A few thoughts about knitting

The first few rows of moss stitch

Sometimes very disparate things, people and events come together and give you a bit of a kick. That happened to me today and it all sort of hinged on knitting.

Although I learned to knit when I was about 10 and dabbled with it up to my 20s, I am not a natural knitter. I took to crochet straight away and loved it. Looking back now I can’t really understand why I gave it up for over 25 years. But knitting has remained off my radar and although I admire people who knit and regard this craft as a great skill, I’ve kept it at arm’s length. Its slow, boring, frustrating… Not. For. Me.

Recently though, my daughter has been asking about a hand knitted scarf in burnt orange that she has seen on a well known retailer’s website but that costs mega ££. Its chunky and done in rib, so very plain but tricky to replicate in crochet.

Maybe cheat and use a knitting machine?

This is definitely one of the skills I want to develop in 2015. I inherited two knitting machines from my mum, one a chunky one that works perfectly and that would be ideal for this scarf project. Its very tricky though and I am only just able to cast on an get a raggedy piece of knitting out of it. And that only after doing a half day course at Texere in Bradford a few weeks ago. The instructions are a nightmare and its nothing like crochet or hand knitting…

On Sunday, after a few disastrous attempts on the chunky knitting machine, I came to the conclusion that it would take me longer to machine knit a scarf than to knit one with needles. Even at my ridiculously slow speed and basic skill level.

My first knitting for ages…

As hand knitting was the only way forward I stirred myself into action and cast on 32 stitches on size 7.5 needles with my Stylecraft Chunky in spice and concentrated. The first attempt went wrong because I started knitting with the tail end, not the ball of yarn but after that minor hiccup I managed a few rows of moss stitch. Then a few rows of rib, then a few more of moss stitch. I suspect that the moss stitch will work better, but before I commit to knitting a 2 metre long scarf I had better get the creative director’s approval…

Knitting sample December 29 2014

Some good news…

When I’d just finished my sample, my mobile rang. To cut a long story short, it was potential buyers for my late mum’s house asking for a second viewing. This house was built by my parents just before they married in 1962 and was where I grew up. I’ve known it all my life and selling it is like parting with much more than bricks and mortar but having it empty is a great responsibility that weighs very heavily. It would be best if it was lived in and loved again. Today I met with the potential buyers, they made an acceptable offer and, if all goes well, we should conclude the sale in early March. Fingers crossed.

Some not so good…

Going back to the house is always a trigger for memories and sadness but today made me even more reflective because I also popped in on some of my mum’s oldest friends. The husband has Alzheimer’s and he has deteriorated significantly since I last saw them a few months ago. That brought home to me how awful it is when your brain and the mind no longer work as they should. Not only has his illness taken him away to a place where his wife can’t reach him, caring for him full time has taken away her life too. She can’t go out with him as he becomes disorientated and distressed and she doesn’t dare leave him in the house alone. She is a prisoner apart from 4 hours a week when someone else comes to sit with him so that she can go shopping. Out of 167 hours in the week, she has just those few hours of ‘freedom’. Not that there is much freedom in going to Tesco…

This evening, after making various phone calls re the house sale, I settled down to have a bit of crochet and then had an internet browse break and read some of my favourite blogs. Planet Penny had posted about Vanessa Cabban, a blogger who I had never heard of, but whose funeral was today. I had never read her blog and didn’t realise that Vanessa was an accomplished knitter, artist and crafter and a major influence on Lucy and on the origins of Attic24. Lucy’s post about Vanessa explains more…

Following the links I found that Vanessa was only 43 and had been killed tragically just before Christmas; she was hit by a train on a level crossing on December 18th. She left home that morning and simply never came back. No more knitting, no more painting, no more creativity. Just a full and final stop to a life that still had such a lot to offer the rest of us.

The name of Vanessa Cabban’s blog struck a major cord – Do you mind if I knit?

Do you mind if I knit? Or would I mind if I didn’t knit?

Until now I have put knitting in a box as ‘not for me’ but my sample shows that I CAN knit. Looking back on today makes me realise how lucky I am to be mentally and physically healthy. Knitting may be a challenge but I have admitted to myself that I would love to be able to knit a scarf, a garment, even a sock… There is no reason to limit my creative journey at all – so I’m going to stop moaning about not being able to knit and just Get. On. With. It.

2 thoughts on “A few thoughts about knitting

  1. Remade in Britain says:

    Knitting is like any skill, you just need to apply yourself to it and muddle through the months where you’re finding your feet. One day you’ll wake up and you won’t remember what it’s like to be bad at knitting.

    • Crafternoon Treats says:

      Thanks – yes I am planning some easy projects first and nice coloured yarns to keep me going 🙂

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