Saturday, 17 January 2009

A stitch in time

I remember first attempting to master a pair of knitting needles as a little girl in primary school ... one bright pink loopy, almost-but-not-quite square later, I arrived at the conclusion this was not a skill intended for hopelessly left-handed children. My mother, an accomplished right-handed knitter, also attempted to pass on her talent to me, but exasperation at my 'cack-handedness' soon found my knitting cast aside as I sought less troublesome activity and my mother breathed a sigh of relief. I finally taught myself to knit at the age of nineteen; I borrowed a 'how to' book from Mum, bought a pair of needles and a ball of wool and after much trial and error, eventually worked it all out in time for the birth of my daughter ...

Lesson one: how to hold the needles, a slip knot and casting on
After several false starts, the stitches at last begin to appear on the needle!

Step-by-step visual aids are handy learning tools, in this case a book by Fay's side and Mum sat next to her ready to demonstrate with her own set of needles at a moment's notice!

Hey, we're up and running with our first row of garter stitch!
Finally, after hours' of practice and several calls to help unpick mistakes, Fay is now knitting stocking stitch independently!

... the same twenty five year old daughter who asked me to teach her how to knit last week. I took a deep breath, promised some 'mum/daughter' time and donated a pair of knitting needles, a couple of balls of wool and a 'how to' book to the cause. Yesterday we cosied up on the couch and began our very first lesson. These pictures show Fay's progress so far - it's a little haphazard still, but she's advancing fast and reminding me of exactly how difficult a skill knitting is to master. I must say I'm very proud of the progress she's made - yes, she's a little scatty at remembering which side of the needles she needs to hold her wool as she works and yes, she does tend to overlook mistakes preferring instead to plough on, but she can manipulate the needles and wool quite comfortably now and has even progressed from plain ol' garter stitch, through to purl and stocking stitch. We've a long way to go, but if she remains interested, I think we'll soon begin pattern reading and then it will be time to create a something!
So the message is, pass it on! The crafting skills we mums have garnered over the years shouldn't be taken for granted, nor left to gather dust in favour of Wii games and Iphones; no, let's make time to keep them alive for future generations, ensuring we hand them on to our daughters and yes why not our sons too? Although I confess, I think it will be a rainy day in hell before I succeed in convincing my own footy playing, six foot three caveman, that the ability to knit may come in handy for him one day!


  1. A blog that brought back memories Paula. As a young boy I had a girl cousin who had a range of hobbies and I learned to sort-of knit from her. I found it frustrating but fun once mastered. My interest in the skill only lasted a short time, but I reckon I still know how to do it at 69! Might try again in my old age! :) - Dave

  2. I do admire anybody who can knit.

    After many failed attmepts and only ever acquiring the knack of knitting holes, HUGE ones, I gave up.

    Well done to your daughter.


  3. Great thing, Paula! And compliments to your daughter... I have started the very same thing many times, but it seems I'm not inclined to knitting- my hands hurt terribly... sob! I am sooo 'envious' of you, lucky knittin' girls!!
    Monica x.

  4. Lucky you, I have always wanted to learn to do that!!!

    Hi, Laura Lynn tagged me to post 6 random things about myself and I wanted to know if you'd like to play ;) You can find out how to play @ my Blog...


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