting, to my mother and grandmother, who taught me to knit (and some basic crochet stitches).  I learned to form the stitches, follow the pattern, shape the pieces and finish the garment from watching what they had to show me.  In those days (1950 - 60 era) almost every girl learned these skills.   My Mother is the "nana" of Nana's Needles.

 To stay connected to my past, I have saved my mother's old knitting books and needles. It is with great pride that I hang these in my home, appropriately enough in my "sewing and knitting room".  These are such treasures and I'm so glad they all survived so I can own them.
My Mothers Knitting Books and her plastic needles

Yesterday I was connected to myself with knitting.  It is strange that you can re-connect with your own past through knitting, but I did.  In the early and mid 1960's I was in nursing school and due to a midlife  baby for my mother, I had a 3 year old sister at home.  For Christmas one year, I bought yarn and knit the cutest sweater and skirt for her.  It was knit in a blue yarn, probably sport weight and wool.  The skirt was pleated and the sweater was a top down raglan with a cabled yoke.  I sat in my dorm room and knit this in my spare time.  I remember it as if I just knit it yesterday.   When my parents died in the 1990s and we were cleaning out the house I actually found the sweater and skirt + the directions to knit them.  Not being into knitting at the time, I unfortunately threw both in the trash.    

Back to yesterday... I was knitting a pattern on US 4s which called for K3tog at times, which can be very hard to do without sharp points and firm needles.  The bamboos and the acrylics were not getting the job done, so I went hunting in my knitting supplies and look what I found.  A whole set of aluminum size 4 doublepoints!  You can tell from the package that these must be old.  I wonder what I paid for them in the mid 1960s.   

US size 4 Princess Aluminum Knitting Needles

I immediately remembered using these to knit the sleeves of my toddler sister's blue top down raglan sweater.  What a find!  Imagine these needles have been moved from North Carolina to Louisiana to Tennessee to Missouri to Kansas and now in Colorado.  I was thrilled to find them, and guess what? They worked perfectly for the knitting plus they connected me to my younger self, simpler times and days gone by.  I wish everyone could have such connections!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Do You Still Knit?

There are many things in life that we try and let it fall by the wayside.  There may be a million excuses for not continuing.   Get too busy, lose interest, have something that takes it's place?  Who knows why, but our obsessions sometimes wax and wane.  I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately.  Not sure why, but in looking back at blogs saw that this one has really fallen by the wayside.  So, I think I'll start blogging again.  If nothing else just to give my hands a rest from almost constant knitting.  

Do you still knit?  Has that fallen by the wayside as well?  If anything,  I've become more obsessed with it.  It is my constant companion, in my bedroom, in my den, in the hotel, on the plane, while I watch TV, while I read a book, while I listen to music, while I listen to podcasts.  You name it, I knit.    I find about the only times I don't knit is in the movie theater (although I could garter stitch through that, but the butter on the popcorn would stain the yarn!)  and while I drive. has been a place to post pictures of projects - my name there is Nannyknitter and anyone can see that I've posted several projects over the years.  I didn't post pics of Christmas presents so there were even more projects.

I'm especially proud of The Twelve Scarves of Christmas - a scarf for each of the 12 days of Christmas.  These aren't literal interpretations (except the Five Golden Rings) and some even have feathers!   Check them out - the patterns are for sale there.  Some patterns sold at first, but I'm not planning to retire on that income! LOL  The patterns are also on   Look for the designs of Nancy Totten at both websites.

The Twelve Scarves of Christmas 

After a lot of work and not much return on the patterns, I decided to knit an endless loop scarf using the scroll pattern.  I called this Waves of Grain Loop and put it on for FREE.  It has had 400+ downloads so far!  Maybe that is the way to go.  People always like something for FREE, right?

My Waves of Grain Loop - doubled as a cowl

I've become obsessed with Downton Abbey on PBS this year.   I downloaded season 1 and season 2 to my iPad and find the episodes to be great fun while flying (which I still do every week- although I am semi-retired).  I believe in combining passions, when possible, so am working on a new project, which I will call The Abbey Collection of Scarves, Shawls and Wraps.  The patterns for Mista Bates, Anna, Lord Grantham and Sybil are fixed in my head and will be knit soon.  Look for this collection on with more added as others are completed.   It is so fun to be knitting (what I think will  be a part of the collection) while watching the episodes!  The acting is wonderful and the story lines are fantastic.  Luv, Luv, Luv Downton Abbey.  Can't wait for season 3 which will include Shirley MacLaine as the American "grand mama."

So rambling aside for the day and hands rested, will return to my knitting.  Hope you are still knitting as well.