I recently found Horsey in my bottom nightstand drawer, where he has lived since we moved to the mountains ten years ago. He is at least 60 years old and has been with me since I was very young. He’s a little worn from being loved so much and is missing the button that Steiff marks their toys with – taken off very early in our relationship – but is still wearing the saddle blanket I knit for him.
In addition to playing house, school and dress-up, my older sister and I would play “The Adventures of Horsey and Susan”. I have since forgotten the stories we made up but vividly remember endless days of entertainment using the stuffed horse or our hands formed into a horse when the toy was not readily available. Blackie was Horsey’s nemesis and always getting in trouble – years of watching Roy Rogers, Sky King and My Friend Flicka definitely had an impact on our creativity when it came to naming horses.
When my sister was old enough to be in Brownies, my mom became the troop leader. Too young to be a brownie yet, I wore a brown dress instead of a uniform and was considered a “Baby Brownie” since a babysitter was not an option. All the activities that the brownies did, I got to participate in as long as I behaved myself. As a Baby Brownie and later as a real one, we learned many skills including how to crochet, embroider, hook potholders and knit.
Shortly after taking those lessons, I used the skein of variegated yellow and brown acrylic yarn to come up with my own pattern and knit a blanket for Horsey. The yarn was well used, having been knit and unraveled, crocheted and unraveled many times. It held up for this last project and survived all these years without any damage – acrylic, like plastic, is relatively indestructible.
Through grade school, high school, college, marriage and a career in IT, crochet became my go-to craft and the knitting needles were rarely pulled out. We traveled by car a lot and the compact nature of a single hook working a single loop was very travel friendly. Our trips to the mountains developed into a love of the mountains where we were fortunate enough to be able to move ten years ago. With the move I decided to learn to knit again. I bought books, watched YouTube videos and worked through several projects of increasing complexity, finally mastering different techniques including Brioche. The more complex patterns appeal to my technical brain and the results can be truly unique.
Looking at Horsey’s blanket brings back so many wonderful memories. The acrylic yarn just screams 1960’s and my years in scouting helped expand my creativity. That little girl is all grown up now. She remembers how to cast on and cast off, fix her mistakes and find joy in the finished product. To be able to pass on these hand knit items, and the knowledge and history of knitting to future generations make Horsey and me very happy.