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!
29 thoughts on “Our Knitting Stories: How Did You Learn to Knit? (Giveaway Completed)”
My mother and grandmother taught me to knit when I was about 5 or 6. They were knitting and I just kept buzzing around the room so they cast on some stitches and handed me the needles as a way to get me to sit down. I didn’t progress any further than little squares until I was in college recovering from surgery. I knit a doll sized sweater and have been a constant knitter since.
Love your knitting story! Thanks for sharing. ❤️
I actually learned to knit in a class. I had always wanted to learn but didn’t know anyone to teach me so when I saw a Groupon I jumped on the chance. It was a small yarn shop in DC that doesn’t exist anymore but they were kind and patient and told me to calm down when I saw knitting made me want to vomit. HA! I was entirely too tense and my knitting was tight and then after watching one YouTube video over and over again while working on my homework it all just sort of clicked! And I was hooked from that moment forward.
Thank you for sharing your story, DWJ! Knitting classes are a great way to learn or add to our skill set. It’s how I learned to do colorwork. 😊
Colorwork is on my list for this year. I’m a huge sweater knitter but I haven’t tackled that yet.
I LOVE colorwork! It’s so much fun to see the design emerge row by row – and sometimes hard to put down because of that! Taking a class was definitely the way to go for me so that I could see how to hold the yarn.
Such wonderful stories! 🙂
I love them, too!
What great stories! I love how, so often, knitting knowledge is passed down by family members.
I learned around 7, partially from my mom and partially from scouring one of those “learn to knit” booklets with illustrations. I remember once my mom cast on some stitches, showed me the basic moves, then had me work a few rows. I remember that when I brought it back to her, she counted the stitches and commented that I had added some. At the time, I didn’t realize that wasn’t necessarily the goal, and I was so proud of myself! Later, I loved to take my mom’s stitch dictionary and try out different patterns. I really wish I had pictures of some of those early projects!
Thank you so much for sharing your knitting story, Alex!
So interesting! I learned from my mother but I was not really into knitting and crochet, so I didn’t enjoy it very much at the beginning.
Thanks for sharing, Giorgia! Did you come to enjoy it later? If so, what made the difference?
Such lovely stories! It’s heartwarming to see the connections built over needlework, be it with a mother, grandmother, sister, or friend..I learned how to knit in my pre-teen years. I remember that one day me and my friend got together, when she told me she was interested in knitting. Only we didn’t know anyone who could teach us. A few days later we both were huddled over yarn, learning to knit through youtube videos. My very first knit was a scarf and hers a hat, we truly enjoyed making them. It was a great bonding experience <3
Thank you for sharing your story! It’s wonderful! ❤️
I learned basic knitting skills from my mother, first, actually as a form of physical therapy for motor skills training.
Needless to say, 5-year-old me wasn’t too thrilled about it, and much crying happened. I did, however, manage to make a lumpy garter stitch scarf for my barbie doll, which I was quite proud of at the time.
In my teenage years, after my mother passed away, I inherited all her needles/books, etc. I wasn’t sure what to do with them, but I didn’t want to give them away. So, I taught myself the rest of the skill set with a Patons ‘Learn to Knit’ book (I still have that book somewhere!) In my university years, I found Ravelry; and now I’m knitting daily!
Thank you for sharing your story, Sarah.
I started crocheting at 7-8 after learning bits and pieces from my great-grandmother and mom.
Knitting came much later. I was doing a college internship and the manager I was assigned to decided it would be a good idea to teach me to help settle down after long work days. I’m utterly grateful to her for taking that bit of time on lunch breaks to teach.
What a kind and insightful manager. Thank you for sharing!
OMGosh! I’m taking my first knitting class tomorrow and I am so excited and anxious. I feel like I should know how by now with all the library books, web tutorials, and videos I have already watched. But I just couldn’t get the hang of it! Being disabled, I couldn’t really afford a class. So two dear friends of mine, who recently opened their own LYS, gifted me a class and some yummy merino wool yarn from their store. I’m already very particular about yarns after years of experience in the fiber arts, just not knitting. So I am obviously excited but anxious too since I haven’t been able to “catch on” by myself. I’m praying that learning in person will be the best way for me to learn (and practicing, of course). I organize a Fiber Fellowship here in Frederick so once I get the hang of it, I will have lots of help. I’m blessed to have such talented friends and I’m extra blessed to finally learn how to KNIT!
Have a wonderful time at your class! Sometimes that in-person instruction will make all the difference! Have FUN!!!
I learned how to crochet in 4H but only knew how to chain. After college I decided I wanted to learn so I found a booklet from 1970s in my mom’s house (she doesn’t knit or crochet), stopped at craft store, bought some yarn needles and a baby pattern booklet. I taught myself just like that. Later I found out one of my grandmothers knew how to knit but did enjoy it so hadn’t knitted in over 50 years.
Thank you for sharing your knitting story! Wonderful that you taught yourself!
When I was about 8 my moms sister gave me a ball of yarn and a pair of aluminum knitting needles and taught me the basics of “casting on”. I played with it for a little while but the needles and yarn disappeared and I hadn’t thought about it again until I was in my mid adult years..Having you tube I was able to pretty much teach myself..I’m trying to remember my first project since I didn’t know anything about Ravelry then….I think it was a baby sweater…..
I love your knitting story! You Tube is a great resource for learning all types of things. My husband has used it for fixing the dryer, fixing a brake light that stayed on continuously, etc… Thanks for sharing! 🙂
I am late posting, but I learned to knit when I was in high school. My mom had been a knitter for many years and I asked her to teach me. I’ve never really looked back since. But since my mom will only knit on straight needles and only with one color yarn, a few years ago (when I discovered Ravelry and Craftsy) I finally decided to teach myself how to knit in the round and to do colorwork. And the rest is history. I just love that I can knit (thanks mom!) and I love that there’s always something new to learn. I am also thankful for the community that I have found through knitting.
Thank you for sharing your knitting story! I love it! Ravelry and Craftsy are such great resources for knitters. You’re right that there’s always something new to learn in knitting; I love that too! I’m thankful to know you. 🙂
The giveaway is now completed. I would still love to hear your knitting stories, but comments following this one will not be entered into a giveaway.
A huge thank you to everyone who shared your knitting stories!!!