A simple question led to stories – and memories. The question is this: How did you learn to knit? I asked it in my Ravelry group, and got permission to share some of the stories here. Many of us learned from a grandmother, mother, or auntie. Often we learned as youngsters, forgot about knitting for many years, and then rediscovered our skills as adults. These are a few of the stories. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I do. And be sure to read on to the end of the post to read about a giveaway. [Added February 11: we now have a giveaway winner, so further comments will not be eligible to win.]
When I was a wee little girl we lived just about a block from my paternal grandparents. Grandpa was the greatest and we had so much fun gardening with him and baking pies. Never had a pie as good as his ever. Grandma however had already raised 7 children and my dad was next to the youngest. My brother and I were his youngest and born when he was 38 and 40. All that to say grandma was pretty old at the time we were little but whenever mom had business to take care of we would stay with grandma and grandpa. Whenever Grandpa was not at home Grandma would give Tom and me a ball of butcher”s twine and either a crochet hook or a pair of knitting needles. she would sit us down in front of her rocker and get us started on chaining or casting on just in time for SEARCH FOR TOMORROW to come on the radio. You could not talk when the show was on, period. She had a look that would turn you to ice. During commercials however she would compliment, correct or give further instructions. She had several soaps she listened to and I learned to knit and crochet at my grandma’s knee while listening to her programs. I know I knew how to knit with good tension by the time I was six because I taught my First grade teacher to knit. It has been on and off over my life but I still think of grandma when I am knitting and those easy times of childhood.
My mum was an excellent knitter and she taught me to knit when I was about 8 years old…I was one of those funny little kids who was always making things! I didn’t realise how much patience she had until I think about it now! I remember when I was about 13 years old making a tank-top as part of my school uniform, the yarn would have scratched the shell off a tortoise! Needless to say my tension was all over the place and it ended up a little on the wide side!!! Oh and did I say a bit short. I was in a rush to finish it…laughin… But I wore it with pride.
Well—my Grandma Aeline was a knitter/crocheter, needle pointer and tatter and I never saw her just sit without a needlework project in her hands. When I was a little girl and my family would go to spend the weekend with my grandparents, as we would pull up towards their house (parked in the back) we would see her white hair in the window where she always sat-and we would always say, “Grandma is knitting her fool head off”. 🙂
I am 55 years old now and I can remember that like it was yesterday. When I was in junior high, she suffered a stroke after open heart surgery-and while she recovered enough to continue working on her needlework, she was sadly never able to really teach me to tat, which was what I longed to learn to do. Knitting was not an interest of mine at the time. I spent most of my early adult years immersed in cross-stitch but when my daughter (who had learned to knit) became pregnant with Grandbaby #1, she gave me a set of knitting lessons at a LYS–and just like that I became a knitter and have never looked back!
I just found a picture of my sister and I at Westport Washington with my Grandma with the beautiful white hair! Oh, and I am pretty sure we are wearing hand knit sweaters by her in this photo. (1966)
My first knitting experience was in 4-H. We knit slippers and I had the hardest time binding off, so that ended my knitting at that time. About 8 years ago a friend started knitting dishcloths and got me interested. I knit a lot of dishcloths until DH told me to find something else to knit as the drawer was full! (now my friends and family know just to ask for a dishcloth when they need a new one) I then found a club that mailed yarn and a pattern that had different techniques each month and I haven’t stopped knitting!
I learned to knit when I was 4. My maternal grandmother taught me. I still have the ball of blue cotton yarn that we used. I have kept it as a treasure. My mom could knit, but she didn’t enjoy it much. She was an educated seamstress and she really liked to embroider. My maternal grandmother sewed and she always crocheted.
My grandmother taught me to knit. She was really a knitting designer, she could realize whatever she wanted. Intrigued by techniques and very talented. I was just fascinated by all the things she was able to create. In my closet there is still a nice kimono jacket that she created for me.
I’ve loved reading each of these stories. I can just picture sitting at grandma’s knee listening to soaps on the radio, or a scratchy handknit tank top made by a 13-year-old and worn with pride. I can picture a white-haired grandma “knitting her fool head off,” a drawer full of handknit dishcloths, a treasured ball of cotton kept by a four-year-old who proudly learned to knit, and a lovely kimono made many years ago by a talented grandmother.
These, and all the others that have been posted our Ravelry group, are a gift. It’s so intriguing to hear the ways in which our craft is passed on from each generation to the next. And so often it is taught with love and joy. What’s your knitting story? How did you learn to knit? I’d love to hear about it.
I also love giveaways, so we’ll combine these two things. Leave a comment with your “How I Learned to Knit” story below, and I’ll choose a winner in about a week for a lovely skein of Malabrigo Arroyo in the Arco Iris colorway (similar to this one). [Added February 11, in case you missed it above, the giveaway is now closed].
In fact, we are also having a giveaway in the Ravelry group. Post your story there, as well, for another chance to win. There will be two winners – one there and one here. The instructions for the Ravelry group giveaway are at the top of that page…just look for the picture of the Malabrigo! Follow the link!