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Bundled in Joy

Aug 28, 2013

Sometimes your reaction to an event takes you by surprise. That happened to me when Prince George was born on July 22. Of course, I knew there would be a little prince or princess born this summer, but I wasn't keeping tabs on Kate's pregnancy, except for one time when I browsed a tabloid in the supermarket line, learning all about her maternity wardrobe. Cute stuff, actually!

One of the Royal Baby Beanies Margaret Stove created for the Summer 2013 issue of Spin-Off
Anyway, when the prince was debuted, I kind of fell in love. The little guy is so adorable! And his parents are clearly crazy about him. So precious, this tiny prince, and so loved.

And what touched my knitter's heart was that he appeared to be wrapped in a lovely knit lace receiving blanket. Turns out, it wasn't a handknit blanket (but it was still beautiful!). But the story doesn't end there; I'll pass this over to Spin-Off editor Amy Clarke Moore to tell you more.

On Following the Royal Birth

Just like the much anticipated arrival of many babies, there was a lot of excitement when Prince George made his debut. Whether watched by the entire world or just a close knit family, the entry into the world of a new life is a beautiful thing to witness. Every child should be so adored.

NPR's Scott Simon shared the beautiful and touching experience of being with his mother in her final moments on his Twitter feed—among the many poignant moments, he reports, "My mother in ICU sees Kate & Will holding baby and tears: "Every baby boy is a little king to his parents." So I tear, too."

It is these shared experiences that have the power to bring us together across the expanse of time, culture, experience, and space. Simply because we know with certainty that every human is born and every human will die. In between we do what we can with the time and skills we've been given. And some of us spin.

So, when Kate Middleton and Prince William stepped out of the hospital to the awaiting throngs, and they held Prince George in a knitted wool blanket, the spinners and knitters paid close attention. They scrutinized that knitted wool blanket—getting snap shots from live video and the photos that were flying around the world at the speed of light—trying to figure out how it was made and how to get the pattern.

At this point, Margaret Stove's phone started ringing off the hook. The knitters and spinners in New Zealand knew that Margaret Stove's pattern for the Filmy Fern Shawl from Wrapped in Lace (Interweave, 2010) had been used to make the handspun, handknitted shawl that was the official gift to the royal couple from New Zealand.

Margaret Stove's Filmy Fern Shawl
from Wrapped in Lace
Also under speculation was whether or not the young couple had wrapped their baby in an heirloom shawl, such as the one that Prince William had appeared in when Princess Diana and Prince Charles stood on those same steps thirty-one years earlier. Or if it was the Bush Banquet Shawl that we featured in the Summer 2013 issue of Spin-Off that Margaret Stove handspun and knitted.

It was quickly determined that the blanket (or shawl) was manufactured by G. H. Hurt & Son—a small, family-owned business that quickly sold out of the Merino christening shawls.

Margaret Stove reports that her national woolcrafts organization, Creative Fibre, has a project underway for the members to knit baby vests to donate to their local hospitals and birthing units for all babies born during this next year as a memento of the royal birth. They will have a special label to mark the occasion.

I'm reminded of the sweet handknitted hat that my daughter received from the hospital on the occasion of her birth—that an anonymous knitter had knitted and donated to the hospital with the belief that every baby is a precious gift to be cherished.

—Amy Clarke Moore, from Spinning Daily

I looked into G.H. Hurt & Son, and they have a really amazing history. The company has been producing fine lace knitwear since 1912. Their collection of vintage handframe machines, designed in 1589 by Reverend William Lee, are still in use, alongside modern knitting machines.

Pretty amazing. But we knitters (and spinners!) can make our own heirloom shawls, shawls that carry that extra bit of love that's spun and knit into each stitch. In fact all baby knits carry love with them, and they're so darling, to boot.

Spin-Off magazine is full of lovely tidbits about all sorts of interesting topics, plus patterns for handspun yarn, and valuable spinning instruction. Try a subscription to Spin-Off! You'll love the inspiration Amy offers in each issue.


P.S. I'm knitting some booties to send to little Prince George. Have you knit anything for the prince, or for a new little prince or princess in your life? Leave a comment and let us know!

Featured Product

Wrapped in Lace Knitted Heirloom Designs from Around the World

Availability: In Stock
Was: $26.95
Sale: $17.87


Follow Margaret Stove on a personal knitting journey working on the legendary "wedding ring shawl" as she shares lace techniques, patterns, and traditions in depth, and offers twelve original patterns from across the world.


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SuzanneP@17 wrote
on Sep 5, 2013 10:59 AM

Kathleen: do you have any idea if this cap is a knitting pattern or not?  Will it be sold at Interweave?

Suzanne Parent

62 Main St.

Windahm ME 04062

mary.fisher wrote
on Aug 31, 2013 7:30 AM

Prince William's wife is NOT Kate Middleton, she is the Duchess of Cambridge. In England we lose our maiden names on marriage.

maggie664 wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 5:54 PM

Oh dear! A lot of New Zealanders thought Prince George was wrapped in the very fine hand-knitted merino shawl which was a gift from NZ. I can't remember whether Prince William made his debut wrapped in Margaret Stove's beautiful hand knitted shawl also sent as a gift from NZ.

DebE wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 3:15 PM

I regularly knit and crochet for the babies born in the hospital on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  While they're not "princes" and "princesses", each of these Lakota babies are precious to their families, and many of them will spend their first winter months in houses without adequate heat.  As part of a Ravelry group called "Bundles of Joy", we try to make sure that every baby born on the reservation goes home in a hand made outfit-- booties, sweater, hat, and blanket.  Some are knit, some crocheted, some sewn, but all are made with love, and we hope, let the new mothers know that their babies are as precious as famous babies born in royal families who will never be cold or hungry.  :-)  So far this year, I've made 3 sets-- 2 crocheted and 1 knitted, and a couple of extra knitted hats, for the Lakota newborns.  This article reminds me that I need to get a couple more done before the cold months begin, to meet my personal goal of 5 full sets for this year. (My sets haven't included blankets, but the seamstresses in the group make lots of gorgeous sewn bblankets).

mary rawlins wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 3:01 PM

Such fun to read your article about our Prince George, who seems to have won the hearts of people worldwide.  I just wanted to let you know that G.H. Hurt and son. who made his shawl are a British company established in 1817 in Nottingham UK, which has been famous for its lace making for hundreds of years.  Though there are sadly not so many producers here now.

Best wishes from 'across the pond'

Mary Rawlins

cindye64 wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 2:13 PM

I just completed a Surprise Jacket, booties, and hats for sweet tiny cousins

Born on the same day.  What a 'surprise'!

Linda Walsh wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 12:54 PM

Yes, I have made "something special" for the special babies in my life.  As a grandmother of four I have made each of my lovies a christening blanket, each my own design.  I have made hats, sweaters and the usual other things for them.

As a NICU RN I have made more hats, blankies and booties than I can count to be donated where they were needed over the past thirty some years.

Linda Walsh wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 12:54 PM

Yes, I have made "something special" for the special babies in my life.  As a grandmother of four I have made each of my lovies a christening blanket, each my own design.  I have made hats, sweaters and the usual other things for them.

As a NICU RN I have made more hats, blankies and booties than I can count to be donated where they were needed over the past thirty some years.

karen39290 wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 12:12 PM

I won't be knitting for Prince George.  However, I've been knitting for my first grandchild, granddaughter to be exact, born 8/3/13.  I've knit booties from an old refound pattern, a cupcake hat and a pink afghan.  I'm still working on a white afghan.  I've knit other afghans for nieces and nephews in the past.  A friend is holding onto a sweater pattern for me for when I'm ready to start a sweather.  I have enjoyed every stitch!

Gina wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 11:40 AM

I'm not knitting anything for Prince George, as adorable as he is.  I think they've got it covered.

But I am knitting blankets for a mission  to Africa that a church is sponsoring in January.  I think Kate and Will would rather they go to babies who would normally be wrapped in newspaper.  That broke my heart when I read it.  Every baby needs something soft and warm to be wrapped in,

Have 6 done so far and hope to have at least a dozen by December 31, the deadline.

I wish the little prince and his parents all the best.

Jesusan wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 11:02 AM

Not knitting anything for the little prince or any other baby.  However, this post showed me what pattern I want to knit with some yarn I found at Morris Brothers in Sydney, Australia.  I just love the filmy fern shawl - it's exactly what I have been looking for.  Thank you for this post.

MarjorieM@2 wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 10:23 AM

I fell in love with the Royal Baby Beanie the first time I saw the pic of it.  I had to order Spin Off magazine online, because I couldn't find it anywhere.  I was so excited to knit one for our new grandson who is to arrive any day.  I even searched online to understand the lace knitting symbols.  This is the first time I've ever had to give up on trying to knit something.  I'm so disappointed!  I bought the finest yarn I could find and even tried size 1mm needles, but I just can't get the gauge right.  The pattern is so hard, but I would have persisted, but just couldn't get it small enough.  So I found some Red Heart  Team Spirit yarn in the US and am knitting a cocoon and hat for him.  i also pieced and hand quilted a mini Dresden plate quilt for him - it won a first at our local county fair.

on Aug 28, 2013 10:16 AM

I love making baby afghans for everyone within reach. Nieces and nephews and now their precious babies, too. Neighbors and friends and the local hospital. Can you tell I'm retired?

sweetknits wrote
on Aug 28, 2013 9:04 AM

Our royal princess, my first grandchild, was born 2 weeks ago bringing incredible joy to our family.  Her coming home outfit was a sweet little kimono style 2 button sweater and matching hat that I knit in a very soft white bamboo/wool blend. We didn't know she would be a girl so I sewed a matching wooden button on the wee hat for a boy and then crocheted 3 different coloured flowers that are 'buttoned' on for a girl.  Mom gets to choose which coloured flower to attach.  I also knit her a pair of 'stay on' booties in lovely variegated koigu hand dyed merino wool that will keep her little toes warm during the Yukon winter and when I go to meet her this weekend I am bringing a cotton vest that buttons up the sides and matching lacey knit cap. And that is only the beginning!  Glenda Sweetland Calgary Canada