Something old – knitted baby shawls

Hand knitted lacey woollen baby shawl

Great is the joy at discovering the moths had not feasted on these baby shawls. Made nearly 40 years ago by by first husband’s grandmother before she fell and fractured her wrist – which put paid to the knitting – they tumbled out of the least careful of packing as springy and bouncy of stitch as when they were first made. A little yellower perhaps and with stain here and there but just as gorgeous to touch and pleasing to look at. I suspect that I may never have washed them, fearful that I would never have  cajoled them back to their proper shape.

Hand knitted lacey baby shawl

Hand knitted lacey woollen shawl


Well, you really can’t wrap a newborn baby in half a life of grime, so I filled the (well cleaned) sink with coolish water and dollops of Eucalan, gave the soaking mass a swirl and went off, leaving it to stew for 20 minutes or so. On return the staining looked horribly visible so I reached for Ecover, my usual clothes washing liquid  and dripped it on neat, directly on to the offensive patches. This seemed to be more effective, especially when followed up by a gentle rub with a bar of Vanish. (So many products!) I then covered the spare bed (double) with layers of towels and laid out each shawl in turn on this absorbent bed, smoothing the body of the shawl and tweaking the edges gently until they looked a good shape. The towels had the unforeseen benefit of providing a bit of grip for the knitting, rater like a bed of velcro. With heat from sun through the window and a bit of a boost from the highest heat of a small portable radiator, each was well dry by the next morning. Quite perfect.

Hand knitted woollen baby shawl

We are all really pleased at how good they look and how soft they still feel. They were always ‘the best knitting’ and kept away from day to day babycare – another workaday one did that. Great granny became very keen on the then newish french yarns which had more artificial fibres mixed with wool. The white was a bit too bright and the yarn had a different feel to it, but the pattern was simple with few fancy holes for baby fingers to get caught in and by Jove, it didn’t half wash well and determinedly kept its shape without too much fussing around in the manner above! I even came to love this workhorse of a dutiful garment. This too has been washed and despatched for a new user – but it will be the 3 year old  as his mother felt the inherited goods needed sharing round a bit.

Hand knitted woollen baby shawl

Now nearly 2 weeks overdue, daughter No 1 is off to hospital today for induction to begin.

Hand knitted woollen baby shawl


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  1. Posted May 10, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Best wishes for daughter 1 and the safe arrival of Baby.

    I still use the shawl my Grandmama knitted for me when I was a baby. These days as a sort of bedjacket!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

      Kind thoughts, Rachel – many thanks. Fingers are still crossed and no news yet.
      What a wonderful shawl to be still so useful and a lovely tangible link to your grandmother.

  2. Linda Pennell
    Posted May 10, 2017 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    Oh good luck to her! Hope for happy news soon.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

      Sweet of you to send such kind thoughts, thank you Linda.

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