Something Old, Something New
Letah Schlintz was born on August 13, 1896. She grew up on Tomah, Wisconsin. Although she was born in the U.S. she was from a German family, lived in a German neighborhood, and even went to a German school ... and yes, of course, she knit German (continental).
Nana's Knitting Notebook, 1942
Letah was the grandmother of our shop owner, Amy Loberg, and it was "Nana" who taught Amy how to knit. Amy's mother also knit, so why did Amy learn from Nana instead of her mother? It depends on who you ask.
According to Amy's mother it was because she knit English while Nana knit German. German is a faster, more efficient and all around more practical way to knit - so why not send her to Nana's to learn German knitting?
But according to Amy, Nana taught her because Amy was "Child Number Four". Although her mother taught her sisters how to knit, it was just plain easier to get Amy out of the house and taught by someone else than for her busy mother to sit down and teach her herself!
Whatever the reason, Amy enjoyed spending time with her Nana. By then Nana lived in Janesville, the same town that Amy grew up in, and they visited frequently. Amy learned knitting, tatting, and various other handicrafts from her. Nana could also spin, weave, sew, crochet - practically anything that involved fiber ... she was the sort of woman who kept a tatting shuttle in her apron pocket and would sneak in a few moments of tatting in the kitchen while waiting for a pot to boil. Her husband, a carpenter, even built Nana a few weaving looms!
Nana died in 1977, when Amy was about 13, and while her love of fiber lived on in Amy, it seemed that the lessons from Nana had come to an end. Or so Amy thought ...
Nana had two children, Ralph (Amy's father) and Lois. Much of Nana's handiwork was passed down to Aunt Lois, and over the years it accumulated into boxes in the basement. Lois and her husband lived in the same house for over 50 years, and after Aunt Lois' death in 2012 it was time for the dreaded chore of cleaning out the basement.
But the dreaded chore turned into a wonderful surprise when one box yielded a packet of 3 x 5 notebook papers pinned together . . . a set of knitting patterns. The gem was the very first pattern, titled "Five Petal Doily" and dated July 24, 1942. It was in Nana's handwriting, some in blue pen, some in green pen and some in pencil - obviously a work-in-progress as she worked the pattern and made changes to the design. Amy started working on the doily pattern immediately (of course she had her knitting bag and needles with her!). The doily was awesome ... but what to do with it? Who has a need for a doily today?
Amy started thinking that the feather-like petal pattern would make a nice shawl. When Diana and Leslie from Mountain Colors asked her to come up with a design to celebrate their 25th Anniversary and showcase their new and completely luscious fingering weight Silkdance yarn ... she knew exactly what to do!
The result is the Feather Dance Shawl, Nana's historic doily pattern vamped up into a gorgeous and practical modern shawl.
It's elegant and sophisticated enough for a bride to wear! Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue . . . but which is it? Will it be her "something old" because of the original 1942 petal design, or "something new" because you made it, new, especially for her? Knit it in the blue icicle colorway and it will be her "something blue" - or knit it for yourself and loan it to the bride for her "something borrowed."
Happy Knitting! ... Scout