My mother first taught me to knit when I was about eight or nine, but I found it difficult to manipulate the needles and the yarn. I know I made a couple of squares of something, full of holes and all uneven. One side didn’t match the other and I gave up my pursuit of making my own sweaters.
As an adult I still wanted to knit and when I became pregnant with my first child we were living in Africa. I was determined to learn enough to knit a little sweater for our baby. I had six months and no one to teach me. At a church bazaar I found a book on how to knit and I bought it for about ten cents. I also got a booklet that had patterns for six sweaters to knit for baby. A couple of balls of yarn and needles from a local store and I was all set.
Have you ever tried to teach yourself something from a book? It’s not all that easy! I had to learn everything from scratch. I had forgotten even how to cast on and I had only a vague memory of the knit stitch, but had never even heard of the purl one. It took many tries to get that one straight. And that was only the first row. After about two weeks of ripping the work out I came up with a plan that worked for me. I made a small square about 2″ x 2″, using just the knit stitch then used that square to practice any new stitch or technique that I came across. Worked like a charm.
It wasn’t encouraging when a Canadian friend who was a knitter came to visit at Christmas. We got out our projects and after a few minutes of her knitting like a house on fire she looked at me and said, “You’ll never finish that sweater before the baby comes.” That was a challenge I gladly embraced. Not only did I finish it, but I knitted two more from the same booklet.
Since then I have knit many items for my daughters, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren. Remember leg-warmers from the early eighties? I made them. Christmas stockings? Done. Sweaters, hats, scarves, mitts, vests, booties, bonnets, baby dresses, doll clothes? Ditto. I still love knitting and despite the fact that I think some of the items created for my very modern grandchildren were a little old-fashioned, I would still love to pick up the needles, get a new pattern, and start clicking away.
Arthritis has put a stop to all but very occasional knitting but the repetitive motion of the needles, the feel of the yarn in my fingers, and the relaxing rhythm of the stitches still call to me. My daughters all know how to knit. I even taught Lindi, my left-handed daughter, how to knit right-handed. I know my girls will remember asking me something, and I’d say, “Just wait ’til I finish this row”. Well, now I’m finished.