Emergency Gloves, and other Knitting Stories

I’ve been able to knit for as long as I can remember.  I was lucky enough to learn to knit at a very young age.  I also learnt to crochet.  And a bit later I learnt to sew, by hand and on a sewing machine.

As a child I loved all of these activities.  I did them on and off, depending on my age and what other interests I had at the time. 

At one time I remember making a lot of small squares for a crocheted rug but I’m not sure if I ever sewed them all together to actually make the end product!

My first success

When I was about 12 years old someone gave me some real wool on a cone which I thought was amazingly exotic!  I’d only ever had cheap synthetic stuff before that.  This wool was a kind of boring beige colour, but nevertheless I decided it would be great as a scarf.  I made it into a very, very long scarf.

In fact, the only reason it wasn’t longer than it was is because I got to the end of the wool and was left with a bare cone.  Otherwise I think it would have been even longer.  As it was it was probably at least a couple of metres long.

And I thought I was very, very cool when I wore my scarf to school!  I was so proud to tell everyone that I made it myself.

I’d even made a fringe to go at each end.  It was the end of the 70s and it really was a great fashion statement back then (for an 11 year old!).

I didn’t always knit a lot over the years.  I was often busy with life as a young, single, working mum, and I had other things to do that were a little more energetic than knitting. 

But I do remember that I knitted myself a jumper once. It was black with big stripy bands of bright colours going around it.  I was about 20 years old and I stayed up nights to make it.  I’d only ever knitted scarves before that, so it was the first ‘grown up’ thing I’d knitted.

Knitting in Paris – the ‘Cache Nez’

Fast forward a lot of years and I found myself living in Paris.  I was there as a tourist, so I had no job to keep me busy. 

A friend showed us something that his grandmother had made for his grandfather when they were young and rode motorcycles.  In French it’s called a ‘cache nez’ (this would translate into something like a ‘nose hider’ in English, although I think they’re actually called ‘neck gaiters’). 

But it was a little different to what people use today.  It had a bib, which was joined onto the neck part, and was made for protecting the chest from the cold while riding a motorcycle. 

Back in the days when the grandmother made it, there weren’t any warm synthetic clothes especially for motorcyclists like there are nowadays, and there weren’t zips either.  They needed all the help they could get to block their chests from the cold wind as they rode.  The cache nez, with the bib, was great protection for them.

As I had nothing much to do with my days (I’d been to Paris a lot by then and wasn’t interested in doing typical ‘tourist’ things. Plus, I didn’t have any money!), I decided to make some cache nez for my French friends.  They all rode either scooters or motorcycles, and it can get pretty cold in Paris when you’re on a bike.

So, I started knitting cache nez.  I made a special ‘Spiderman’ version for Olivier (as he’s a fan and collector of Spiderman things).  I lined the back of the bib with black satin, which added another small layer of warmth.

I made quite a few different ones for friends.  One with a pig, one with a big ‘S’ like Superman, and some other fun designs.

And I made some for Olivier’s family who used them not for motorcycles, but for when they went skiing!

And then came fingerless gloves

I really enjoyed knitting so I started to look for other things to make. After searching online I found some patterns for ‘cut-off’ fingerless gloves so I made some of them.  I gave most of them away because I had no need for them all, I just enjoyed making them!

paris knitted gloves
Fingerless gloves I made in Paris

And then I was asked to make some little jumpers for some dogs.  I made about 3 of them with different designs, but unfortunately I didn’t think to take any photos of them.

I spent a few months doing not much else besides knitting, and I really enjoyed it.  But like all good things, it had to end because I eventually left Paris and onto other adventures in Moscow.

Knitting in Moscow

In Moscow I made some more cache nez for Olivier, but without the bib. He didn’t ride bikes in Moscow and although it was cold he didn’t really have a need for extra chest protection.  He did, however, bring his Spiderman cache nez with him and wore it on the coldest days.

A year or so before I left Moscow, I decided to try knitting for profit, and made some fingerless gloves for sale.  I had so much fun shopping for wool!  I bought so many different colours and types of yarn, and enjoyed all the different patterns they made as I knitted the gloves.

Here are some of them:

Well, I didn’t sell anything, but I did make a lot of friends happy when I gave them my gloves just before leaving Russia last year!

Knitting in Bulgaria

When we arrived in Bulgaria, I decided to make some more fingerless gloves because I knew that it would start to get cold, and this time I made them for Olivier and me.

So I bought knitting needles and wool, and got started all over again.  And then something amazing happened.

We were having a drink with some new friends, and one of them saw my gloves and asked me to make some for her.  Then her mum said that she wanted some too.

I was thrilled and got onto it straightaway!

Baby clothes

However, it wasn’t going to end there.  After giving her the gloves, my new friend asked if I could make some baby clothes and a blanket for one of her friends!  What a great challenge – I’d never knitted baby clothes before.  She sent me some pictures of what she had in mind, and after confirming the colours with her I got started.

And this is the result of the very first baby clothes and blanket that I ever made!

baby clothes

But then she asked me to make the same again, in different colours, for another of her friends who was also having a baby! 

baby clothes
The second baby clothes and blanket

And then there were winter hats to make, some cache nez (without the bib), and more fingerless gloves were ordered!

winter collection
A complete set – gloves, hat and cache nez

I was knitting for hours every day and it was such a pleasure!  I’m always relaxed when I knit, as long as I’m not being disturbed when I’m trying to count, or when I’m working on a complicated pattern.

I’m quite proud to say that she loved what I made and so did her friends who were on the receiving end of these hand-knitted things.

Crocheted dog hats!

And then, I was asked to make a beret for a dog!  I’d never seen a woollen hat for a dog, so I looked it up online and didn’t really know what to think!

After some hesitation I managed to make a couple of hats for a dog.  I didn’t really know the exact size of the dog, but the ones I made are pretty stretchy so I’m hoping that they ended up ok (the dog and the owner of the dog are in another country).

A couple of months ago friend of mine in Denmark offered to send me some of her wool because she said that she has so much of it she could open a shop!  This friend is someone I’ve never met, but she reached out to me online while Olivier and I were locked down and stuck in Bucharest, as I had mentioned in a Facebook group for expats that I was feeling a bit lost and alone and needed a bit of support.  (Big thanks to Kay Cee!)

We’ve kept in touch since then, and when I showed her photos of my knitting she made the offer to send me some wool.   As soon as I received the package I made myself this winter hat.

winter hat

Emergency gloves

Which brings me back to emergency gloves.  What are emergency gloves?  Well, let me explain.

When I lived in Russia I always had several pairs of gloves.  Some really warm thick ones for the dead of winter.  Some less thick ones for normal winter days.  Some mittens because I think they are warmer than gloves.  Some really thin ones to wear under my mittens or other gloves because my fingers are always cold.  Old ones and new ones.  Ones to wear to work and ones just for out walking.  If you live in a cold country you’ll probably be the same – you can never have too many pairs of gloves. 

Plus, I was always losing them, so it was necessary to have spares at home just in case.

When we left Moscow in March last year, we had planned to spend 6 months or more in Asia and Australia, so as we were packing we left all our winter clothes behind and took only summer clothes with us.  I was dreaming of tropical weather in shorts, tshirts, and dresses.

As you probably know, things turned out differently, and after arriving in a very hot Bulgaria at the end of July, things changed pretty suddenly as summer turned into autumn, and autumn turned into winter.

It got cold!  We had to buy winter clothes all over again. We had nothing suitable for the cold weather!

So back in October or November, we were at a market, and I bought one pair of black knitted gloves.  Just your standard, basic, machine knitted gloves that you see everywhere. 

I wore them all winter.  They were just warm enough, although on some of the colder days I would have been happier with a thicker pair.  But they were mostly fine.

It’s now March, and although we’re getting some warm and sunny days now, I’m still wearing gloves from time to time because it can still be a bit cold.

Last week we had to take a bus to Veliko Tarnovo because our car was at the mechanics there and we had to go and pick it up.  We never usually travel between villages by bus because we have a car. 

It was quite cold and I was wearing my new blue winter hat, and my black gloves.

So we took the bus and as it was the first time we didn’t really know where to get off.  When we got to the next town, the bus stopped to let someone on, so we made a split second decision that we would get off right there.  I jumped up, holding onto my winter hat, and ran out of the bus.

Unfortunately I wasn’t holding onto my gloves.  They’d been on my lap.  When I stood up they probably fell to the floor. 

I’d lost my only pair of gloves.  And it was still cold.  And I hate shopping.

So, I decided to make myself some emergency gloves.  Gloves that I will need to wear only for another few weeks, and not even every day.  Gloves that will fill the little gap between now and when gloves are no longer needed – probably only a few weeks, if that.

I looked online for some patterns and decided that mittens would be much easier to make than gloves (no fiddling around trying to make the fingers).  I found a pattern that I liked, checked that I had the right sized needles, and grabbed the wool that matches my winter hat, and made the emergency gloves/mittens.

They were so easy to make (and I love knitting so much) that I got some of my odd wool that was left over from other projects and made a second pair of emergency gloves.

Just in case I lose the first emergency pair.

Do you have any knitting stories you’d like to share?  Or maybe you’re more into crochet?  Feel free to put links to any great knitting projects in the comments!

~ Cheryl

Shared on Natalie the Explorer’s Weekend Coffee Share

Author: Cheryl

I'm an Australian woman who is now living in a village in rural Bulgaria. I lived for 12 years in Moscow, Russian Federation, working as an English language teacher. My current loves are my husband and my vegetable garden.

24 thoughts on “Emergency Gloves, and other Knitting Stories”

  1. Hi Cheryl – well aren’t you the clever one? I’m a little bit jealous of your new hat – and maybe I need a neck warmer for scooting in winter? I might have to dig out the knitting needles and do a bit of a refresher – it’s been a long time since I knitted anything that had an actual pattern (although I made a great throw rug a few years ago (certainly nothing compared to your baby ones though!) https://www.crestingthehill.com.au/2017/07/my-winter-knitting-project.html


    1. Hi Leanne, not sure I’d say I was clever! More a Jack of all trades, master of none! I love your knitted blanket, it’s gorgeous! You should definitely get your needles out and do some knitting – winter is just around the corner! If you want the pattern for the neck warmer, I can send it to you, it’s very very simple (without the bib). It’s made flat and just stitched up when you’ve finished. I get jealous every time you mention your scooter! It seems you love it, I’m so happy for you that you’ve found the joys of riding! Enjoy the rest of your weekend. xx


  2. These are all such lovely stories. I can’t knit at all, but I so wish I could now. I love your stories of all the friends you made living in various countries who asked you go to knit things for them.


    1. Hi Astrid, thanks for your kind words. It’s never too late to learn to knit if you have the time and interest. It can be as easy or as difficult as you like. Yes, knitting is a great way to connect with people. It seems to be a dying art among the younger generation so people are always interested and surprised when they see someone with homemade knitting things. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, I hope your weekend is going well.


  3. Cheryl, You’re an excellent knitter. I can tell the work quality of all the items in your photos. You can sell your items on etsy or by words of mouth as it already happened. I used to crochet, embroider, and knit. At one point I was skilled enough to crochet tops and knit sweaters for myself and my friends. I’ve stopped for a long while now and have given away all my yarns because I want to simplify my living space without my arts and craft. I’ve kept my crochet and knitting needles so who knows, maybe I’ll use them again in the future. Thank you for sharing your story #WeekendCoffeeShare.


    1. Hi Natalie, those baby things took ages because I had to be really careful with them as I was selling them! I still made a little mistake on both the baby blankets, but I was told it adds to the homemade charm! I also did embroidery when I was younger, and loved it. I guess I’ve tried my hand at many different crafts, but I think I like knitting the best. It’s been many years since I’ve seen crochet tops, but I was looking at some patterns the other day and found some really cute ones. Who knows, that might be my next project with summer just around the corner! Enjoy the rest of the weekend!


  4. How beautiful the things you’ve made. My grandmother and great grandmothers knitted and crocheted…I crocheted one afghan and decided it would be my last….lol. I have many doilies that were made by the ladies in my family. so pretty. I enjoy cross stitching and more recently embroidery.


    1. Hi Kirstin, grandmothers always used to knit and crochet, didn’t they?! Maybe it’s becoming a lost art like a lot of other crafts. I think it would be great if they were taught in schools (along with a lot of other ‘lost’ skills!). I don’t really like making rugs, it just takes too long and I get bored. It’s been a long time since I did any cross stitching, but I enjoyed it a lot when I was a child. Thanks for stopping by and reading my knitting post! Wishing you a great week ahead!


  5. You are really good at knitting, and it sure has been useful for you. I’ve only learned the basics of knitting from my grandma. I can’t tell you a logical reason why, but crocheting have always been more of my thing. I just enjoy it more, and that is what I am teaching my daughter. I think sewing and some handiness with yarn should be part of the essential skills for everyone. My daughter made this beanie a year ago, the first project she finished https://www.instagram.com/p/B8EEWoQgycI/.
    Thank you for the coffee, have a wonderful weekend.


    1. Hi Maria, it’s great that you learned to knit, even if you don’t do it. It’s a skill we should all have. I love crocheting, too, it seems to go a lot faster and you can make things quickly. Plus it’s easier to fix a mistake with crochet than with knitting! Love your daughter’s beanie! How clever she is, and you’re right, these are essential skills and it’s great to see young children still learning them. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend, and thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  6. Hi Cheryl. I love all the beautiful knitted items you’ve made. The color combinations are lovely. I’m envious. I never learned to knit, sew, or crochet, though I do get that same calm effect when I’m sculpting. I’ll be getting back into that when we get into our apartment and I am able to bake my sculptures. Thanks for sharing the story of your beautiful craft. xx


    1. Hi Christina, thanks for your kind words about my knitting. To be honest, I am quite proud of the baby outfits! I was a little hesitant to accept to make them because I wasn’t sure I could do it, but I managed in the end to produce something I’m pleased with. You’ve talked to me about sculpting before, and I’m not sure it’s for me, but anything we do that gives us that calm, relaxing feeling is good for us. I get the same feeling when I’m gardening, even pulling out weeds is relaxing for me! I’m looking forward to seeing some of your sculptures when you get them baked. Hope the work on the house is going well, must be close to finishing now! Wishing you a wonderful Sunday! xx


  7. Your gloves are really great looking and I’m sure so warm. I enjoy knitting although I’m more of a seasonal knitter (I knit in winter). And crochet the rest of the time.


    1. Hi Regina, I’m really pleased to meet so many people who can also crochet and knit! I’m not sure I’ll be doing much knitting or crocheting in summer. I will be looking for new projects to make, especially with crocheting as I haven’t done much of that over the years. I’ve been thankful for my emergency gloves this week, and will be wearing them well into the next couple of weeks as we’ve got some cold weather to get through before it starts to warm up for spring! Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you’re having a lovely weekend.


  8. Cheryl, I just love those baby outfits you made, you are very clever and I always enjoy reading your thoughts 🙂 I once knitted a jumper for my husband and that was a mammoth effort, mainly because he’s so tall and I made some scarves but apart from that I’m not a knitter or crocheter, although my mother does lovely work.


    1. Hi Debbie, thanks for your kind comments! I agree that knitting isn’t for everyone, but it’s nice to learn and to try and knit something at least once in our lives (same goes for a lot of skills, really). I’m sure your husband was thrilled with your efforts and the end result! Have a great week!


  9. Wow! You are such a talented knitter! I love the gloves you made and gave away to your friends. I once tried to knit a baby sweater for my oldest son before he was born. It was a mess! Totally unwearable. I hung up my knitting needles after that! 🙂


    1. Hi Laurie, thanks for the kind words regarding my knitting skills! It’s really something that I love. And the best part is when I give things away to people, it’s such a good feeling. Baby clothes are the most challenging in my opinion – scarves and blankets are the way to go for stress free knitting! Thanks for visiting and commenting, it’s nice to see you here.


  10. Hi Cheryl, I am glad you shared so many pictures of your work. I loved this post and the pictures. I hope that you are able to sell more of your work. You make a good case for mittens, too. I haven’t worn mittens since I was a kid. But you make good case for the warmth they provide. I wish I could share this post on Facebook, but I understand. I will share it on Twitter though. I don’t knit, but I have some interesting memories of my mom trying to teach me and I still “have” some of the original yarn. It was pink. We were sitting in a bar in Onset, well, my parents were at the bar, I was sitting at a table nearby with my pink wool and knitting needles. At least mom was able to use the wool, since I didn’t get the hang of it. When I was 16 and 17 I think she used some of the pink wool in a Granny Afghan that she made for me. I still have it. It was around the time when synthetics were just starting to come out. the afghan is 100% wool. I hope you will write more about this when you get back to knitting after the summer. I realize it is not just knitting. But you are multi-talented, so wonderful that you use the gifts you have ben g iven. Blessings, Michele #SeniSal


    1. Hi Michele, thank you so much for your kind words about my knitting! I’m hoping that next autumn and winter I’ll be able to sell some more of my knitting. I really love it, and it’s strange but people are so happy to receive such an ‘old fashioned’ craft as a present. Yes, I love mittens, and I’ll be either making some more or buying some super warm ones next winter! You have such vivid memories of your childhood, I so envy you for this, as I have some memories but not nearly enough. My mum also made a lot of Granny Afghans and it’s very unfortunate that during my very nomadic life I’ve managed to lose all the ones that were in my possession. I really appreciate the gifts that I’ve been given, and I’m so glad that at this time in my life I’ve been able to take the time to enjoy them and to nurture them. Thanks again for your comments, Michele, and have a lovely weekend.


  11. Hi” Cheryl, thought you would appreciate this. I live in a small town in North Central Pennsylvania. I know that one of our community leaders has been working for months renovating an old restuarant, but I wasn’t sure what was going in there. Yesterday I saw an “” sign. I stopped in today and it is a yarn shop! Mostly wool, from local animals and vendors. A few blends. all kinds of notions for knitting anad crocheting and some tables and chairs with some possible classroom space and a comfortable sitting area for folks to just sit and knit, etc. I thought of you and this post right away. I told the shop owner if they do a class for beginners I would sign up. Michele


    1. Hi again Michele, how wonderful that you’ve got a brand new yarn shop in your town! I do worry that shops like these will soon disappear as there doesn’t seem to be a lot of interest in these kind of materials these days. So nice that they have yarn from local vendors, there should be more of that happening – locals supporting locals. It sounds like a wonderful place, with somewhere to sit and knit – what a great idea this person had! I do hope that you get a chance to take some lessons. Knitting’s not for everyone, but it’s nice to try it just for fun. Enjoy this new shop and I wish them every success!


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