Bundled in Joy

Sometimes your reaction to an event takes you by surprise. That happened to me when Prince George was born on July 22. Of course, I knew there would be a little prince or princess born this summer, but I wasn't keeping tabs on Kate's pregnancy, except for one time when I browsed a tabloid in the supermarket line, learning all about her maternity wardrobe. Cute stuff, actually!

One of the Royal Baby Beanies Margaret Stove created for the Summer 2013 issue of Spin-Off

Anyway, when the prince was debuted, I kind of fell in love. The little guy is so adorable! And his parents are clearly crazy about him. So precious, this tiny prince, and so loved.

And what touched my knitter's heart was that he appeared to be wrapped in a lovely knit lace receiving blanket. Turns out, it wasn't a handknit blanket (but it was still beautiful!). But the story doesn't end there; I'll pass this over to Spin-Off editor Amy Clarke Moore to tell you more.

On Following the Royal Birth

Just like the much anticipated arrival of many babies, there was a lot of excitement when Prince George made his debut. Whether watched by the entire world or just a close knit family, the entry into the world of a new life is a beautiful thing to witness. Every child should be so adored.

NPR's Scott Simon shared the beautiful and touching experience of being with his mother in her final moments on his Twitter feed—among the many poignant moments, he reports, "My mother in ICU sees Kate & Will holding baby and tears: "Every baby boy is a little king to his parents." So I tear, too."

It is these shared experiences that have the power to bring us together across the expanse of time, culture, experience, and space. Simply because we know with certainty that every human is born and every human will die. In between we do what we can with the time and skills we've been given. And some of us spin.

So, when Kate Middleton and Prince William stepped out of the hospital to the awaiting throngs, and they held Prince George in a knitted wool blanket, the spinners and knitters paid close attention. They scrutinized that knitted wool blanket—getting snap shots from live video and the photos that were flying around the world at the speed of light—trying to figure out how it was made and how to get the pattern.

At this point, Margaret Stove's phone started ringing off the hook. The knitters and spinners in New Zealand knew that Margaret Stove's pattern for the Filmy Fern Shawl from Wrapped in Lace (Interweave, 2010) had been used to make the handspun, handknitted shawl that was the official gift to the royal couple from New Zealand.

Margaret Stove's Filmy Fern Shawl
from Wrapped in Lace

Also under speculation was whether or not the young couple had wrapped their baby in an heirloom shawl, such as the one that Prince William had appeared in when Princess Diana and Prince Charles stood on those same steps thirty-one years earlier. Or if it was the Bush Banquet Shawl that we featured in the Summer 2013 issue of Spin-Off that Margaret Stove handspun and knitted.

It was quickly determined that the blanket (or shawl) was manufactured by G. H. Hurt & Son—a small, family-owned business that quickly sold out of the Merino christening shawls.

Margaret Stove reports that her national woolcrafts organization, Creative Fibre, has a project underway for the members to knit baby vests to donate to their local hospitals and birthing units for all babies born during this next year as a memento of the royal birth. They will have a special label to mark the occasion.

I'm reminded of the sweet handknitted hat that my daughter received from the hospital on the occasion of her birth—that an anonymous knitter had knitted and donated to the hospital with the belief that every baby is a precious gift to be cherished.

—Amy Clarke Moore, from Spinning Daily

I looked into G.H. Hurt & Son, and they have a really amazing history. The company has been producing fine lace knitwear since 1912. Their collection of vintage handframe machines, designed in 1589 by Reverend William Lee, are still in use, alongside modern knitting machines.

Pretty amazing. But we knitters (and spinners!) can make our own heirloom shawls, shawls that carry that extra bit of love that's spun and knit into each stitch. In fact all baby knits carry love with them, and they're so darling, to boot.

Spin-Off magazine is full of lovely tidbits about all sorts of interesting topics, plus patterns for handspun yarn, and valuable spinning instruction. Try a subscription to Spin-Off! You'll love the inspiration Amy offers in each issue.


P.S. I'm knitting some booties to send to little Prince George. Have you knit anything for the prince, or for a new little prince or princess in your life? Leave a comment and let us know!

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