Over the years I have knitted a mountain of squares on behalf of a school charity programme that collected the squares in order to make blankets to distribute among those in need during the winter. Knitting these plain squares was never particularly interesting – choosing yarns of different colours was the only variation I could enjoy. In retrospect, I would have preferred knitting the long strips favoured by the annual Hospice project.

There are few things as warm or as comforting as a hand-knitted cap, jersey, scarf or blanket. I have always wondered exactly who the recipients of these ‘charity blankets’ are and how many of them actually reach those most in need of them. Having spent many years working for an NGO, I am acutely aware of the temptations that arise with every arrival of boxes of donated goods.

The yen to knit would wax and wane with nothing to show for it. I had become ‘squared out’ and I cast around for a knitting project that would be both creative and useful. Ideally too, it wouldn’t take too long to complete. I scanned the internet to find a suitable pattern for a woolly hat. After fits and starts, I found one that worked, so bought yarn to knit a hat for my youngest granddaughter. I completed it satisfyingly quickly – although I had to remind myself how to make a pompom!

My plan was to deliver it on my next trip to Cape Town. My daughter asked me to knit one for her son too, which I did with pleasure. Then she wanted one too … I took all three to Cape Town sometime later.

I thought that particular project was over until a few months later when my brother told me of a woollen hat he had purchased that had started to unravel once he had removed the pompom. As I had yarn, I decided to surprise him with a hand-knitted one. The courier fees cost three times more than the yarn would have. It had been a fun project though.

Another ‘order’ came through: would I knit one for my son-in-law? Once that, my fifth, was complete I filed away the pattern, still thinking that such hats would make a good charity project. At least they are useful, warm and personal: once you receive a hat it becomes yours. The thought lingered for a while and then died away. To knit hats for charity meant that the spectre of the pressure to produce them in great quantities would rear its head once more. I am not in that league. I want to knit for pleasure and not as a ‘production line’.

The itch to knit would rise; I would check out free patterns on the internet; and once even considered knitting a tea cosy. I actually started one and then unravelled it. The needles stayed put as I continued to busy myself with other projects.

Despite my enjoyment of gardening, reading, writing and watching birds, there remained an unfulfilled spark of creativity that needed to be fanned to keep it alive. It is far too easy to feel ‘squashed’ by the constant need to get the laundry and ironing done along with cooking and general housework. I seldom have sufficient unbroken time to devote to the writing I would love to devote hours to …

Which brings me back to knitting. I happened to see a pattern for a square with a motif of a camel on it in a newsfeed. Searching online, I found these patterns, each bearing a whole variety of motifs.

I knitted one with a bee very quickly, followed by a dove. This was fun, quick and easy. What would I do with them? Squares in the same series containing the letters of the alphabet inspired me to knit a blanket for my four grandchildren, each with their name on it.

Little did I realise at the time what a labour of love this would prove to be! The first two blankets were sewn together while my Cape Town grandchildren were less than an hour away from arriving on my doorstep. The last two were sewn together the night before my Norwegian grandchildren arrived!

To my joy, the ‘Granny blankets’ have been well received – and I feel satisfied and ready to tackle the next project should one wink at me.



56 thoughts on “KNITTING

    • Making throws in this fashion can be fun – as long as one does feel compelled to complete a certain size in a certain time! I thought it would be a wonderful way of using up scraps of yarn – and ended up buying a whole lot more!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m sure your grandchildren will treasure these gifts even more and more as they grow older. My confession for today: I never learned to (hand) knit. I once bought a knitting machine when my children started school and successfully knitted all their school jerseys. Everyone, especially the teachers and the other parents, gushed praise for these garments – everyone, except my children. They preferred the store bought variety because it attracted too much attention. I gave the machine away.

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    • I have never learned to crochet! I remember when knitting machines were very popular. I confess we felt the same about hand-knitted school jerseys because they attracted far too much attention even though they were warmer than the store bought variety. I think as youngsters ‘blending in’ takes priority.

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      • Yes. My grandmother knit many of my school jumpers, and I remember being embarrassed having to wear them when all my friends had shop bought ones.
        I knit, but haven’t done anything for quite a while. The last thing I knitted was a jumper for my husband when he complained I never knit anything for him.
        I crochet, and also tat. The trouble with tatting is that there is seldom anything ‘useful’ to do with it. Mats, doilies etc seem to be the main thing, and there’s a limit to how many of these you need.
        I have an ongoing project of a cross-stitch picture, but it’s very fine, and I find my eyes aren’t as good as they were for close work. Light needs to be excellent, so that’s relegated to summer.
        I sympathise with you about time. I want to spend more on my writing and reading, but family always intrudes.
        (I’m not complaining, really. I love my family and having lots to do.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • The cross-stitch picture sound like an interesting project. I should perhaps turn to embroidery for our summer heat is not conducive to knitting! This is also something which can be picked up and put down.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You sound a bit like my wife, she tends to finish projects at the last minute or just in time! Her forte is sewing (making bags, blouses, dog coats, you name it) but she’s recently taught herself to crochet and has also been busy making ‘granny squares’. (They are not sewn together yet, as I’m not sure she really knows what to do with them all now!)

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  3. That is a unique afghan and I like how you can see the shapes of the animals. My late mother loved to knit and I still have items that she knit for me over the years, mostly sweater, scarves and glove sets.

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  4. Dit is so mooi. Ek sou die mussies ook wou sien, of ten minste een van hulle. Dit is vir my ook lekker om te brei en te hekel. Die genot hou nie op nie. Ek oorweeg dit om vir my sitkamer kussings te hekel. Of te brei. Die gedagte wil nie weg nie, die lus om winkels toe te gaan om wol/gare te koop, is net nog nie daar nie. Dalk omdat ek nog nie ‘n patroon gaan soek het nie? Dalk moet ek inspring en weer brei, dit maak die pad baie korter as ons ver ry.

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  5. Hand knitted school jumpoers may not be ‘cool’ (or whatever the current phrase is!) but a woolly hat or a hand made blanket seem to go down very well. The motifs make squares much more interesting to knit and the gift personalised.

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  6. Pingback: This week’s small pleasures #318 – Thistles and Kiwis

  7. I have crocheted blankets for the first fivegrandchildren. I am ashamed to say that the other four do not have a granny blanket. Your’s are pretty! And a tresure!


  8. It seems it was just “the fullness of time” for you to conceive the hat project and then receive encouragement from it with which to begin the blanket project. The blanket you show is elegant and fun at the same time. It all looks like a joyful enterprise!


    • It certainly was the ‘fullness of time’ (I like that idea) and mostly joyful – except for the frantic sewing together of the squares at the end at my time began running out! I am now knitting one for myself from the scraps of wool that were left over from this project – only I am knitting the squares in strips, if that makes sense, so that I will end up sewing strips together 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: This week’s small pleasures #319 – Thistles and Kiwis

  10. How lovely! 🙂 I did learn to knit while in North India where they have winter. Back in the south there is absolutely no need and I have forgotten how to knit 😄


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