Now that this year’s workshops have come to an end I find myself thinking about a bit more ‘making’ myself. I have some sewing projects that I could start, but it does rather commandeer the dining room table which may be more useful for wrapping up etc in the next week or so. There’s still a little cooking and baking to do before Christmas, but this cold snap has made me want to pick up my knitting needles once again.
It was my grandmother who taught me to knit as a child, but I’m not sure that I was a very quick or attentive student and much help was required from our babysitter too. Mrs Plumley could knit at high speed while watching Blakes 7 and munching on wine gums which gave her dreadful indigestion, but she had sufficient patience to deal with me! My mother always claimed that she was not a knitter though it has to be said that she has, in recent years, picked up needles and wool and created some gorgeous toys for various grandchildren. I think it’s fair to say that knitting was not one of my childhood hobbies, and not something I left home skilled in.
It wasn’t until I was pregnant with our first daughter that I contemplated knitting again. We moved to a new location when I was about five months pregnant, so I didn’t have a job to occupy my time and consequently embarked upon many creative projects while I waited for our arrival. Knitting a teeny weeny sweater for a newborn surely couldn’t be that hard could it? I could remember the basic stitches and have always reassured myself that if you can read you can learn. Reading a knitting pattern however is not quite the same as a recipe book is it?
I can’t think how many hours I spent in my endeavour to complete this little sweater, and Mr D did question at the time how appropriate it was to put the finished article on an innocent baby when the air surrounding its creation was so blue! I like to recall it now as being made with great love and devotion, the frustration being simply part of the process. I didn’t attempt any further knitting until I was pregnant again when it seemed only fair that baby number two should have her own sweater. The yarn I chose for this sweater was soft, fluffy and nigh on impossible to knit with, a classic beginners mistake I suspect. The completion of both these little jumpers could never have been achieved without the help of a great friend who lived locally at the time, her patience and encouragement to finish the projects was invaluable (as was her knowledge of picking up dropped stitches!).
I have knitted other small items in the intervening years, hats and mittens, dolls, teapot cosies and most recently I had an overwhelming desire to teach myself how to knit tiddly baby socks. There is something about making things in miniature that appeals to me tremendously and it was in fact a hugely satisfying project despite not knowing any little babies to palm the results onto.
I have often wished, needles in hand, that I had spent more time with my Granny and benefitted from her skill and experience in knitting. I think passing on knowledge like this through the generations is a real gift and something I have yet to bestow upon my girls. I don’t in honesty have much knowledge to give them, but experience tells me that there is almost always somebody who is only to happy to help. Many women have been so generous with their time to me over the years in helping me see various creative undertakings through to completion when I was a bit clueless, and I am grateful to them all.
I feel sure I am not the only one to require someone to show them not only how to knit, but how to resolve the almost inevitable dropped stitch scenario, and indeed how to then sew the whole collection of wonky pieces together at the end of the day. So, I am hosting a knitting workshop in January with Wendy Baker of ‘A Bit Woolly‘ who has been knitting all her life. Born in Yorkshire into a family of knitters Wendy can whip up a hat in no time at all and is confident that she can teach you and I to do so in a day too.
The benefits of knitting are well documented by hobbyists and experts alike. This article in The New York Times references many of the positive reasons to knit and I recommend a read, but for me it comes down to the message I often repeat, ‘do more of what makes you happy’ which for me comes down to making stuff in the company of others.
So, if you’ve been considering dabbling with some needles and wool why not come along on 12th January? My workshops are very relaxed and friendly, I will keep you energised with plenty of tea/coffee and delicious food and my aim is for you to leave feeling as though you’ve had a day at a spa minus the chlorine and massage! You can book by clicking here if you’d like to join us.
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