I don't exactly remember when I learnt to knit, but I was probably around 12. My mum taught me. I didn't know how to cast on or off, I just learnt how to do the basic stitch and I probably knitted about 6 colourful squares. I really had not done much since.
Until, a few years ago, I was avidly reading Rhonda's blog Down to Earth and she had simple instructions on how to knit a dishcloth and lots of encouraging words. I put that on my "to do" list for simple living. I purchased some bamboo knitting needles and some red cotton. I didn't do much with them for quite some time, until a day came where my daughter was unwell and she just wanted me to sit with her. You know, when you are feeling sick and all you want is your Mum to sit with you (it really does just help you to feel comforted). While I was sitting and she was watching some TV, I thought that was a good opportunity to start having a go at knitting. Except I had no idea how to cast on!
|My knitting basket|
Thank goodness for You Tube, I managed to teach myself how to cast on. I felt so proud. The actual knitting action came back to me fairly quickly. The tension wasn't right and there were quite a few dropped stitches but it was a start. My Mum gave me one of her beginner books and my Aunty gifted me all of her knitting needles. We were so excited to receive this gift. I am learning that when you want to try something new the hardest part is just starting. Once you start all sorts of ideas, new understandings and opportunities come your way.
|Knitting needles and cases gifted to me from my Aunty|
Although, I was barely qualified to knit a square myself when she wanted to start! I had to keep reminding her that I was a beginner too and I wasn't sure I could fix any mistakes she made. My Mum had to rescue quite a few dropped stitches as I couldn't get the hang of recovering them (and I still can't!). She started off with a basic square and then very soon after announced she wanted to knit a scarf. At 8 years old, she was able to pick up the skill easily. The scarf is still a work in progress as it was taking quite some time, so she moved on to some smaller projects. We also found the bamboo needles were easier for her to manage as they didn't slip as much and my Mum found her some shorter ones which were easier too. It has taught her a great deal about patience and that we can learn new things no matter our age. It has taught her persistence too.
|Work in progress-scarf being knitted by my daughter|
So after mastering basic knitting I moved onto knitting this dishcloth. I love these two colours together.
I am halfway through this one now. Rhonda from Down to Earth recently suggested knitting them with an open weave so they dry out better. I would like to try that soon. Here is a link to her post about open weave dishcloths.
I also had the idea that I would like to make my daughter a patchwork blanket. My grandmother knitted each of her six grandchildren a blanket using lots of different yarn she had left over from different projects. This is the one she made for me when I was about 10 years old.
It always reminds me of her and we still use it, sometimes my daughter uses it and we always talk about Grandma when we have it wrapped around our shoulders or draped over our legs. It is like a warm hug from her each time. You can see she put my first initial on it, my brother and sister still have theirs and so do my cousins. Grandma is 92 years old now.
So over the past few years, I have been knitting these squares. I will sew it into a blanket when I finally finish all the squares and I hope my daughter will treasure it as the years go by. Just like we treasure Grandma's. My daughter is so looking forward to it. Each time another square is finished she cheers, counts them all up and tells me how many more there are left to do. There are quite a few! At the beginning she would play with the squares or rearrange them into different patterns or lay them all out on the floor and admire them. To be honest though, I haven't worked much on it over the past year, but I really must get back into it.
I also had the idea that I would like to make each of my nieces and nephew one like Grandma made for us. I have five nieces, one nephew and one on the way. We will see if I get there, one project at a time! A handmade gift is so meaningful to me. That person has put their time and love into a unique gift especially for you. It can't be bought at a shop, no one has another like it and there are stories to be told about it.
|When I started knitting my Mum found these at an op shop for me. I think they are so cute, I hope I can create some projects I can use them on.|
I have very basic skills knitting skills. I am definitely a beginner. However I find it enjoyable, it helped me through a tough period in my life, it gives me a sense of achievement, it has encouraged my daughter to try something new and learn a useful skill, it fills our home with beautiful and practical items - handmade by us or someone who has carefully created it for us. At the very beginning of my knitting journey, stitch by stitch, it has already given us all of this.