Sunday, 14 December 2008

Knitting - More Than Just A Lifeline

When I was a young child (up to the age of 6) we lived with my grandparents.  It wasn't that unusual in those days because although I was born almost a decade after the end of the war, housing was still in short supply in London.  My grandparents owned a large Victorian terraced house with four bedrooms so it was easy to accommodate my parents and myself.  In those days mothers with young children rarely went out to work and my mother was no exception.  Both my grandfather and father worked, and my grandmother had a part-time job just a matter of yards from the house.  Money was in short supply but I always had clothes enough to wear even if they were home-made.  But that also wasn't so unusual at the time.

My mother and grandmother were knitters and I remember being taught to knit before I went to school.  My mother was also quite an accomplished dressmaker, so although I wore home-made clothes, they were of a very high standard, and I particularly remember two kilts that I had which my mother had made for me. There was always a white cardigan to wear with my best dress for special occasions, and one white cardigan was completed just in time for the wedding of one of my cousins.  Weddings in those days were often catered from home and at this particular wedding there was red jelly for the children.  Unfortunately, some of the jelly got spilt onto my brand new white cardigan, and as you know red anything can be almost impossible to clean off anything.  For a couple of years I had to wear this cardigan with its little tell-tale spot of pink on the front.

Having been taught to knit, the first things that I made were scarves and hats for my dolls.  As I got older I started to make other clothes for them and more than one doll had a smart knitted suit made up of simple shapes.  As I got older I was taught more of the complexities of knitting and by the age of 11 I was knitting jumpers for myself.  The first jumper that I knitted for myself was red in colour and was completed on the day that England won the World Cup.  I've knitted many things for myself and for others since that time and knitting still remains one of the things that occupies me in the evening as I watch television.

I have knitted hats and scarves, gloves and mittens, jumpers and cardigans, Aran patterns and Fair Isle patterns, clothes for babies, clothes for children, and clothes for adults.  In the last 18 months I have started knitting lace shawls and have created some wonderful items.  I cannot envisage a time when I won't have some sort of knitting on the go, particularly in the winter when the nights are long and there is little to do but stay indoors.

Since I have been writing this blog I have mentioned my knitting on a number of occasions and a some of those who read my blog have commented on the lovely things that I am making and how they have been encouraged to start knitting again, and in some cases, begin knitting for the first time. 

Knitting is one of those hobbies that doesn't need a lot of expensive tools and materials to get started with.  Initially all you will need is a pattern, some wool and a couple of pairs of needles. As you gain in confidence and in experience then you can increase the number of patterns that you have, and the pairs of needles.  I have recently become a devotee of bamboo needles; I had never used them in the past thinking that they would be flimsy, but they are recommended for people who suffer from arthritis and as I the top joint in the forefinger of my left hand is starting to become arthritic I decided to see if bamboo needles would make any difference.  They have, and I have found a wonderful supplier of bamboo needles on ebay, from whom I have purchased several sets.

A few months ago I was discussing the interest that had been shown when I was writing about knitting on my blog with a friend, Mr Smiley.  He suggested that I do something more than just write about what I am knitting at the present time and perhaps do a series of posts giving guidance on knitting techniques.  I have been giving this more thought over the last week or so, with the result that I think that it would be quite a good idea.

So, to the readers of this blog, I am offering to do a series of posts covering the basic, and perhaps eventually some of the more advanced, techniques in knitting.  But this is not worth doing unless I have some idea of how useful people would find this.  With this in mind, I am inviting those of you who would be interested in such a series to get in touch with me, either through a comment to this post or by emailing me at Perhaps you would also indicate what sort of things you might like to have covered in these posts and I will start building up a series of posts and videos to show you how to do things.  I have to say that I am right-handed, so any of you who are left-handed might have a problem following how to do things.  However, if there was sufficient interest, I might even attempt to teach myself to knit left-handed so as to create videos for you too.


cb said...

I really like that idea. I am a lapsed knitter (I learnt from my grandmother when I was younger) - I find it good for relieving stress but haven't made anything other than scarves and little wool coasters (like scarves but less time involved!) and think it would something interesting to follow - I am a left-hander though ;)

madsadgirl said...

cb - It is just so typical that the first person to comment would be a left hander.

Lily said...

Yay!! That sounds great!! You've totally made my day with that idea. :)