Tuesday, January 12, 2010

My Knitting History

Warning - this turned into quite a long trip down memory lane for me. I enjoyed it, but I won't take offense if you get bored and give up LOL :-)

Since I haven't made much progress on anything, I really didn't have a reason to post.

Thanks, Marjie, for the compliment on my knitting and an idea for something to ramble on about.

While I do consider myself a beginner sewist, I've been knitting for quite some time now. My maternal grandmother was a seamstress and my Mom sewed. She also did a lot of needlework and taught me how to knit, crochet & embroider when I was very young.

As the story was told to me, my absolute favorite present from Santa the year I was 5 was a small, red, plastic basket filled with a couple balls of yarn and those plastic tube thingies with 4 tabs at the top. You know, you wrap the yarn around the tube, loop the wraps over the tabs and a tube of knitted fabric magically appears from the center of the tube.

Apparently, Mom picked the basket off of a sale table for next to nothing at the local five & dime on Christmas Eve - on the chance that I might like it. I have very few childhood memories but I do remember that basket and running in to wake up Mom to show her what Santa brought :-)

When I was 6, Mom showed me how to knit with regular needles & embroidery & crochet came soon after. During the learning process, cast on, bind off, increase, decrease, reading patterns, reading charts, using straights, dpn's and circulars. I guess it covered all the basics. I don't much like embroidery, but knowing how came in handy when I started cross-stitching. All my baby afghans are crochet - much faster than knitting.

In the early 80's the Lopi sweaters were very popular. The schoolkids wore them under puffy vests instead of wearing winter jackets. This link shows a pic of the types we all wore. My first finished project was a Lopi sweater. I was maybe 15 and up to then had not ever finished a project. I really wanted to finish this sweater and show it to Mom all done. Nope, I got stuck when it came time to join the body and the arms. You knit the body in the round to the underarm, put it aside, do each sleeve on dpn's, join them all together and continue the yoke pattern in the round right up to the neck. The only sewing is to graft the underarms when you're done. I just couldn't figure out how to join the sleeves and the body all on one circular needle. Mom showed me how and I finished the project ! I wore that sweater out ! Hmm, wonder if I can find a pic ???

After that, some of my Mom's friends asked if she would make some for their kids but she was busy making them for all the family so she passed them onto me. I think I made over 20 in those 3 years of high school. After the first couple, the parents came directly to me. $20 plus the yarn - good lord, they got them for practically nothing :-)

DH has a couple of sweaters (v-neck cardigans, w/cables, colorwork, etc) I made and he likes and wears them - maybe I should take pics. I've done mitts - but not gloves, scarves - but not hats, afghans - big and small.

This past year I learned quite a few new techniques (Ravelry is pretty awesome !) and made my first tentative attempt at socks. Top down, on dpn's, one at a time - they fit, I love them and wear them all the time. For the second pair (and every pair since) I used Toe-up, 2 at a time on one long circular using magic loop.

I'm still learning, but it's mostly about fitting rather than the actual knitting (for anything new or confusing, you can probably find a demonstration on You Tube). Lopi's are bulky, not much fitting involved. Socks, on the other hand, need to fit the foot and my 'bristow' cardigan has a fitted waist and set in sleeves so I have to pay attention to the fitting on that, too.

My biggest accomplishment lately ? Having enough nerve/confidence to knit on the bus - in public and not worry if someone 'looks' at me !

Now, for those of you who made it this far ... the socks - the leg has about 3" done. there's probably enough yarn to do another 3" of pattern and a 1" cuff.


  1. You're probably quite accomplished at knitting. I crocheted and sewed young but didn't knit until I was grown. I remember making tons of woven potholders--the one that had a small square loom and the loops that you stretched on.

  2. oh Claire ! I had one of those Lopi sweaters and I've kept it all these years.You are a fantastic knitter. I never enjoyed knitting and gave it up once my kids got beyond the toddler stage.

  3. Thanks for sharing your knitting story. I didn't get into knitting until an adult. Mom preferred to crochet (probably, like you said, because it was faster--and she was always in a hurry).

  4. I love those socks. I'm glad you are finally knitting on the bus. I get so much done that way and occassionally someone will ask what I'm making.

    Don't you cringe now at having *charged* $20 for those sweaters? But - I bet you were rolling in pocket money and happy about it.

    I wish I could email you when you comment on my blog - but, thanks so much for stopping by. You are right - I need to enjoy my quiet mornings and be productive it's much better than being angry! g

  5. I had one of those tube knitty things too! I loved it! I learned to crochet, because one of my grandmothers was fabulous at it, but knitting just wasn't my cup of tea. I dropped stitches like there was no tomorrow. And I didn't know anyone to teach me.

  6. I had one of those Icelandic (what we called them) sweaters back in high school. It cost me a lot more than $20.00. I loved it and wore it to death. I am so impressed that you knitted them. When I see someone knitting in public, I admire the yarn, try and figure out what they are making based on the shape, and wish I had the time to make such neat knitted items.


Thanks for talking to me - I love comments !