"Catherine's Hat:" a tribute to a knitter
- Hello again group, today is a big news day for us. We've learned that
one of our readers and a pattern contributor has passed away.
Catherine N. was a lifelong knitter, seamstress, quilter, and enjoyed
many other creative hobbies. She began machine knitting when the
machines were still somewhat new to the world, but learned how to get
the most out of the machine while continuing to use the skills and
knowledge of her handknitting talents.
Even though Catherine began machine knitting before Carole started
her business (in the 1970's) Catherine was around to support the
industry by attending knit club meetings and seminars, and
subscribing to knitting publications.
Our fondest memory and perhaps the biggest gift Catherine left for
everyone was her Stocking Hat pattern. When she was well in her 80's
she came to a Charity Knit-a-Thon at our store with her daughter
Beverly, also a machine knitter. Catherine had her own favorite
stocking hat pattern in her hand, and when she whipped them out
everyone else at the Knit-a-Thon praised the finished product. It was
a perfect knitting machine hat pattern, just the right size and
stitch tension. It was the type of pattern that allowed the knitter
to use their creativity with designs and colors while letting the
machine do the utility work... so when a person knits Catherine's Hat
it is a relaxing experience and one can truly enjoy the feel of the
yarn and the warmth of the moment. No stress with this project!
When the other knitters at the Knit-a-Thon asked Catherine about the
pattern she was using, they expected her to say "it's all in here"
while pointing to her head, the way a chef protects her secret
recipes. But instead, Catherine humbly unfolded her hand where a
tattered scrap of paper had the faded instructions for the hat.
To make a long story short, Catherine agreed that it would be nice to
have her hat pattern re-typed for easy reading, and she allowed it to
be shared with other knitters. She didn't request any credit for it,
because after all, "It's just a hat. Everybody has a hat pattern."
Just the same, when we published it in the ROCKING HORSE NEWS in
1999, we called it "CATHERINE'S HAT." Since then it has become a
favorite of many knitters who like the simplicity and relaxation of
the pattern, as well as the versatility it seems to have. You can use
many types of yarns and always seem to end up with a standard-size
I'm sure Catherine never expected her favorite hat recipe (I don't
remember if it was Catherine or a different knitter who always
referred to her patterns as recipes) to travel around the world, but
it certainly has. Because not only has it been printed, first in our
publication, and currently in our pattern collection "PRETTY AND
PRACTICAL" but we know that knitters use it. We've shown Catherine's
Hat at Seminars all around the United States, and we've received
stories and pictures about knitters using the pattern to make hats
for charities. If a person considers the charity knitting, it is safe
to bet there is someone in the world wearing Catherine's Hats right
This is a nice tribute for Catherine. It's not unique, because
Catherine certainly didn't invent the hat... and there are more
instances very similar to this, if you think about Prayer Shawls or
Preemie Cardigans or Operation Toasty Toes slippers... but it's fun
to think about the mark that Catherine left on the world even if she
never intended to. Lots of us leave a mark without realizing it.
Catherine's services will be later this week in her home town in
My goodness, time flies! It's time for our local event calendar, and
don't forget that if you are too far away to attend in person you may
always email a message that we can read at club.
Embroidery/Sewing club meets Sat. Sept. 2, 10am. Free. (yes, it's a
holiday weekend, but we are still meeting) PLEASE bring show and tell
or something you can demonstrate. If everybody shares, everybody
wins! And it's fun to share.
Knit Club is Sat. Sept. 2, 1:30pm. The same request applies, please
bring things to share.
#### We will be working on some September Seminar things inbetween
these meetings, in case anyone would like to stay and help. I'm not
sure if we will be assembling Seminar books, but we will have jobs
for people! ####
Fiber Friends (spinning/knitting guild) does not meet in September
because of the Seminar
Antique Round Sock Machine knitters will not be having their regular
gathering in October, instead you are invited to register for the
September Seminar on Saturday and be with Pete & Deb Oswald at the
Seminar. This should be a fun day for you, and included in your
registration fee will be morning coffee and rolls, lunch (no potluck
this time, please!) a Seminar book with some nifty Yarn and Fiber
facts, door prizes, and special Saturday-only vendors that normally
wouldn't be at one of our gatherings. These include fleece vendors!
So bring your spinning wheel too, if you wish!
SEPTEMBER SEMINAR REGISTRATION FORMS can be printed out from this
Yahoo Group link:
We have no other special classes or workshops scheduled until after
the September Seminar.
Carole will be teaching at Bonnie Triola's final Great Lakes Seminar
on September 15-16 (the store will remain open while she is away).
Bonnie is a knitting professional who has designed for or worked with
several famous name designers in New York and Beverly Hills. She has
published books and patterns for machine knitters and sold high
quality yarns for several years. Her Great Lakes Seminar is highly
regarded as one of the permier machine knitting seminars in the
world. This will be the second time Carole is a featured
demonstrator. Registration is actually closed for this seminar, but
information about the future of the Great Lakes Seminar can be found
Until next time, happy knitting and sewing!