Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Tribute to Doree

There was in our community a talented and prolific knitter named Doree.  Her stitches were beautifully even and the things she made, sweaters, mittens, toques, afghans, etc. were works of art.  She, like most knitters, gave away most of what she made.  Her family and friends cherished the items she made for them.  The Hospital Auxiliary received a few dozen of her projects every year.

I didn't know Doree, but I would have liked to know her.  She kept active right into old age, and was knitting until the day she died last year at the age of 87.  That evening her family was over for a visit, and she was fine, serving them coffee and snacks, as a loved and loving mother, grandmother and even great-grandmother.  The next morning Doree was unexpectedly gone; she had passed away peacefully during her sleep that night.

Like most people who knit, crochet and sew, Doree had a lot of projects on the go and a magnificent stash of yarn and material to draw from for her creations.  It fell to Doree's grandson's wife to take care of the stash she left behind, and that is how I am coming to know Doree.

A friend of mine, the grandson's wife's mother, knows that I've been knitting for decades and understand quite a bit about it.  So she had the idea to bring me some of the unfinished projects to see what could be done with them.  That was last fall.  I took one, a baby sweater, and said I would finish it in January. In March I finally got it out of the closet and set about seeing what could be done.

There were several parts on the go.  The back seemed to be finished, but looked pretty short from the armhole to the neck.  There were two fronts, on above the armhole and one below, and a sleeve partway knit.  Three balls of yarn and a pattern book came along with it.

I had a hard time at first to figure out which pattern Doree was using, until I realized that the purl side, which is usually the inside of a sweater, was actually the outside of this sweater.  I took a picture of the pattern, "Wee Willie Winkie."  It's in a really old pattern book which I delighted to see.  It includes patterns for little girls' knit dresses, and there's a sweater pattern that I knit for nephews and nieces something like 50 years ago.  What fun to see these old patterns again!  Unfortunately, my computer crashed after I saved those pictures, and the new computer won't let me export them, so I can't show you here.

After I finished the DSIL's socks that I made in March I started working on this sweater in memory of Doree.  Because it's a baby sweater it doesn't take long.

The pattern was printed very densely, so I went to the computer and typed out the directions for the right front, to make it easier to keep track of where I am in the pattern.  Doree had been keeping track of her rows also.  In the bag with the sweater pieces were some sheets from a daytimer called "At a Glance," dated July 1998 on which she was writing down the rows as she did them.  1998 was the first summer that I lived here.  I wish I had met her then!

Now the sweater is finished, with just one alterations to the pattern: since I much prefer the knitted side to be the outside, I sewed the parts together with the knitted side out.  I don't know whose little baby will wear this sweater, maybe a great-grandchild of Doree's.  But it gave me a lot of satisfaction to finish this for Doree, as a tribute in memory of a great knitter!

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