Friday, January 21, 2011

I love history.

Especially when it's up close and personal and makes you smile.

Remember the Husbeast Gansey? (If not, it's a dark green pullover I knit in October and November of 2006.) I invented (unvented? pulled out of my ass?) a twisted stitch pattern that runs up the sleeve and across the shoulder straps:

At the time, everyone admired it immensely. And while I appreciated the kudos, I pointed out that in over a thousand years of knitting, someone else HAD to invented it before me, and so it was only about half original.

Skip ahead four years and I was out shopping at the local yarn store with a buddy and picked up "Twisted Stitch Knitting" by Maria Erlbacher.

My friend said it was a great book, a stitch dictionary containing things she hadn't seen anywhere before. Since her knitting book collection might be larger than mine, and, heck, the book is published by Schoolhouse Press for crying out loud, I bought the thing without even cracking it open. When I finally got home and looked at it, it turned out to be charts of a giant knit sampler (the old-school way to do a stitch dictionary, you know, when you've got more wool than paper). It's a reprint of a reprint of research done by a woman from Austria (Thekla Zeiler), who passed on in 1960 and had charted some samplers she'd inherited or been given. Exact history is sketchy (unfortunately), but by 1943 she was giving classes on twisted-stitch knitting. I don't think it's stretching it to say these patterns go back a hundred years, possibly more.

So, cool, I thought. I like historic knitting things. (Y'all may have noticed.) I began flipping through the stitch patterns (the socks have to be seen to be believed, but Cookie A. has nothing on these). And there it was. Page eight, and again on page thirty-four. Slap in the middle of the practice swatch.

The pattern I'd knit up the sleeve of the Husbeast Gansey.

It's called "Burning Love".

You can't make stuff like this up.

9 comments:

Holly said...

Sounds like a past life thing to me. Then again, I think we bring many things with us.

Jilly Bean said...

So, out of curiosity, what do you think of the near-constant copyright discussion on Ravelry? I ask because the part that I feel doesn't get enough discussion is "unventing", or the fact that many people get very angry about folks copying original work that hasn't been original for a few hundred years.

Sarah {The Student Knitter} said...

Great minds think alike? hehe Very cool.

Leonie said...

Awesome :-)

Emily said...

Oooo! How appropriate!

Michelle said...

Whenever I come across a School House Press book in the wild I buy it. I haven't been dissatisfied yet. Burning love. Heh.

Barbara said...

What goes around comes around. Perhaps instead of "invented" you could say "resurrected" and shut up all the whiners?

Louiz said...

Cool:) I like old things too, and old forgotten things seem like an extra special bonus.

Donna Lee said...

I like history when I can find a correlation to my life. I think I had too many "dates and battles" teachers in school who killed history for me.

That's why I liked Bryson's At Home. I could identify with it and it was really well written. I listened to him read it and it was amazing.