A Box Full of Memories

As the leaves are past peak here and the temperatures feel mostly down for good, it’s become apparent that I needed to re-organize the cedar chest where I keep most of my handknits. I did not take a “before” picture, but to know what it looked like all you have to do is imagine a heap of handknits wadded together in a ball and smooshed down — that was about it!

As I started pulling stuff out and tossing it into heaps with like articles…

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I realized that I don’t just have a wealth of handknits, I have a box full of memories at the foot of my bed.

Folding sweaters and pairing socks and separating out big shawls from scarves from lace shawls, I was reminded of the history of each piece. And I thought, what a sweet nostalgia-inducing collection I have here at my fingertips.

There’s a scarf I crocheted for Mr. Knitting Sarah before our kids were born. I bought the yarn back in Madison when I was still working in the area.

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Somwhere I have a picture of Mr. KS wearing it in a McDonald’s playland one winter day having taken our toddler babes to run some energy off.

There’s the first shawl I ever knit as a shop sample when I took on teaching knitting…

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Boneyard Shawl by Stephen West made in Malabrigo Silky Merino. This was way back when I had to print a Stephen West pattern from a blog he posted, I think, because he was not yet publishing patterns.

And there is the last item I knitted as a knitting instructor…

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The Carter Cardigan by Laura Chau knit in Lamb’s Pride Worsted. I never got to teach the class, but it was and still is an amazing sweater!

There’s this Quaker Ridge Shawlette by Susan B. Anderson

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I knit it in Madelinetosh Pashmina. When I made this one, I remember thinking it was the height of luxury as it is so soft and cozy and the colors were just a beachy dream to me.

There’s this little kerchief I knit in the skein of qiviut that Mr. KS gave me as a gift one holiday…

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The pattern was kind of a train wreck, but I muddled through and it’s still a favorite piece as it was such a thoughtful gift.

There’s this little sweater I knit as a shop sample and then my daughter later got to wear…

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I always meant to gift this to another little girl, but I’ve never gotten around to it.

There’s Deco by Kate Davies

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I knit this as knitalong with a friend shortly after I left teaching. I made it five years ago and it’s probably the best made sweater I’ve knitted. I like to think it was the excellent company during the process!

There’s my most worn sweater — Agnes in Quince & Co Puffin.

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It looks pretty rough and could use a spin with the Gleener to clean up the lint, but in its almost 3 years of life, it’s been on almost every wintry outdoor adventure I’ve been on. That is a lot of wear and oh, how I am thankful for this sweater!

There’s my second Three Waters Farm knit (the first I gifted away)…

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Samothrace Wings in Broken Pavement that taught me what a true joy it was to knit with handspun.

And my first handspun sweater…

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A Featherweight Cardigan in Birds in the Holly from Three Waters Farm, which is still a layering favorite.

And there’s this little handspun shawl knit with a friend’s handspun after she said, “Let’s do an exchange.”

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It’s a Pebble Beach Shawl in the colorway Pebble.

 

There’s my first pair of socks for the Socks with Sarah KAL

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Still in use almost 5 years later.

And there’s my first 100% handspun socks

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Oh, the fit on these is divine. My heart still flutters a bit when I put them on.

And then there’s the knit where it all started, my very first handknit…

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Before Ravelry, before my kids, before we bought our first house, knit in our last apartment in Madison. A simple custom cardigan knit in Lamb’s Pride Bulky so it is basically like wearing a furnace, I’ve never actually worn it anywhere as my first teacher didn’t really teach me about gauge… well, you know how that story ends. Despite the ill-fit, I’ve not yet had the heart to get rid of it.

Along with these memories are a bunch of other socks and sweaters and scarves and shawls, each with their own story. And isn’t that just the best part of handknits — they each hold a place in time and in our hearts. Tidying up my cedar chest quickly turned from chore to a stroll down memory lane. Not a bad way to spend a few minutes this Monday morning, tidying up a chest to make it easier to use my handknits and sifting through a box full of memories.

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18 thoughts on “A Box Full of Memories

  1. All so beautiful! What a treasure. I love the chest too. I need to find something like this as my handknit collection (slowly) grows. I’d really hate to pull something out of the closet and find a hole in it from a critter. 😦

    1. My grandpa actually made the chest for my grandma! I have another though, that my hubby picked up for me from an antique shop. Believe it or not you can pick them up at almost any antique shop!

  2. What a fun post! So many great memories tied up in yarn. 😉. I am wearing a Lamb’s Pride worsted sweater today, it is lovely and warm. And I too have a bulky one that is like a furnace! It’s cabled and weighs three tons, but I love it in January!

    And you have made Deco… it’s in my queue, I love it. So glad you learned about gauge.

    Your socks and shawls are all lovely, and that box is full of treasures. Best keep it locked or the sproingy haired bandit will make off with the treasures!

    1. Deco is one of the best sweater patterns I’ve encountered. Yes, it’s clearly written, but beyond that the professional touches used in it are phenomenal.

      I’m glad I learned about gauge as well! 🤣

      1. Kate Davies is very detail oriented – so I am glad to learn that about her sweater pattern. I have knit one of her shawls – in fact, and huddled in it today – and I have the book of Haps, but haven’t knit from it yet.

      2. I have not read any but the Hap book. I also am tempted! It is amazing what she has overcome. But the stroke is the reason we have her in our world, without it she likely would have continued her old career track.

        I will have to move Deco up the list.

  3. These knits are a joy to look through! They must bring you so much pleasure and pride every time you look at them 🙂

  4. I love this! Your knits are beautiful. Keeping them in a cedar chest is such a great idea too. I don’t keep mine altogether, but it’s so rewarding to see the knits add up, each with its special memories over the years.

    1. I have this chest and a rack next to my bed for the ones in frequent use. And I usually keep a shawl downstairs. Generally though, if they don’t fit in those places, I start to give things away. ❤️

  5. This reminds me of going through my Christmas ornaments, each with a story and a reminder of where it was acquired or how I came to have it. Each of your memories is so precious and what a wonderful way to relive them. And what beauties – even the early pieces you’re not wild about are beautiful in their own ways. Great post.

  6. Handknits are so precious – you should keep them all, imagine all those hours of work. I love to dive into a box of things I’ve made, not always worthy of showing off to others but at least I know I made good use of some of my time when I made them. Rather a lot of wonky stuff in my box, funnily enough!

    1. Oh, they are all gems, I’m sure! You know, I never mind giving handknits away to those who appreciate them. ❤️ I am of the “I can always make more” school of thought! 😂

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