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Starting Out April 26, 2010

Posted by Fiona in Craftiness, Knitting, Look what I did, Lovely people.

(Really exciting banner.  For which I believe I can thank Eskimimi Knits.  Good show.)

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?

I always tell people that I started to knit when I was eight years old, and that my grandma taught me over Christmas, and then when she went home my mum taught me properly.  This is probably the best way to describe it to someone who only wants to know in passing conversation.  My grandma was always  a very competent, very fast, very practical knitter.  My mum far prefers sewing and dressmaking, but is the queen of intarsia and hats for the Shoebox Appeal, that she knits flat and sews up.  She’s started knitting in the round very recently, because I’ve shown her how to do it, and she can do lace and cables, if she wants to, but she rarely does.  In some ways, my mum is the better engineer, because of her dressmaking experience and because most of what she knits she’s taught herself from first principles.  She knits oddly, does my mum.

At the age of eight, my grandma taught me to cast on, and to knit.  I was gloriously rubbish at it.  As soon as she left I ripped it back and my mum helped me cast on again.  When I was ten or so, she bought me ‘How to Knit’ by Debbie Bliss, and then I was absolutely sold: most teddy bears in my household have a two-colour garter stitch scarf that I made around this time, and we still have a cushion cover I knitted over an entire summer (with a fair-isle motif on it that I made up as I went along!  It’s taken me years to be that daring since!).  After a while, I went to my mum asking to learn how to purl, and I made a few hats, knitted flat and sewn up, like she did, and knitted scarves with novelty yarn on the bus.

I attribute my learning to do exciting things with knitting, and discovering what a resource the internet was, almost entirely to one pattern.  (Aaand here’s where it might get a little creepy, since as far as I’m aware, its designer has started reading my blog recently.  Um, hi.  Please take this as a compliment!)  A couple of years back, I discovered somehow a pattern on the internet for a pair of knee-high socks called Cinderella’s Secret Stockings (it’s a small world, isn’t it?), which made my jaw drop.  Socks!  Knitted!  Ribbon!  Patterns with holes in them!  Things I’d wear and my grandparents probably wouldn’t!  I learned to knit socks for this pattern, and taught myself the basics of lace from a combination of books and Youtube, and they took about four months.  I finished them on 30th December 2008, and they made me insanely happy.  I was devastated a few months back when I found one of them had got a hole in it.  Do you remember these?

After that, no longer daunted by lace, shaping or turning corners, it was only a matter of time before I found Knitty, and a whole host of knitting blogs.  About this time last year, I found Ravelry.  Then there was no stopping me.  I’m currently working with test knitters on my first soon-to-be-published pattern.  (If you’re on Ravelry, and you’d like to help, step this way, there are a few openings left.  Come help me be a better knitter?)

So I learned to knit when I was eight.  I learned to purl when I was ten.  I really, properly, learned to understand what I was doing about two years ago.  So I don’t know when I properly started out, but now I feel like one of knitting’s success stories.



1. Lucy - April 26, 2010

2. Roobeedoo - April 27, 2010

Oh my goodness! A pair of Cinders’ Stockings!! You don’t see many of those around, do you?! Tee hee hee!

Fiona - April 27, 2010

I thought you might be surprised! It was, I seem to remember, a really lovely pattern to work with. Much underrated!

3. Stitchin Biz - April 27, 2010

I taught myself to knit from watching my mother and sisters knit… what people find strange is that when I knit it looks like I’m knitting backwards… it works – but I do cheat most of the time and dont know how to read patterns… I just make it up as I go.. one day I should get someone to give me some proper lessons. I am more of a sewing person than a knitter- but knitting projects seem to come to me.

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