Handknit and Handpainted: Tools

September 18, 2019

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40 Comments
  • Yes! My tools are important to me too. (And my husband, you should see his shed!)

    I recently culled my collection to donate the extras to Project Knitwell. I hated to part with them, even though I hardly ever use them. And even though I knew I would be helping someone else learn to love knitting and all the benefits it brings.

    Thanks for putting into words the feelings that I’m sure we all have.

    • I will have to tell my mother about Project Knitwell. What a wonderful idea!

  • Love the Berkshires, such a welcoming area. I would make an overnight stop when traveling to my family in Sudbury, MA. And yes Colorful Stitches was a stop. I still have a few cakes I purchased from that shop. Ohhhh the memories, hope you enjoyed your travels and the wedding.

    • I love the Berkshires, too! What an inspiring area!

  • Growing up, I admired my mother’s notion container, which was a decorative cookie tin filled with needles, treads, buttons, beautiful pieces of lace, scissors (never to be used for school projects), seashells, and other small ephemera that fascinated me as a young child. For my wedding shower I was presented with my own decorative cookie tin filled with presumed necessary notions to start a crafty home. My mother announced that this special gift was from the elderly and beloved family dog. Indeed the card was “signed” with her paw print. Today this cookie tin is scratched, dented and a survivor of multiple moves over 47 years. Some contents are original and some have been replaced but these cherished memories are priceless.

    • This gift! This story! Makes my day.

    • Omg… tearing up reading this. How incredibly touching! I so wish I had my dear mother’s button tin,

      • I remember my grandmother’s button tin very well. It was a blue and white Wedgwood cake tin, acquired in England when I was born there while my Dad was serving in the USAF. It had wonderful buttons, among them little ones shaped like hearts, clubs spades and diamonds that she saved from a special cardigan she had for when she played bridge.

        I don’t know what happened to it but I now have one of my own. I walked into a local thrift shop one morning and saw that exact tin. Tears welled up in my eyes twice: once when I saw it and again when, without a word from me, my husband walked over to the counter and bought it for me. My buttons are a bit less interesting than my grandmother’s but they have the same lovely home. Every time I look at that tin I think of my grandmother and smile. And sometimes cry.

    • What a wonderful story! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Lyle’s Golden Syrup are to the old fashioned conneseur what knitting needles and fluffy wool are to the traveller in search of honesty integrity and a whisper in the wind ‘Come this way – the Eternal Way’ never to be forgotten
    Forever in our Hearts and Souls

    • I will have to look up Lyle’s Golden Syrup – sounds delicious!

      • Don’t you have lyles golden syrup in the states? It is such an integral part of British comfort eating! I totally get what Caroline means 😀

        • Until fairly recently Lyle’s Golden Syrup was hard to find in the States. My grocery store started carrying it several months ago, and I immediately bought some, but have now only used it once. But I had wanted Lyle’s Golden Syrup for so long!

  • Thank you for sharing this awesome part of your relationship with your Mother and knitting!

    • My mom and I had a nice little adventure together – glad you enjoyed the story!

  • I love this story! When my grandmother passed in ‘92, at the age of 92, I inherited all of her tools and more. She was a seamstress, crocheter, knitter, needlepointer, embroiderer and the best cook! I have her worn and bent crochet hooks, scissors, thimble, framed embroidery on silk, finely crocheted doilies (even collars!), pillows, antique button collection, button hooks and even her old Singer sewing machine in it’s Victorian cabinet. I’ve used many of these items, and added much to it over the years but could never part with any of them. They are definitely a part of me as is she.

    • Your grandmother’s collection sounds amazing – what a painting that would make!

    • My great aunt (a Londoner who lived in the Shetland isles for many years) recently passed away, at the ripe old age of 91, and I am now the lucky inheritor of three different sized table top looms, a spinning wheel, all her knitting needles, so much yarn and fleece I’ve had to donate some to charity, her button tin (in which all the buttons have been stitched onto cards in sets and ordered by colour) and all her ufos! I am only hoping I can eventually find the time to do more than just knit with the yarn!

  • Colorful Stitches is a wonderful shop! I’m glad you had a chance to visit there. I wish someone had provided me with more information before I bought my first (of five) set of interchangeable needles. Having your work come apart mid row is not fun.

    • Oh no! I hope you didn’t loose too much work!

  • When I started knitting (Jan 2018) I visited my Mom for help casting on. She started knitting when she was 16. She’s 88 now and doesn’t knit much anymore. She gave me her old circular needles which I tried using but the cords are too stiff compared to today’s material but I keep them because Mom made beautiful knits with them. She also gave me all her old pattern booklets. They used to be published & sold by yarn companies; Columbia-Minerva, Patons, Bernat. Cost 50 cents to $3 for booklets & leaflets of more than 1 pattern! I get all my patterns on line but I love looking at the styling in these old pictures and Mom has notes written on the ones she’s made. They’re keepers!

    • How lovely that you appreciate her tools and patterns! And that you learned to knit, too!

  • Loved this story! I, too, love my fiber, bead, & paint tools! I would be bereft without them cluttering my studio.

    • So glad you enjoyed and can relate to the story!

  • After three weeks in Norway, when I successfully carried my knitting on every imaginable conveyance (planes, trains, streetcars, busses, boats), I left it on the plane when we returned home. (I was SO jet-lagged!) A weekend on the phone with airport personnel and a touching e-mail correspondence with someone in Keflavik, Iceland finally led me to recover it. While I grieved the almost-finished pair of socks for a friend, what really crushed me was the thought of losing all my tools (a zillion stitch markers that I seldom use, those scissors that don’t work very well, ancient hardened rubber things you put on the end of DPs). They tie me to my own past (when I wasn’t a good enough knitter to recognize decent tools) and to my mother, who was always a knitter. I TOTALLY get this post!

    • Wow! What a story! I’m so glad you got your tools back!!!

  • Thank you for this. I have tools from my great grandmother that I don’t know what they were used for. And I can’t sew a stitch without my shiny metal thimble.

    • I’m thrilled you enjoyed the story!

  • Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you Zoe! I’m thrilled you enjoyed the story!

  • A funny side note. I was reading this at work (I know, I’m bad) and suddenly had to attend an impromptu webex meeting. I needed to share, and don’t you know, the share started with this screen!! One of the developers said, “I know you’re crazy about knitting, but now you’re looking at artwork of knitting?!” I just said, “Yup!”

    • Too funny! The ‘yup’ says it all!

  • I love your paintings of all your tools. An inspiration to me and aren’t you lucky to take a trip with your mom!

    • Thank you, Ivy! Yes, I am glad my mom decided to come along with me!

  • Let me guess. You stayed at or near The Red Lion. The best time of year to come back up Route 7 is the late fall -late October- when the leaves are so colorful and still on the trees. It’s sweater weather there this week. Next time you are coming to New England, consider the NY State Sheep & Wool Festival. Some of my knitting group are taking a field trip. It’s in Rhinebeck, NY. Along with the Berkshires, there isn’t a more beautiful place to be in the fall.

    • You are so right about the beauty of the fall time. I need to plan a trip asap!

    • You are SO right!! I remember our trip there with fond memories! Fall, Red Lion Inn, Sudbury…… fabulous. Should do that again.

  • Love this story and the drawings. ❤️

    • Thank you Vivian!

  • Tools, oh tools. I love three generations of sewing tools. In the way back time of pre-computer architecture, I went with a date to pick up something at his office. He had a full set of Berol Prismacolor pencils in the black box with the cardboard prop on display. Reader, I married him.