Handmaker's Factory

The Beginner Knitter - Knitting Spells

granny

 Like many of us, I was taught the knit basics by my grandmother, a 1970's type uber-granny, who wore floral aprons and chewed chocolate éclairs noisily as she turned out perfectly gauged socks without referring to a pattern.  She allowed me to watch her clumpy fingers deftly manipulate yarn and encouraged me to replicate her flashing technique. My mother also knitted, but that was a turn-off. Who wanted to do what their mother did? She churned out the sweaters, I wore them grudgingly. That was the deal. But recently, bolstered by the myriad reasons that make knitting so 2013 appropriate – soothing, economical and environmentally sound – I have been remembering the simple background clatter of needles that accompanied so many memories of my childhood, and recalling the rhythmic little phrase my grandma used to (occasionally) engage my childish attention:

In there, wool round the needle, under and off

Okay, it’s not poetic or even witty, but it’s the single, simple link to knitting that has been lodged in my brain for over 35 years. I’ve even come to see it as my knitting spell, the charm that is going to relaunch my knitterly apprenticeship and one day take me beyond scarves.  I have been using it a lot lately.

I sit on the sofa facing the garden, light playing on my needles, gilding them like wands, and am surprised that I can still correlate my movements with the rhyme.  I say it out loud, glad I am alone. This is just a beginning, I tell myself as the first row of garter stitch is joined by another, creating a nubby, textural joy. Ah the excitement. You have to be a knitting beginner to appreciate the gravitas, the portent of this moment.

knittinglove

I tend to be good at beginning things, in fact, it’s a skill of mine, although not something particularly revered on CVs. Here, I hope that it will be a bonus and that my knitterly journey through the rigours of beginner knitterliness – the thrills, the anticipations, the stultifying frustrations – will give other beginner knitters some companionship, some solace, and even a smidgeon of collective joy. I will be posting here twice monthly, so please stop by and take some strength in the fact that I might have had a knitting grandma, but I have forgotten nearly everything she taught me (sob!) except for her little knitting spell, one that I am clasping like a talisman to me.

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Leebeach1 

Lee Ronald likes to begin things, in fact it might be one of the things she’s best at. She is a beginner knitter, beginner dressmaker and beginner cross-stitcher. However she seems to have forded the river of beginning in terms of words for she earns her living as a freelance writer and editor, www.thewordgarden.co.uk. When she is not writing or beginning things, she is usually partaking of her national (English) sport of tea drinking in her home office in the quirky and historically inspiring city of York. 

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