My grandma Foster taught me to knit on one of her annual visits, when I was 7 or 8 years old, and my Mum completed the training. I rarely saw either of them without some garment on the go. I don’t remember owning or wearing a shop-bought jumper until I was in my late teens.
To people of my parents and grandparents generation and social class, knitting was almost a way of life. Having learned to knit when I was young, I made all the usual small items – mostly scarves or hats – and it was not until I was in my early teens that I graduated to larger garments. My Mum was particularly good at cable sweaters, and I learned the craft from her, eventually (in 1978) knitting a long coat in Aran with cables, bobbles, and pockets. It was so beautiful I almost didn’t dare wear it! I still have it, although the moth has been in munching away in various places, so I have some repair work to do – luckily I found a few balls of the original cream Aran wool in my stash, so at least I don’t have to worry about matching it.
I knitted off and on throughout my teens and twenties and thirties, interspersed with bouts of needlepoint, cross stitch, and crochet (which Janet, Mum’s best friend, taught me when I was 16). But I always come back to knitting. I took it up again four or five years ago, and have been teaching myself new techniques – lace knitting, sock knitting, and now Fair Isle.
My Fair Isle knitting is in it’s early stages – still a little too tight, simple shapes only, and limited colours. In fact, most of what I have done so far look like a number of swatches! But I am getting there, and getting better. I will be blogging about this a good deal in the future!
I also taught myself Lace Knitting, although I would say that I have only reached the intermediate stage so far. Nevertheless, I have produced a couple of rather nice shawls (with a third in progress) and a shrug. The next stage is to try some of the advanced Lace patterns, where every row is patterned, rather than only alternate rows.
All of my crafting life, with a very few exceptions, I have been following other people’s designs, treading in their footsteps. I really want to try designing for myself, but have never really had the courage to try it until now. That is my next big challenge!