Back to the roots – and a KAL update

I was taught to knit by my Auntie Mary when I was about four years old. Presumably she sat and showed me what to do, helped me struggle through the first few stitches and rows – and then left me to it. She wasn’t someone I saw very often, and I can’t remember either having the necessary tools (needles/wool) or skills to continue on much further on my own. However, when I was seven, our teacher decided it would be a good thing for us all to learn to knit (this was Mrs. Woodhouse, who had us draw colourful borders on every piece of paper we used for schoolwork, which we loved doing, though now I think she wanted to get our little paws relaxed for writing – and the knitting was probably a similar exercise in coordination, manipulation and motor skills!). Steel pins were distributed and we had the choice of murky brown or sickly green cotton yarn to make a dischloth. These cloths had a garter stitch border and stocking stitch centre, enabling us to learn the basic skills of casting on, knit, purl and casting off… and although I can’t remember now how long the project was intended to take, I’m sure we all sat there with cramped fingers and tongues clamped in the corners of our mouths, with the occasional wail of “Mi-i-i-sss, I’ve dropped a stitch…”! I do remember that I didn’t finish before the end of the school year and was leaving to go to Switzerland, and the work in progress came with me, including the school property pins. The dishcloth is no more and the steel pins are somewhere in nirvana, too, although I do think I finished it – eventually. It certainly was never used as a dishcloth – we had J-cloths in our house!

Fortunately, my cousins had passed on a little book from the 1950s that had basic instructions, so that whenever I forgot how to do something, I could consult the book (story of my life!), as my mother doesn’t knit. Not so long ago I came across a more recent 1960s version of the same book called “Knitting” by Isabel Horner, from a Teach Yourself series – the old book having also disappeared over time, though I’m sure mine had a different cover and title. I recognised the book by the language and the illustrations, in particular a pattern for a pixie-hood, “I met my ten year old friend Jean wearing this attractive hood the other day, and great was my surprise when she told me that she had made it herself under her Mother’s direction.” Oh the tone, the fact that a 10 yr old would make something she could actually wear and Mother with a stern “M”!! This had definitely stayed with me – also the mind-boggling idea of knitting vests “for my baby sister”…

So it was with a big smile to myself that I came across a dishcloth pattern yesterday and had some soft cotton lying around – a couple of hours work produced this IMG_2506I still don’t know if I would use it as a dishcloth or facecloth but I like the idea and I have plenty of cotton lying around needing to be used…

(A while ago I also came across a great alternative to cottonwool pads: which I think is a brilliant idea!)

(The pattern is called City Blocks Dishcloth by Deb Buckingham of The Artful Yarn and was part of a fantastic 2014 knitting calendar I received as a gift – thanks El! The yarn is what is known as “school yarn” in Switzerland, a no-name 12ply soft cotton running to 84m/50g – I used just under 80m for this cloth.)

The Follow Your Arrow knitalong (KAL) is going along swimmingly with, in my case, another round of simple lace columns before I head on to Clue 3 this week, which has already arrived…  IMG_2507These things look more than a little scruffy, scrunched up and wonky at this stage, but believe me, it will be a different matter when it’s all finished and blocked out! So far the patterns are not what I would have put together – garter stitch lace? – but I am open to seeing the finished result and deciding then how much I like it – certainly the wool is lovely and soft and lofty and cuddly, so that’s promising.

Just to cap my post, some non-knitting – I was given this bunch of flowers free at a petrol station this morning, as it was “yesterday’s” bunch :O!! Pleasure… IMG_2504

6 thoughts on “Back to the roots – and a KAL update

  1. I was so in awe of you, knitting so well so young! Aunty Mary was also a lefty, having been forced to write with her right hand as a little girl – did she knit left-handed? Pretty disch-cloth – will you use it? And the shawl …. ooohh!

    • I didn’t know about Auntie Mary being a leftie; I don’t think she knitted left-handedly – I learnt the same way as Elaine, though not like Auntie Edna and Val (apparently even within the UK there are different methods!)…

  2. You are such a talented knitter. I have tried many times to pick it up and make something, but it never gets finished. The scarf I started in Switzerland, still sits in a bag attached to the needles. Maybe I will send it to you to finish it off. lol

    • Aw don’t worry, that happens to most of us – best way to embarrass a knitter is to enquire after their WIPs (works in progress)!! I’d hate to have to count mine, it’s always gung-ho for a new project and often, you lose impetus and then…. ;o

  3. Mother knitted a bonnet aged 6 and then was told off by her teacher for lying (which I think is the saddest thing in my mum’s sad childhood that the only thing she felt happy and confident in doing was ridiculed as a lie by some old witch) and though I don’t remember her teaching me herself, I definitely remember knitting dishcloths in grey wool 🙂

    • Isn’t that sad? Poor mum, there were some real dragons around in those days (though having experienced a grim young – maybe 30ish – night nurse recently, I can see how it starts!).

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