Sunday, 25 April 2010

Back to Knitting

So, if it has been twenty plus years since I did any sewing, it must be longer still since I did any knitting.  And as a teenager I used to knit all the time and enjoy it (I really didn't like sewing much at all back then).  Luckily there isn't too much documentary evidence left of those jumpers - I have memories of a very shapeless, boxy jumper that really, really didn't fit me and that my sister later acquired and a black jumper with colourful squares dotted over it that I was very attached to and wore until it fell to bits circa 1995.

Alas, no photos (that I'm admitting to) survive!

It's not as if I lack knitting needles as a recent sort out of the blanket chest in our spare room revealed!

Oh my!  I don't think I'll ever need to buy another knitting needle.  I've been through and tried to sort them out and I think I have more than one set of every size imaginable.  The lovely red knitting needle box was a present from my German pen friend with whom I'm still in touch thirty years down the line and will be visiting in June.  She'll be absolutely amazed that I still have this. In fact - so am I.

The green box and the other assorted needles all came to me from my Granny's collection.  We went up to Scotland to visit my paternal grandparents every other summer and all my memories of those trips include Granny knitting.  She could knit and hold a conversation, knit and watch TV .... if she was sitting down, she was invariably knitting something.

The other essential part of my knitting kit is my bag - another hand me down, but this time from my other grandmother.  I don't think that she actually used it for knitting from what I've learned about her (she died when I was very small) - I guess it was for embroidery projects or some such.  Still - it's perfect for my knitting and really pretty too.

So having found all these goodies, I had no excuse! 


I decided to ease myself back into knitting with some really easy projects.  Scarves don't need too much by way of skill and the gauge really doesn't matter.  The first of these was knitted without a pattern in a simple rib using a really lovely suede effect yarn.  The second took a little bit more time (OK - lots more).  The pattern was courtesy of Purl Bee and is fittingly called the April Showers scarf (it's raining as I type this!).  I made this up in a pima cotton yarn rather than the cashmere called for in the pattern ... I'd love to knit in cashmere but I'm violently allergic to lambswool, cashmere, mohair .... and all those other lovely yarns, so I have to make do with cotton, silk and acrylics.

So, I can knit long rectangles ... big deal!  

What next?  

Tomorrow might just find me at the local wool shop looking for inspiration and something a little more complex.  In the meantime, I've got half a skein of the red yarn left over and a rainy Sunday afternoon - it's time to get the crochet instructions out again and see if I can't make some headway there.  

Someone told me recently that crochet was supposed to be easier than knitting - I'm finding that hard to believe!!


  1. I'm not so sure that crochet is easier than knitting but once you get going it's a lot quicker. Be warned though it is strangely addictive. I started learning in January... so far 3 hats, 7 cupcakes, 1 baby blanket, 73 assorted squares for big blanket, 1 and a half pairs of socks, 1 dog, 1 doll, and a whole Valentine's window display of heart pillows and cute bunnies... Think I have a problem.
    PS where was your Scottish granny from ?

  2. Wow Fiona, you seem to be doing so much better than me on the crochet front! I really am not doing so well with it. I have made a small bag but attempts at other things have failed miserably and there has been lots of unravelling (and swearing).

    My Dad was born and raised in Arbroath - indeed many generations of the family come from that area. Oddly enough one branch of our family (the Thorntons) came from Alyth originally!

  3. I remember that jumper! It was a flecked grey with blue bits in it and it opened with buttons on the left shoulder. You looked lovely in it (in a very '80s sort of way!) and I coveted it... I seem to remember inheriting it when you wanted to throw it out and I was at uni, possibly? Anyway, if you're getting back into knitting I had lots of fun with a book called 'Stitch 'n' Bitch' which had some funky patterns.

  4. ps. I have always thought of you as a keen knitter, actually. I wonder where that perception came from? Possibly from your vast collection of knitting needles!

  5. I too have the Stich 'n' Bitch book but the patterns are really hopeless. It was a good refresher on some stitches though, but otherwise not much use. Can't see myself ever making a knitted bikini .... And I have the sequel on crochet (Happy Hooker) ... I'm wondering if this is why my crochet isn't going anywhere!

  6. What a small world. We sometimes take a run up to Arbroath on a Sunday and I may even be doing a craft fair there this summer. 'The Arbroath Seafront Spectacular' Trouble is it's an outdoor venue, this is Scotland, and I am a big jessie when it comes to getting cold or wet. I'll have to see if I know any Thornton's still in Alyth. I've only been here 4 years but lots of families have been here for ever and know everyone.

  7. It looks like it didn't take you long to get back into the swing of knitting, Fiona. They both look great!!! How lovely that you keep your knitting in your Grandmother's pretty bag. I learnt to knit pre teens and began knitting seriously in my teens and continued until my mid thirties. I stopped about the same time I stopped sewing. I could knit and talk, knit and watch TV. In fact, I couldn't watch TV without knitting. I even knitted my way through Teacher's College, knitting and taking lectures. I did have to put the knitting down to write notes, though... LOL!!! I gave away all of my needles and patterns. At the moment I don't have the time to take it up again, but who knows... in the future.