Most knitting magazines today are to a large extent about style—lovely models, this season's new yarns, this year's fashion looks. I love them for their freshness, inspiration, and inventiveness—I get some really good ideas from them. But for me personally, knitting is really about heritage, family, things lovingly made for the ones we love. I love garments that are going to stand the test of time.
I am lucky to have inherited a "treasure box" full of knitted, crocheted, and handsewn garments that have been passed down to me from both sides of my family. I suppose it is natural that my family gives me the heirlooms that are made of yarn. After being passed from hand to hand over many generations, most are too fragile to wear, but I take them out every now and then to look at them. I imagine my Grandma bathing her babies, then stuffing their pudgy arms and legs into the outfits, stopping to kiss them, and blow raspberries on their tummies.
I thought of my treasure box when I picked up my copy of our sister publication's new special issue, PieceWork's Knitting Traditions. It's like a treasure box itself—a trove of lovely old patterns, intriguing old techniques, and the poignant stories behind them. A Sweater and Bonnet for Baby by Susan Levin on page 49 could have come right out of my cedar-lined wood box. I look at the sweater and bonnet and have a sudden urge to drop everything and start spinning the yarn for matching sweaters and bonnets for my girls—I love the red trim on the miniature items especially and am imagining spinning a soft silk red yarn and adding it to my version of the sweater and bonnets.
Maybe the little booties, mittens, hats, and sweaters I've made my girls, after many years of use, will be deemed worthy of the treasure box. I can only hope.