I think I was in a bit of a rut. I used to make jewellery and absolutely love photography, but without even really noticing I had let both these (and probably other hobbies) slide. Rossa kept pushing me to get the creative juices flowing again, to *do* something. He may now be regretting this.
I felt energised watching the crafters on TV creating such beautiful fabric on their looms. Something in this particular program spoke to me, tickled a memory somewhere in the back of my mind. I knew that weaving was a step too far, but knitting slowly appeared in my mind and I grabbed it.
I first learned to knit in primary school. I remember knitting a hairband. In a slightly sickly blue colour. It had holes everywhere. It did not have a straight edge by any stretch of the imagination. My best friends Hazel got her mum
help her to knit hers. It was red. And it was perfect. But my one was mine, I had knitted it myself and I loved it. I was *so* proud.
The two greatest female influences in my life, my mother and my grandmother, both knit. My nanny died when I was in 6th class, about 12, and I was devastated. I still miss her to this day even though I only knew her as a child. My mum, told me only recently that nanny used to machine knit garments to earn extra income for the family. She also tells stories of winding hanks of yarn for pocket money. I can imagine her as a girl in my nanny’s kitchen winding the wool.
My mum, despite her foibles that have become clearer to me as I get older, is the most inspirational person to me. I remember my mum knitting in the 80s before she went back to work. She made us the most amazing jumpers (a Mr. Happy jumper and aran style jumper knit in cotton come to mind), she knitted cuddly toys and clothes for my dolls. I feel so proud to have re-introduced her to the craft, although I’m still working on convincing her that the more luxury yarns are worth the extra cost. This is a common battle ground between us.
I remember going into Springwools in Nutgrove (now long gone) as a child. I was mesmerised then, as I am now, by the colours and textures. By the floor to ceiling shelves full of yarn. By the books of patterns to leaf through. By the rows of tubes of buttons.
So I bought my needles and yarn and set to knitting some swatches. Then I discovered a shop called This Is Knit and a true knitter was born.
I consider myself to be a very tactile person, I love to touch and squish and feel. I also love colour. I thought I had died and gone to heaven when I entered This Is Knit. I cannot say enough good things about Lisa, Jackie and their staff, they are passionate, helpful and knowledgeable. They and the other knitters I have met accepted me without question into a community that, up until then, I didn’t even know existed.
So for those people who are confused by what they see as an old-fashioned pastime: I love knitting because of the textures, the colours, the joy of creating something, of seeing it grow in your hands. I love the generosity of the community I have discovered. I love the possibilities of using a pattern as a starting point but not necessarily an end point. I love wearing a cowl or scarf that *I* created. I love giving gifts that I made with that person in mind. I love the fibres that I never knew existed (mmmm alpaca). I love crafting something both beautiful and practical. I love using my hands to create. I love that my mistakes become a feature that make an item unique. I love the link to my past, to my nanny and to my mum.
I love knitting.