Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Praise of Hildegard Elsner

In Barbara Walker's "Second Treasury of Knitting Pattern's", many of the entries carry the credit line Contributed by Hildegard M. Elsner, Aldan, Pennsylvania; and these include some of my favorite patterns in the book: Wickerwork, Ivy Leaf,German Herringbone Rib.....

Who was she? The attribution is so tantalizingly brief. Were these patterns favorites from her personal collection, gathered over the years? Did she want to hand them on because they were, in a sense, a part of her? Perhaps her interest was more an avid collector's. and she pored over references to discover patterns Walker had missed the first time around, excited by every new discovery.

Was she old when she submitted them? Young? Did she always live in Pennsylvania? Who taught her to knit?

I have a lot of knitting heroines. Most of them have published books and articles (or now, blogs). I have even met a couple. I know something about them. But Hildegard remains elusive.

Hildegard, whoever you are, or were, your patterns are lovely. I thank and salute you!

1 comment:

CatBookMom said...

You've got to research her on the Net. I'm still a rank beginner with the joys and gems that are BW, but I've already learned how much time I can 'lose' in thinking about all the possibilities!