Saturday, January 26, 2008
Learning to knit
The current blogging topic for the Hot Cocoa Swap is this:
"What is the most 'random' memory you have from your childhood? I know it's not knitting content, but I love learning about the little quirks and interesting things about people!"
Honestly, I have a hard time thinking of random memories on demand -- it seems a bit contrary to the idea of random. However, when I think of knitting as a child, I have quite a few random memories.
My mother is left handed. Back when she was a child, that meant she wasn't taught to knit or crochet -- it was thought to be too difficult for her to adapt (too bad her mother didn't know Continental knitting -- it seems like it would be perfect for a left-hander). So she taught me how to sew and cook and other wonderful skills, but I had to teach myself to knit.
I can't remember exactly how old I was when I decided to learn. And I can't even remember how I obtained needles and yarn. It probably all started with a Girl Scout badge (I was on a mission to earn all of them).
I think I was about 8 or 9. And, of course, my first project was a scarf.
I can't remember all the details surrounding how I learned, but I can picture the progress of that scarf. It was an off-white (not a good choice!) so it was stained from my hands. The stitches were horribly uneven, but mostly very, very tight. The edge rambled back and forth -- the scarf ranged widely in width as I knitted more and more tightly. But I got it finished and was very proud of my accomplishment.
The strongest memory I have from that time is consciously forcing myself to learn to knit loosely. I had a devil of a time with that first scarf trying to fit the needle into the stitch....it was just so tight! On the second project, I forced myself to loosen each stitch as I made it, and realized how much easier it was to work with! Now, of course, I knit a little too loosely, and sometimes have had to go down 4 or 5 needle sizes to get my gauge (normally it's about 1-1/2 or 2 sizes...)!
The interesting thing about all this remembering, is that I taught my two nieces (ages 8 and 11) to knit this week. The 8-year-old is really the one who is most interested. She went through a little bit of instruction and has been knitting all week! Her older sister didn't want to miss out on it, but was less interested and paid less attention to the instruction. Next time I see her, I want to give her a refresher course so she can continue if she's interested.