• Learning to Knit


Everyone has a great story it seems about learning to knit. There are more than enough stories to go around of mothers and grandmothers patiently showing small daughters and granddaughters to knit. Not to be sexist of course, Sheryl often tells me that her determination in learning to knit came from the fact her father could knit socks, ‘if he can do it, I certainly can!’ she says. These many hours spent making loops of yarn into something, anything are a wonderful memory to create. Often acrylic and brightly coloured these little swatches are not something to be treasured in and of themselves necessarily but surely the warm thoughts of those times chatting and knitting together remain with us as we grow into our knitterly selves.

I, as I may have mentioned, did not learn to knit this way. That’s probably why I feel it is so special. If my charming and crafty mother had taught me to knit, it probably would have been something like the time we made Bannock bread together for Brownies. While mom (and I suppose I have these dreams as well) always thought about the days she would teach her only daughter to bake, but when it came time it sometimes tended to go a little awry. I think I mentioned we would need this bread for the evening meeting sometime around 3 when I got back from school, leaving little time. As we started our rushed job the phone rang and my mother told me to measure out 4 teaspoons of baking soda. I, on the other hand heard fourteen spoons instead and dilligently began measureing them into the mixture. When mom got off the phone I was at about 10 and needless to say things went further downhill from there! Sometimes life is funny and you don’t quite end up with the idyllic picture you started out with….

Anyhow, I learned to knit from a book from the 70’s when I was about 15. It was a stitchionary with some sparse instructions. Armed with some longish plastic double pointed needles with rubber bands on the ends and some bright purple acrylic I was ready to rock. I’m not really sure what made me request these items in the first place but I didn’t so much learn to knit as attack the subject. After a nice purple garter stitch square and stripey garter scarf I was ready for bigger things. I made 3 or 4 blankets, all acrylic in different colours out of strips of different stitches. I would do a panel with knitting and purling, then one with a little lace, perhaps some cabling (I became immediatly smitten with cabling so the blankets are a little cable heavy). No notion of gauge or anything came into account so I’m pretty lucky that I guessed out some aran weight yarn and some 5mm needles!

So, take the time to teach someone you know how to knit this August. Remember to breathe deep, take the phone off the hook, and enjoy the process!

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