Tuesday, December 20, 2011

holiday sweaters + names for knitters

sincerely love holiday sweaters like the ones above, and  I'm pretty obsessed with hand knit items and wool, in general, so Santa came a bit early to deliver some wooly goodies for the cooler weather. Of course, this has me thinking about the people, hands and names attached to it all, along with great names for those who love knitting!  

In the first two photos you'll find vintage, hand knit sweaters from Canadian shop, Bondplace Vintage. These are mine and the girls' official holiday sweaters. Mine actually isn't very holiday like at all, but I couldn't resist it. It's warmer (and certainly cozier!) than most of my coats, so I've been living in it while we make holiday decorations in the back yard-- I think that makes it my holiday sweater!  The sweaters came with a lovely note and wooden deer ornament, and I just couldn't be happier with them. My only regret is that I didn't snatch up this  hooded penguin sweater and this Mulberry sweater. I rather like the sound of Mulberry, and think it has some pretty great nickname options. Bondplace has a lot of vintage, hand knit goodies and they're having a sale for the holidays!

The third photo features a yellow hand knit sweater I picked up at a thrift store for $2.50! It's the softest sweater in the world and has stayed super nice without much care and with a lot of wear. The pants  ('woolies') are great for cloth diapering or over a pair of leggings for the really cold days. I'm almost sad for the sweater that was repurposed to make them because it must have been a really rad sweater!  Also rad? the name of the shop: Flora Gayle.

The ivory fisherman sweater in the fourth photo is a vintage, hand knit goodie I bought on ebay from Rita in Oregon. I was so happy to discover her name because Rita is also my mothers' name (who was also a knitter).  The awesome kneepad (!!!) woolies are from shop Cloth Diaper Club.

The beautiful blue-green sweater in the fifth photo is a  hand knit sweater I found for $2.00 (alongside the yellow one) at the thrift store. What I love so much, besides the  color, pattern and brown bear buttons (!!!), is that it still has it's "Merry Christmas. Hand knit by Betsy" tag attached.  I'll never know who originally received this little treasure from Betsy or why she gave it up, but the tag makes me absolutely giddy with a feeling of specialness, as if Betsy had intended it for us all along.  She hadn't, but needless to say, I'm happy it's we who get to enjoy her hard work and thoughtfulness!  The scarf was a gift, and I'm unaware of it's maker. The crocheted, peach booties are from shop Lovey Dovey Boutique (Love and Dove are both beautiful names on people, too!)  Dovey is actually shop owner Jenna's surname; I sure hope someone down the line in her family opts to use it!

The sixth photo features another sweater from Rita's shop and more Dovey booties. The hat is mine (from J. Crew last year) but it looks better on Nona and she loves to wear it! 

The seventh features blue heart-patch pants, again by Flora Gayle-- I just couldn't resist posting a photo with Valo June's sweet, little hand! 

The eighth photo is of the softest-ever pair of woolies by Joy Barry (here). I'm so in love with the color! It goes with absolutely everything. 

The ninth photo is a little set from the 1950's I picked up on ebay from a lady named Trudy

And the tenth and final photo is a collection of our absolute most precious treasures. They were all knit and hand stitched by my mother, Rita Gail (second Rita and second Gail today, linked through knitting. love it.) Her knitting journey is really quite inspirational. My mother didn't even start knitting until she was almost fifty, just several years before her death, and she loved almost nothing more. I remind myself of this when I feel tempted to fall into the "I still haven't....and I'm in my thirties now!" mindset. This will be our first Christmas without my beautiful mother, so these pretties are featured prominently in our home and we look at them daily. I'm so proud and admiring of my mom for, amongst so many other things, how she always continued to grow and search throughout her adult life, to always find new things to love, new challenges, new friends; never ever being too proud to show her humble, curious nature to her children, to show us that she was a work in progress.   I'm so happy to feature these special pieces of her story. (the monkey is called Baby Lulu, after a song).

Finally, there are some interesting names to be found in the world of knitting.  Even though weaving and knitting are technically different practices, weft (a type of knitting) comes from wefan, meaning "to weave", so I think Weaver and its related Loom (which I've mentioned a few times before) are names to consider if you love knitting.  Selvedge might work for the last child born to a knitting family. There's also Purl, as in the purl stitch, though this one is a bit tricky given that it could sound like a yooneek spelling of Pearl, so I might just stick to Pearl and consider it associated enough.  Another type of stitch? the Moss stitch can honor knitting and nature at the same time; moss is absolutely one of my favorite things to stop and study with my girls, one of the most brilliant colors in the universe! 

Notorious knitters include Elisabeth Zimmerman, Alice Starmore, Julia Hopson, and Magda Sayeg who's known for starting the knit graffiti movement 'yarn bombing' in the U.S. (so. super. neat.)  Clotho, from the Greek's version of the Parcae was the spinner of the thread of life, and we know I'm fond of the Roman's version. And if Yarn, itself, doesn't seem an attractive name choice, there are yarns made from Cotton, Flax, Jute and Nettle.  There's the latin Neo, which means to spin thread and yarn, to interweave.  Yarn in Basque is Hari, Lanka in Finnish, Fio in Portuguese. and Keito in Japanese. Stitch, which seems an appropriate analogy for a child within a family, is Sutetchi in Japanese, Ommel in Finnish, and Sauma in Icelandic. 

From today's inspirations:



Flora Gayle































Any potential knitting names I've left out?  Would you consider honoring a favorite hobby in naming someone?  How would you pair these?

(images: mine. I really want to occasionally use this blog to help me learn photography and styling...so thanks for your patience! Hopefully you'll get to watch growth unfolding, which is always one of my favorite things in reading a blog; I love to start with beginning posts and see how they evolve.) 

Stay tuned for names inspired by holiday decorations and activities! 


  1. I love hand knits so much. 5,6,9, and 10 are my favorites here. My mother taught herself to knit from a book when she was just a girl. The sweaters and dresses she's knitted for my girls are definitely ones we treasure. She taught me to knit years ago and now my 6 year old has been asking to learn too. I love knowing that the skill itself, in addition to the actual items, can be an heirloom craft, passed from generation to generation.

    (Flora Gayle is lovely. Dove has really been growing on me lately too.)

  2. Oh, and Lace could definitely be another knitting name for this list.

  3. thank you, eBirdie--lovely contribution, as always! I love the idea of a particular skill being an heirloom in itself!