One of the many great things about living in New Orleans was the people I met. Sometimes those people had mothers who could make crafts like nobody’s business, and you might find yourself trying to be even half as good over ten years later.
Growing up I was taught to appreciate the skill, time, and resourcefulness it takes to make things yourself. I’ve always enjoyed making things, so I guess I was destined to become a fan of my good friend’s mother, Cindy. She would send gifts of her creations to her daughter in the mail and I was probably just as excited as my friend to see what was inside those packages. I am still awed and inspired by Cindy’s talent. She can sew, bead, paint, re-purpose, tie-dye, and who knows what else, but on top of that she always seemed to make items that were trendy before I even knew about the trend (which may or may not give you an idea about how hip I am). Cindy seemed to whip up these covetable items with amazing speed, but also with great craftsmanship. I’ve never been lucky enough to meet her, but I feel like I know her a little by then things she has made. One of Cindy’s many handmade creations were sewn kerchiefs. I thought of them when I was knitting the head-kerchiefs and head-wraps I’ve been obsessed by lately. It occurred to me that this woman I have never met is still inspiring me with her creativity and bespoke approach.
I made the first triangle knitted kerchief for my Grandmother’s birthday, but liked it so much I almost didn’t send it. It’s more comfortable than a headband, but also hides your unwashed/undyed/clean/wild hair. I could see how it would keep the sun off your head, and still be breathable, like a summer tam, or perhaps you could get it wet at the beach and wear it to keep your head cool since it’s made of cotton. It’s also strong enough to hold the shape when you pull it tight across your head, and doesn’t slip like a satin or silk scarf.
For the triangle kerchief I used an I-cord bind off, and I really liked the finished effect. It was an easy technique to learn and I preferred the thicker edging and rounded cords to tie the kerchief with. I thought of this technique while trying to come up with ideas for some fingerless hand warmers. I was given some hand spun yarn from a friend who lives near a sheep farm. The two small skeins were quite small, so I wasn’t sure what I could make with it. Two small cuffs seemed like a project that I could safely attempt, so I came up with a pattern to accommodate. I think they turned out super cute, and I really like the I-cord edging, and the bow detail for the wrist ties. I’ll be writing the pattern notes on Ravelry if anyone else wishes to recreate them. The yarn was so soft it was like knitting with cotton balls, or fluffy kittens. So much fun.
I found a free pattern for a head wrap called the Britta Lalena and made it with some modifications other knitters had recommended. I liked the idea of creating the button closure and a wider headband like “brim”‘ so I knitted a version of it in cotton, since I am now out of sock weight yarn completely, and decided to do the yellow version with a mesh pattern, rather than the eyelet (the red version, pictured below). The mesh pattern was inspired by some produce bags actually. One project seems to just flow into the next, and I have had to keep reminding myself lately that it is okay to love knitting so much, as it sometimes seems to swallow large chunks of time. Time I think I should maybe be doing other things with, but, I keep knitting.
I still have kerchief patterns in mind that I want to knit up, but I am also making market bags, also out of cotton. We’re really impressed with Jean Talon market here in the city, and we’ve been going back quite often to buy produce. My friends across the country garden themselves, and I think these cotton produce bags will be handy to haul the bounty of the garden into the house. The great thing about cotton is you can wash the produce right in the bag and then hang it to dry with the produce inside, or use them to store your produce in the fridge or counter so tender items don’t get bruised. Mine will be for market apples and oranges, but I think I may also make bags to hang onions and potatoes in. I’ll be gifting a lot of these too, so I think I have a full summer line up of knitting produce and market bags.
As a side note, I want to say that if you haven’t tried pears sliced on top of Liberty organic cream cheese, with a sprinkle of honey and cinnamon, you haven’t lived. I am off to make myself something like this while I wonder what kind of handicraft Cindy could be up to now. Have a wonderful day!