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As of late, my reading material has deteriorated to bestsellers on how to lose excess fat. This is basically a response to my upcoming wedding in July, however, it’s not exactly feel-good material before bed! Thankfully, my nightstand has now been taken over by various histories of knitting across the world. These books, celebrating women (and men) and the impact of needlework on our world, are a much more enjoyable alternative.

The diaries and letters of early American knitters are occasionally featured in Anne L. MacDonald’s No Idle Hands. First-person accounts were always my favorite thing to feature in museum exhibits. Curatorial text was always good for building context and summarizing various phenomena and events, but the actual words of the people involved are both fascinating windows into the everyday lives of others and reflections of the many characteristics we share in common. To me, those are the really valuable nuggets.

The following passage from the Civil-War-era diary of Anna Green Winslow, a Southern girl sent to Boston to finish her education with her aunts, indicates an existence filled with knitting work. ” [S]he added, ‘When I inform you that my needle work at school, and knitting at home, went on as usual, I think I have laid before you a pretty full account of the last week’” [MacDonald 1990:22]. Anna didn’t have to elaborate. She spent a lot of time knitting.

I love that passage, as it’s pretty much how my days go at the moment. With the exception of a few recent days at Disneyland for my niece’s 5th birthday, I am usually planning my wedding or getting patterns written and edited for this site. That’s a pretty full account of my time. There are so many patterns in my head and notebook, but I need to finish one at a time! Same goes for the wedding plans. I just need to keep my head down and persevere.

Really, though, there are things I can report on. For example, this heart pillow pattern. I received two free skeins of Rowan’s Big Wool at the Vogue Knitting LIVE conference and have been wondering what to do with them. They pose a bit of a conundrum for me: 1) they’re red; 2) they’re bulky; 3) there are only two. I almost never work with reds, I favor DK weight, and would prefer a pack of 12. But they were free and I am grateful! So this little guy popped off my needles while I was supposed to be finishing the editing on the Emma Mae Louise pattern.

Just so you know, it is absolutely a coincidence that yesterday was Valentine’s Day. Today is arguably the worst day of the year to post something like this, haha. I simply thought this yarn needed to hold love notes, all year long.

ETA: This used to be a free pattern, but I’ve removed it in accordance with my decision to no longer provide free patterns. Granted, hundreds of you now have it, and that’s great! I hope it provides many hours of knitting enjoyment! However, from this point forward, I will be asking for a tiny bit of compensation in exchange for the work that went into creating it for you. Thank you for understanding!

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