My grandmother first taught me to knit when I was about eight. The idea then was to make dolls clothes. She taught me to cast on in a way that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere since, and how to knit, purl and cast off.
I was terrible at it!! Whatever I tried, a doll’s scarf would start out at 2 inches wide and soft, then end up an inch wide with the stitches so tight that I couldn’t get the needle in to knit the next stitch. Gran was in despair… Eventually, we managed to get the scarf done, and I improved to the point where I knitted a ‘Rupert Bear’ and another violently coloured teddy bear a couple of years later.
But everything took so long! Or so a ten year old would think. I took up crochet instead, and found that I was easily twice as fast with the crochet hook. So I crocheted things as a teenager, whether they were cushion covers, granny squares or a rather unique jumper. Now that jumper was something to behold… It was warm, snuggly and you could just hide in it if the days weren’t going your way. It also had as many colours worked into it as I could lay my young mitts on. I think I may still have it somewhere. The crocheted jumper heralded a tiny return to knitting – the welt and cuffs.
When I went to university, I started knitting properly again. A group of friends used to get together and make knitwear. It was a reaction to being in a particularly cold and windy part of Scotland! In that group, I learned an easier cast-on, made a fanstatic forest green jumper out of a fuzzy bulky wool and learned the potential beauty of single colour garments. It is also where I developed my love of cable knitting and the intricate designs it produces. I can even make some of the easier ones 🙂