Question – How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda?
Answer – My first memory of knitting was being at primary school and knitting a bookmark. Big plastic needles, acrylic yarn and back and forth on 6 stitches of garter stitch. I can’t rmember what colour it was or if I ever finished and used it.
Then in my teens my mum and I made a few tops and jumpers in fluffy mohair. Basic stockinette squares sewn together, drop shoulders and batwing sleeves (well it was the 80s!).
In the early 90s a friend showed me a copy of Kaffe Fassett’s Glorious Knitting book and I decided I needed to make something. I had no idea how to knit with more than one colour, so Colin’s mum showed me and I was off. Before tackling the Kaffe Fassett, I made a navy blue cardigan which had the Pink Panther all across the back and paw prints across the shoulders, all done in intarsia. I never wore it and gave it to my nan. Then I went and bought all kinds of odd balls of colours and made a stunning Kaffe Fassett jumper. This is the photo of the original in the book and I pretty much stuck to those colours.
I loved it and wore it until it fell off me. A friend of mine asked if I could make her one, so I said if she bought the yarn I would. She did! Her version was in various shades of green. I completely randomised the colours so I would sit on the floor surrounded by little balls of wool, and have at least 12 strands hanging off the back of the work for each block of colour. Then I made a HUGE jacket from the same book, it is still hanging in my spare room wardrobe. You could fit about 3 of me in it!! This is the original from the book…..And this is my version…..These weren’t self striping yarns either – every colour you can see there is a separate yarn, changing every so many stitches and rows. Some are two yarns held together because the pattern was for chunky weight yarn but to get that thickness sometimes it was necessary to use lighter yarns held together. There is a complete mixture of yarn types too, wool, acrylic, chenille, anything I could get my hands on at the time – living in Bangor, N Wales, meant there was not a great source of yarn locally.
I stopped knitting again at that point, and then about 4 years ago I was watching TV and saw someone knitting. “Hmmm, haven’t done that in a while. What have I not made before? SOCKS!!” My obsession began. I discovered new yarns, new needles, the world of internet knitting!! It was amazing. I haven’t stopped since.
As for the learning part, I suppose it was my primary school teacher who taught me garter stitch, my mum and nan who showed me basic casting on and off and purling, Colin’s mum who showed me two colour knitting and the rest I’ve taught myself from books and the internet and friends I’ve met recently through the knitting group. I don’t knit because celebrities do it or because its trendy, I do it because basically I can’t stop!!!