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My Life In Patterns With The Incredible Velma Bascome

My Life In Patterns With The Incredible Velma Bascome

Velma Bascome joined us to share her life in patterns…

Creative from a young age, it is no surprise that VELMA BASCOME has been knitting, crocheting, designing and of course, inspiring for several decades. Now a valued member of the WOOLN team, 72 year old Velma has been kind enough to share her life in patterns…

I lived in Germany for three years as a military dependent. I did not work or have children, so I was very bored. One day, I found a copy of Homes and Gardens Knitting in the Post Exchange. When I got home, I learnt how to crochet. I then used a pattern in the book to make a child’s dress. I found that by working carefully and correcting my mistakes, all of my projects turned out well in the end. Once I had mastered the basics, I spent most of my time crafting Christmas gifts and baby clothes.

When I returned to the US, I found an ad in the New York Times for a position at Coats and Clark. They needed a directions writer. They hired me because I was able to write directions just by looking at an item or even a photograph. I worked for them from 1974 to 1976 and it was here I learnt that I had been knitting incorrectly! A finisher called Maria showed me that my knit stitches on a garter stitch piece were twisted. Thankfully I corrected this mistake and went on to knit my first successful project; a white and oatmeal tweed jacket with ultra suede patch pockets.

When Coats and Clark moved out of the city, I worked at the Bucilla Yarn Company for two years. In my role as supervisor, it was my job to write directions and make samples. Eventually, I began work on their Off Loom Kits. The first project I took charge of featured a waterfall. The second featured a forest and was displayed on an embroidery hoop. My kits sold well and I was extremely proud. I enjoyed working for both companies because I was being paid to be creative and to do something that I loved.

Over the years I have worked at yarn stores in Brooklyn and New York. I have taught people how to knit, crochet, needlepoint, crewel and write directions. I love to be surrounded by yarn – it inspires me. I always ask myself “how would that fibre look as a hat, baby blanket, scarf or shawl?” and I simply can’t go into a yarn store without buying something. Just the other day I travelled into the city for two balls of yarn for a custom order. When I went to check out I left half of my pay check with the cashier!

Since 2005 I have been teaching at the PACE Knitting Circle. I instruct new students and together we produce baby blankets and bootees, along with hats for both adults and children. At the end of the year, Pace donates these items to hospitals and shelters. I love helping students to knit and crochet. Due to government cuts, these skills are no longer taught in schools. I want to pass along my knowledge to as many people as possible.

About two and a half years ago, my doctor handed me an article about WOOLN and instructed me to contact them. WOOLN sells unique items that have been hand-knitted by senior citizens who are living in New York. I’m so happy that I reached out to them, as I absolutely love my work. All the ladies are extremely friendly and I can’t thank Faustine and Margaux (the founders of WOOLN) enough!

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