Knitting was the first real craft I picked up. When I was around 7 my mother came to my primary school to run a knitting workshop. She (and some other crafty mummies) taught all the girls in the class the basic knit stitch:
- Push the right hand needle through the first loop and behind the left hand needle
- Make sure the wool is at the rear of the needles and wind it round the right hand needle in an anti-clockwise direction
- Catch the yarn with the right needle; pull a loop of the wool through the first stitch, bringing the right needle in front of the left needle
- Pull the top stitch off the left needle by pulling on the right needle
We made a knitted worm bookmarks and I immensely enjoyed the task (I made a whole family of different coloured worms – some with some sever wounds where I dropped a stitch).
I practised my knitting a lot and when shopping for wool came across the wonderful knitted world of Jean Greenhowe. She has the cutest patterns for a whole community of knitted wonders:
– storybook characters
They truly are the most enchanting knitted dolls and worth checking out if you enjoy knitting and like giving handmade gifts to family and friends.
The knitted dollies forced me to improve my knitting repertoire. I learned how to cast on and off, learnt the purl stitch, figuring out how to pick up stitches and practised trying to keep my tension consistent.
The first doll I made was Lady Letita and her little dog. I was only 8 and did have trouble following the pattern so my mum helped me out a lot. But I spend days crafting the little knitted lady and she turned out great. The parts my mum knitted where a lot better as her tension was a lot more consistent and boy was she a lot faster. But I sewed her all up and stitched the face. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture and the doll is in storage.
When she was finally finished I was so happy but thought she needed some friends.
However my knitted doll frenzy ended about the time I was 12 because I was now in high school and didn’t have the hours so devote to crafting whimsical toys.
I don’t think I picked up the needles again until the iPod was released. Yes, I was inspired by the gadgets and decided a funky knitted cover would be a great accessory. So I made them (for my Shuffle) and then the rest of the class (and my math teacher wanted one).
I took orders (without charge, of course) for all types of iPods. People specified the style and wool texture they wanted and I would knit away. A common request for the boys (yep even they liked them) was football colours. The girls wanted a design feature. At the time I was not able to do shapes in knit (such as hearts and stars) but the demand for the item taught me to learn – sketching out the design on graph paper then translating it to wool.
I recall sitting in the back of the class trying to hide the needles as I knitted away while the teacher taught the lesson. Retrospectively, it was a bit naughty but the teachers didn’t mind (I went to a very relaxed school and they all knew I was still paying attention).
After about 20 iPod covers (in various colours, shapes, textures and patterns) my knitting needles were once again retired.
But I do miss the click-clack sound of the needles tapping each other during each stitch (I used to practise speed knitting (like my mum) just so this sound would get faster and louder). So I am now looking for inspiration for my next project. I am ready to pick up my needles again and enjoy getting lost in a woollen project in front of the TV.
The Modern Home Economist is calling for advice and inspiration. Does anyone have a project that they are working on at the moment which they would like to share? Preferably something not too tricky (as I am a bit rusty) but something practical would be perfect…