You may, perhaps, have noticed the subtitle of this blog. It wasn't chosen lightly, or simply to be cute. I am, by my estimation at least, a most unlikely knitter.
I am not, you see, a terribly crafty person. I'm not someone with a natural artistic talent; I don't have the type of imagination that instantly dreams up beautiful images. I was the kid at Brownies who spent 55 minutes of the hour allotted to make the walnut mouse tree ornament trying to figure out if I wanted a grey or a white mouse. And on the rare occasions I do have a Eureka! moment, self-doubt of epic proportions slams down hard.
Then there is the problem of execution. I am a clumsy, ham-handed sort of person. I cannot cut a straight line to save my life, even with the aid of a ruler or specialty cutting devices designed to make the task effortless. Straight lines in general are a problem for me, really. Sewing a simple hem on a curtain panel is for some reason beyond me. And don't get me started on the mess I can create when glue or paint is involved.
Added to this lack of both artistic vision and manual dexterity is my real problem: perfectionism. The other issues could be mitigated by practice, of course. But I tend to dig my heels into the ground once I've fallen off the horse, rather than leap back on for another go.
So I truly am rather surprised that knitting has "stuck", however unproductive I am.
Piggy Casts On
I first learned how to knit when I was about seven years old or so. My mother, bless her, taught me how to cast on (using what I now know is the cable cast on), and garter stitch. I don't remember very much, except that it couldn't have been an enjoyable experience for my mum. I'm quite sure there was much gnashing of teeth and tears -- if not outright tantrums -- involved. I do recall several extremely well-executed bouts of frogging, however.
I gave up on knitting very quickly, but continued to enjoy the products of my mother's -- and my maternal grandmother's -- needles. I don't think Mum would be offended if I said Granny was the real knitter in the family. She churned out plenty of jumpers that arrived in the mail from England throughout my childhood. My sister still has a few of them, now worn by my nieces.
I came back to knitting about five years ago now, again, under my mother's influence. After my parents retired to Gibsons, Mum became involved in the local spinning guild and the Fibre Arts Festival. So after a hiatus of many years, out her needles came again. And something made me want to give it another go.
Fortunately for all involved, I had managed to get a few things past my thick skull in the intervening years, and instead of asking my mother to teach me again, I consulted books (Knitting for Dummies) and websites (Knitting Help, youtube). And when those didn't do the trick, I asked the mother of one of my friends to help me cast on -- no matter how frustrated I became, I knew I wouldn't lose it in her presence!
And the rest, as they say, is history. I'm really not sure why I've uncharacteristically stuck with knitting, but stuck I am. I haven't progressed as far as I'd have liked, but I'll get there, eventually. (Help me out by picking my first big lace project -- check out the poll at the top of the sidebar!)