Have We Lost the Old-Time Skills?
Have We Lost the Old-Time Skills?
Have We Lost the Old-Time Skills?

I love crisp, cool Saturday mornings. Sitting on the couch, cozy in my pajamas, hot cup of coffee on one side, and a ball of yarn on the other. Nothing says fall to me more than picking up the crochet hook or knitting needles that I’ve neglected over the hot summer months. (There’s just something about heat and working with thick yarn that just doesn’t do it for me!) But as excited as I get to start working with my hands again, I also get a little nostalgic when I think about the fact that there are so many skills, like knitting, that are becoming a thing of the past.

The Joy of Working with Your Hands - Are We Losing Essential Skills?

Losing Interest in Working with Our Hands

As technology advances, our reliance on it increases. Old-time skills that our parents and grandparents used daily are falling by the wayside. Now, I am not one to ignore progress – I am, after all, trained as a graphic designer. Heck, just by writing this blog and using social media and other avenues to promote it means that I enjoy the benefits that technology has brought. But I think it’s sad that society is losing the skills that sustained the previous generation. Things like growing a garden, preserving food, and fixing and building things on our own. Even something as simple as cursive handwriting is no longer being taught in schools! I love this article by Imperfectly Happy Homesteading called The Slow Death of Vintage Skills. In it, the author talks about how losing traditional talents could be affecting our children through lack of connection. If you have a few extra minutes, I would recommend checking it out.

Where Does This Love of Traditional Skills Come From?

My mom loved to sew. We didn’t have a lot of money growing up, and back then, it was cheaper to buy fabric and make clothes than it was to buy them. Mom would often make sweaters and pajamas for us kids, especially around Christmas time. And many a niece or nephew had one of her iconic patchwork quilts adorning their beds. I received my love of crafting from her. (Read more about that story here.)

Mom always wanted to learn to crochet, but never had the chance, as she was only 50 when she passed away in 2008. I decided to take it up in 2009 as an homage to her, and was “hooked” so to speak. There is just something about working with your hands that gives you a sense of pride and accomplishment. And now, at the ages of five and four, I’m passing down this love to my oldest children, who are starting to learn the basics of hand stitching.

Sharing the Love

Cable KnittingFor those of you who don’t know, Gaby and I own a small craft shop on Etsy called Cinq Artisans. Cinq is our imaginative outlet, a place for us to create (knit and crochet for me, woodworking for Gaby) and to sell our creations and original patterns online. Feel free to check out the store by clicking the image on the right-hand side of the page, or going to www.etsy.com/shop/cinqartisans.

Today, I want to share my hobby with you, and tell you to pick up a needle (or hook!) and make something. For those of you wanting to learn the basics, check with your local yarn store for classes (I recommend Gina Brown’s if you’re in Calgary, AB), or jump on to YouTube – there are so many videos about getting started in knitting or crochet. (Hobby Lobby has some great beginner videos such as this one on knitting if you’re just starting out.)

This is a simple pattern I created for a friend who wanted a snug, warm headband to cover her ears on windy fall and winter days. Please feel free to download it and share it with your friends. All I ask is that if you are selling the finished product online, please credit www.etsy.com/shop/cinqartisans with the pattern.

Everything you need to make this piece can be bought on Amazon by clicking the links below. (The sewing machine is useful, but not necessary for this project.)

Ladies’ Lined Winter HeadbandPrint Pattern

Materials Needed
Cable Knit Fleece Lined HeadbandAbbreviations
  • k: knit
  • p: purl
  • rep: repeat
  • st: stitch
  • 4/4 rc: slip 4 sts to cable needle and hold to back, k4, k4 from cable needle
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Gauge: Working in pattern, 22 sts x 20 rows = 3.5” x 3.5” (adjust needle size to ensure correct gauge)

Cast on 22 sts
Row 1: k each st across
Row 2: k7, p8, k7
Row 3: k5, p2, k8, p2, k5
Row 4: k7, p8, k7
Row 5: k5, p2, k8, p2, k5
Row 6: k7, p8, k7
Row 7: k5, p2, 4/4 rc, p2, k5
Row 8 – 109: rep rows 2 through 7 (17 times more) for a total of 18 cables.

Note: Add extra length or remove as needed in full cable sets by rep rows 2 through 7. Once desired length is achieved continue to row 110.

Row 110: k7, p8, k7
Row 111: cast off knitwise, leaving a long tail for sewing.

Pattern: Finishing Touches
  • Place finished headband flat on lining fabric. Cut fabric rectangle using the headband as the pattern, leaving 5/8” extra fabric on each of the short ends for seams. (Note: Place the headband on the fabric so that the fabric stretches with the headband.)
  • With right sides together, fold the extra fabric on both short ends down, away from the knit side. Sew the fabric to the headband on the long sides only, using a 5/8” seam allowance, and sewing the folded over fabric on the short ends down at the same time. This allows for easier hand stitching at the end. (Note: If using a sewing machine for this part, make sure the knit side is up so that it doesn’t get caught in the machine.)
  • Pull the headband through itself so that the right sides are facing out.
  • On the knit side, using a yarn needle and the long sewing yarn, stitch the opening shut. Weave in all yarn ends.
  • On the fleece side, fold the seam allowances in and hand stitch closed.

What vintage skills do you practice and are passing down to your children? Do you feel that vintage skills like these will eventually be lost? I’d love to hear your thoughts, head down to the comment section below to let us know what you think.

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