Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Textile tales

Birdsong's latest post about teaching knitting to kids inspired me to think about some of my favorite books - children's books with knitting or spinning or weaving themes. There are plenty of great one's to be found. I went through my disorganized bookshelves and pulled out my small collection. It was fun to revisit them. In some the textile is a major theme, in others it is part of the background. My favorite is probably "The Mitten", adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. This is from a Ukrainian folk tale. A young boy begs his grandmother for white mittens and when he loses one in the snow, it is inhabited by a progression of animals from a little mole to a great bear. The mitten stretches to accommodate each new occupant until finally the bear sneezes and the mitten is thrown up in the air and the boy sees it silhouetted against the sky. The final page features the grandmother looking with puzzlement at the two mittens, one stretched much larger than the other. I told you the whole story because I wanted to relate one of my most successful knitted gifts. When my niece was little I sent her a copy of the book, along with a pair of white mittens. (I added a black row to the beginning of the cuffs, so she wouldn't lose them in the snow.) My sister told me that the book became a favorite and she would see my niece outside, throwing one of the mittens into the air to see it silhouetted, just like in the book.

I hope it made up for the earlier multi-colored pair I sent that, when left to dry by the radiator, bled bright-colored permanent stains onto my sister's carpeting.


cruisers said...

My grandchildren and I really loved 'The Goat in the Rug'.

Birdsong said...

This is one of my favorites too! I love the image of your niece throwing her mitten in the air.

beryl said...

The only grandson that would need mittens is still to young to use them. But, I'm going to remember this book and make him a special pair in a few years. Thanks for the idea.