Wednesday, 24 October 2012


Good Morning to you,

I love knitting.

I love to hear the click, clack of knitting needles. I love the way, a ball of wool, which is cast onto  a set of needles, can create something warm and cosy to wear.

My first foray into knitting was when I was seven years old and you've guessed it, Ivy taught me to knit. 

Ivy had a knitting bag full of different coloured wools, which to a young seven year old was very enticing.  Ivy's knitting was always kept in a beautiful cloth bag. One day, I asked what she was doing with the needles  and she showed me what she was making.  When I saw the half knitted jumper, I was smitten. I knew I wanted to make something out of those brightly coloured strands of wool.  I didn't know what, but Ivy helped me decided.

You would think the first thing I knitted would be something straightforward such as a scarf for my doll or a scarf for me. Oh no it was much more adventurous than was a pair of bed socks which included a pom pom on each bed sock.  Can you imagine how I felt, I was so excited to have my very own pair of bed socks, plus pom poms, I couldn't wait to start.

I chose a dark green colour and Ivy set about casting on the stitches.  I was impatient, I wanted to learn how to cast on, but she said she would show me at a later time as it was difficult. The stitches were cast on and Ivy with great patience taught me how to knit.  There were lots of knit one, drop one, which were unpicked by Ivy, but slowly, slowly I learnt to knit garter stitch. When it was my bed time I asked Ivy if I could take my knitting to bed with me, she said only if I promised not to try to knit in bed as it was time to sleep. I said I wouldn't and so off to bed I went, with  my knitting, which I placed on the bed side table.  It was very dark in Ivy's bedrooms as the windows had black out shades, which were a left over from the war years, so it was pitch black.  I tried to go to sleep, I tried to ignore the knitting, which I was so proud of, but to a young excited seven year old, it was all too much, I couldn't wait to finish those lovely bedsocks, make the pom poms and wear them to bed.  So  I tried to knit in the dark!  As you can imagine when I awoke in the morning I discovered the knitting was a complete mess, but Ivy was very kind to me and unpicked the mess and we started again.  Consequently I wasn't allowed to take my knitting to bed again, but it was a lesson learnt, because I was so disappointed to have lost the knitting that I was so proud of and  also it took me a lot longer to get those lovely bed socks on my feet.

So that was my first foray into knitting which brings me nicely to a book I found many years ago.

By now, you will have realised I love old books. I love owning a book  which someone else has thumbed through many years before me. So on that note.

Let me introduce you to,

Pansy M. Greenacre
Pansy was given  this book
as a gift at Christmas time in 1938.


 Mary Thomas's Knitting Book
Printed in March 1938

The first picture is "The Visit of the Angels" by the Master Bertram dated 1390.

This beautiful picture was part of the inside right wing of the Buxtehuder Altar, painted by Master Bertram between the years 1390 and 1400. This originally lived in the Buxtehuder Abbey and would suggest that the homely occupation of knitting was revered and encouraged by the nuns of this abbey.  It is an historical picture and of great interest to knitters, as the artist reveals that knitting then was much as it is today, even to the manner of picking up the stitches and forming the neck of a garment.

A knitted Masterpiece
with initials P.I.E.
Dated 1713

I just cannot imagine the hours and hours which went into this beautiful knitted piece of work . Also as an experienced knitter I have to say the intricacy of this work is astounding.

A s you can see, this is a Prentice Cap, which was knitted and felted.  A few felted woollen caps of early Tudor period are to be seen at the London Museum.

This handsome hat is also a knitted and felted cap but with perforations cut in the fabric. Again from the London Museum .

This is a Knitting Pouch with Hooked Knitting Needles from Landes in France. The earliest knitting needles were made with a hook at one end, like crochet hooks, and these were fashioned of copper wire. Five of these needles made a set.

I could not let this black and white picture pass without explaining who that wonderfully robust man was.   He and his wife were one of the many  Knitters of Gayle from the dales of Yorkshire. They were well known for their knitting. This is a rare picture depicting Gayle knitters of about 1878. The position of the hands indicates that both knitters are using knitting sheaths.The plate is from "Richmondshire" by Edmund Bogg. 

 Now you may wonder what an illustration of a policeman has to do with knitting. Mary Thomas included this sign which as she wrote "This mark is the well known danger signal to travellers and is used throughout this book to indicate points of vital importance where beginners are likely to falter. It should be heeded, and so save a lot of trouble. It's there to say Look out."


Throughout the book their are illustrations like the one above, which add so much humour to the book. These illustrations  were drawn by Miss Margaret Agutter. 

There are many more of these fun illustrations peppered throughout the book, which I will share with you later.

I hope you have had fun taking a glimpse of Pansy's Christmas gift.
So I will "cast off" now.

Take care and I will see you later in the week.
This week I will be joining,

Connie at Family Home and Life

This post, first appeared in Ivy, Phyllis and Me! on 24th October 2012.  I feel sure that you will enjoy being re-acquainted with this lovely 1930's knitting book. The first owner  was Pansy Greenacre who was given this knitting book as a Christmas gift  in 1938. I feel so lucky to be the current owner of this book.

As Always,

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