Knit & Crochet Blog Week 1: Getting Started

Monday, April 26, 2010
I've decided to participate in the Knit and Crochet Blog Week festivities organized by Eskimimi on Ravelry and her blog (see here for the schedule, info, etc).  The idea is to post something every day this week on a different topic.  Pretty straightforward, yes, and it gives me a reason to update the blog!

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.

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All content in this blog, including patterns and photos, is the intellectual property of Katherine Vaughan. All rights under US Copyright Law are reserved. Teachers, please direct your students to download/print out their own copies of patterns used in class. You are, of course, welcome to use items knit from any pattern for charity or sale, with the statement "design by Katherine Vaughan" appreciated.