Putting WG to Work

After playing around with different yarns and needles and such I was keen to find a project to try this new stitch out fully. A hat seemed a possibility and Godmother Phyl’s folder seemed to be the first place to look for ideas. It was full of patterns torn from magazines and newspapers, and there were several hand written designs swapped at tennis club or at morning tea with friends. Phyl Gray [nee Rogerson] was a great knitter and she would have loved Woven Garter. Sadly she died before I ‘found’ the stitch.

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God Mother Phyl —definitely a Woman of Fibre. We’d just been to a knitting exhibition at the Power House Museum in Sydney. Phyl was my mother’s cousin. We visited her on our occasional visits to Sydney when I was a child and I stayed with her quite often as a young adult. We spent much of that time chatting and knitting. And drinking coffee. Phyl introduced me to odd ball knitting. She was always knitting multi coloured jumpers and cardigans – many she made for her family, many for the Smith Family.

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I was given Phyl’s folder of magazine patterns, cuttings and such after she died. There was one scrap of paper with the first thirteen rows of a pattern for a Beret on shortened rows in garter stitch. I did a version in Superb Garter – as I called the stitch then – and learned a lot about short rows! I can’t remember what needles I used and I was aware that there was no stranding in this pattern. But I used it anyway with the 22 sts and shaped it according to the directions. The result was quite a small hat but it demonstrated how the stitch would look.

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I realised just how many different ‘hats’ could be made with the many different fabrics the stitch offered. Chunky thick warm hats, fine drapey glitzy snood type hats, soft snug hats for babies. I wrote up a pattern based on what I’d learned, and called it Godmother Phyl’s Short Row Hat. It was my first official Women of Fibre ‘design’.

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People enjoyed knitting the hat and encouraged me to get the design ‘out there’. Then Jenny Dowde invited me to put some designs in her first book Freeform Knitting and Crochet. One of them was basically Phyl’s hat but this time I called it the Fold’nRolled hat as I realised that it was one of her tennis friends who had shared it first. Thank you to both of them.

The stitch was launched and sometimes seems to have taken on a life of its own! Check out just some of this in the WG Project Section – including the Fold’nRolled design as well as others.