Well WIP Wednesday may have to wait until a) I’m paid and can afford materials for a new project and b) my camera resurfaces from the depths of its hiding place. Fortunately, I have outsmarted my camera’s intentions for I have pictures of my first ever knitting project. Let me explain: knitting has always been a big bug bear for me. Although I never had any parental tuition in crochet despite both my parents apparently being able to, although I never saw either of them crocheting, when I started teaching myself it just seemed to come naturally. I understood fairly quickly how to read patterns, but more than this I quickly and easily found my own way of controlling the yarn, holding the needle. I still made mistakes, but more often than (k)not, I could seem where I had gone wrong and correct it. Knitting, however, is an entirely different matter. My mum tried to teach me on several occasions, but I never got beyond knitting scarves that were far too small for even the smallest human being and they were too big even for my dolls, essentially straggly, holey swatches. I couldn’t find a comfortable way to hold the needles or control the yarn, and mistakes appeared out of the blue and it just took so bloody long to produce anything. I never tried to knit again for another 20 years and then I discovered crochet.
Knitting and crochet seem to be inextricably intertwined. As I got more into crochet, the more I saw about knitting. I’d be searching out patterns for crochet and find knitting patterns that I prefered. Not being able to knit had me feeling left out: all those beautiful thing that I could make if only I could knit! I even owned knitting needles, after expressing my desire to learn I was given some for Christmas presents. So a couple of months ago, mired in the frustration of the poverty portion of the month where there is not enough month to buy lovely yarns, I decided to have a look through my stash and found a pair of still packaged 5mm needles. “Enough is enough” said the inner voice, so I grabbed some needles, some aran yarn and a knitting tuition book (also a gift), marched downstairs and began, once again, to teach myself to knit. Within a couple of hours, somehow, I had picked it up. I had to work at it much more than I did crochet and mistakes were frequent, but the tuition book really helped me to see what I’d done wrong, and came with a the sage advice ‘never be afraid to undo your work and start again’. I discovered that I knit tightly, a problem I had when I was 8. I just couldn’t get the needle through the stitches after my first row so I had to force myself to knit loosely. After a couple of holey, and subsequently unpicked, swatches later a perfect one emerged. Oh the pride, the joy!
In a flurry of excitement, I bought my first knitting magazine. After flicking through various patterns for sweet little baby clothes, a beautiful fair isle type red dress for a little girl (that I will make one day!) I realised I still didn’t really know how to follow a complex knitting pattern. Tucked in the last pages through was a pattern for a toy, a sweet little cat. All stocking stitch with a few increases and decreases. The yarn was Drops Baby Merino which is so soft and quite fine so I bought new needles, and set about the pattern. The magazine had conveniently come with a free row counter, a piece of kit I’ve never had cause to use before. It was like it was meant to be! I discovered that I enjoyed knitting with finer needles and yarn. I can understand why chunky needles and yarn are recommended for beginners, so that mistakes can be seen and whatever you’re knitting knits up quickly, but I found I much preferred the opposite. Little knitted stripey legs and arms appeared on the side of the sofa and not long after I started I was ready to assemble and stuff the knitty kitty, as he came to be known in my home.
Here he is. I’m so pleased with him. After not being able to knit for so long, and feeling almost left out, I’ve begun to make inroads into knitting. I’m also quite pleased with my fairly ropey embroidery skills as the mice, claws and facial features, apart from the eyes are all embroidered. I’m desperate to improve my skills though, and I’m not particularly a scarf person, but I think I’ll have a go at some mittens and a blanket, and then hopefully progress on to knitting some clothes. I’ve read that local knitting groups can be a good place to learn new skills, but I feel a bit bad just turning up to mooch instruction, so I’m going to try working on it by myself for a while. I love cardigans and I’m rarely spotted not wearing one so would love to knit my own selection of cardis. I also love knowing that when I eventually get round to having children, I’m sure I’ll be able to knit them something. Indeed my first child will be the one to have the Knitty Kitty.