Sunday, July 29, 2012

What Grandma Meant by the Knitting Term "N"

My grandmother passed away back in the 1970s, but she recently reached out to teach me a new lesson.  This is the same grandmother that taught me to knit, tat and various other handicrafts.

Much of my grandmother’s craftwork treasures ended up in my aunt’s basement.  In my family, “The Basement” refers to that stash of stuff that ends up being collected for the life of the house - and sometimes longer.  My aunt and uncle had lived in their house for over 50 years, so you can imagine what treasures were found in their Basement!

Grandma's Pattern Book
One of my older sisters went to help clean out The Basement and was bequeathed several boxes that were originally my Grandmother’s.  In one box was one particular treasure: a packet of 3 x 5 notebook papers pinned together, obviously an old set of knitting patterns.  Some of the patterns indicated a source, some included dates and others had no references at all.  The gem was the very first pattern, which in my grandmother’s handwriting was the “Five Petal Doily,” dated July 24, 1942.  Each line of the pattern was written out and included some very strange knitting abbreviations, including an unfamiliar “n.”

Detail of one petal of the Five Petal Doily
I immediately started knitting the doily (fortunately, I had my Addi Click Lace Long Tips with me!).  I became obsessed with it.  I read the instructions over and over and tried to make sense of the term “n” that was often used.  I knit and ripped and graphed and knit and ripped some more.  Well, it turns out, 70 years ago “n” meant “narrow,” which was actually a “SSK.”

The doily was knit, and I am adding my legacy to it … it will eventually be a large circular shawl.  Thank you, Grandma!


1 comment:

J. Pasko said...

I love vintage knitting. Thanks for the tip on the mysterious "n".

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