Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Learning to knit
I was reading a blogger's account of learning to knit. And why. It seemed like something that I should remember. But I don't. I know that when I was about 15, I saw a little Carnaby Street doll (remember the Mod 60's?) in a British women's magazine of my mother's and I wanted to make it. I didn't have to learn to knit to make it but needed a refresher in garter stitch. Fortunately, that was exactly what I knew how to do. I vaguely remember making an afghan square of garter stitch for Brownies. Looking at the doll today - of course, I still have it! - there was actually a fair bit of construction involved. And striping.
I think it's pretty typical that I fell into knitting because I wanted to make a doll. I was never one for playing dolls at all. Since I had younger siblings, there wasn't much interest in playing with plastic babies when I had the real thing. Nor was there much thrill to being a pretend mama - the real thing did not seem that exciting. So, dolls propelled me to learn to sew and, later, to knit. I loved making their clothes. Still do.
So, my Mod in a brown pea-coat led me to sweaters. The first was a gold pullover - I can still visualize the Sirdar pattern - made with yarn that I bought in Banff during a summer job. My friends were most impressed and began ordering sweaters. In those days, no one seemed to knit with any size bigger than 4 mm. It took a lo-ong time to knit a sweater. One memorable effort was emerald green cardi (very big color in our high school at the time) in all-over popcorn stitch with a brown crocheted trim. And that's when I learned to crochet.
I was still knitting when I went to UBC but things had slowed down a lot. One of the last request sweaters was an Aran style pullover in appropriate aran-weight yarn. The needles couldn't have been more than 3.5 mm and I remember struggling with the cabling which I had never done before. It was so tight and I thought I'd never finish it. Then and there, I vowed never to make another. A vow I completely forgot when my boyfriend (and future husband) asked for one a few years later.
None of these experiences ever put me off. The challenges kept me interested, I think, and I just sort of accepted each one as it presented itself. I know I never scrutinized anyone's pattern and said 'no, I can't do that'. And I'm still learning...the challenges are still exciting.