Today's topic is "Starting Out"
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?My mother taught me to knit in 1985 when we were living for a year in West Germany while my father was doing a sabbatical at the Uni Heidelberg. I'm not sure if I asked to learn (I cannot imagine I did), or if she was yarn shopping and was inspired to teach me (also unlikely), or if she was desperate for something to give me to occupy my time so I quit beating up on my little brother (most likely). Mom, if you have input, feel free to leave a comment.
Mom taught me; her mom (Oma) taught her; one of Oma's aunts who was very crafty (unlike her own mother, who was a musical artist but not a fiber one). The funny part of all this is that Oma is a southpaw, so she flipped Aunt Vera's instructions around so she could throw with her left. Then when she taught Mom it got flipped back. So now both Mom and I both knit "English with a twist" - pretty literally. I lift my entire right hand off the needle to wrap the yarn, which I understand is not standard practice. I once had a lady (at a UNC Hospitals Volunteers training, where I was knitting a preemie cap) tell me "you're doing it wrong."
I've since inherited Aunt Bertie's ivory knitting needles, plus Oma's remaining stash (mostly bobbins for colorwork) and needles/tools. During WW2 Oma claims she knit a pair of socks a week for the troops - and given the large quantity of steel US0 and US1 dpns from her collection, I can believe it. I still have several baby sweaters that she knit for me in the 1970s - and will treasure the two blankets she made for my babies in the 2000s. Mom used to do a lot more knitting, but now is totally enamored of her fancy sewing machine (don't get her started talking about the myriad cozies she's knit for the boat!).
I claim I learned to knit in 1985 - and this is technically true. Mom taught me how to cast on, the knit and purl stitches, and how to bind off. I made a stockinette scarf for myself (which curled, of course), and a cozy for my Swiss Army Knife (a familial love of cozies: nature or nurture? you decide). And then I put down the needles for a long time. There was a period of time during college when I would ask Mom to cast on for me, as I'd forgotten how. That period lasted for two scarves, after which she told me I could darned well learn how to cast on again. I turned to sewing and cross-stitch instead. When I had the DD I developed a fear that she would crawl on and/or eat a sewing pin or needle, and so I went back to knitting. I bought myself the "I Can't Believe I'm Knitting!" book at ACMoore, which came with needles, and launched back into it. That was, oh, 2004? In 2007 I published my first pattern (Reduce Reuse Recycle), and learned how to spin on a spindle last summer and on a wheel this spring. I've also been flirting with crochet this year.