Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Story Of My First Knitting Project

When I think back to my first real knitting project it makes me chuckle.  My Mother had taught me how to cast on and the Knit Stitch when I was about 5 years old, and during my few failed attempts at actually knitting something, I had accidentally taught myself the Purl Stitch.  It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I was actually struck by a desire to knit, until that time I simply thought of it as tedious.  Crochet was more my speed...literally, as it seems to go along at a lightning pace compared to knitting.

So back in 2004, I brought home a wee flock of 3 sheep, Frederick, Francis and Fiona and I desperately wanted to learn to spin so that I could harvest their beautiful fleece.  And I did.  But at that same time I was wondering if I should learn to knit, really knit, because I couldn't imagine what good it would be to have balls and balls of homespun yarn around the house and not really know anything to do with them.  I wanted to make clothing but wasn't a fan of crocheted clothes, I really have always preferred the look of knitted goods. So a quick call to my Sister (a very fine knitter) to ask her how difficult it would be for someone who knew how to cast on and knit a stitch, to actually knit a sweater...like say a Lopi style sweater.  She assured me that it would be easy peasy and off I went.  I decided to buy some super inexpensive, bulk, acrylic yarn, a circular needle and a simple yolked sweater pattern.  I found that that much knitting to get up the body of the sweater was excellent practice to get my stitches uniform...then the fun began.  I had no idea how to switch colours for the yolk, and I assumed that Knit 2 Together was as straight forward as it sounded (much to my delight it was).  The funniest part of all of it was learning to knit this sweater at work.  I am lucky enough to work at a job where I can do this and even more lucky that one of my customers was quite useful in helping me decipher the colour changes and how they worked into the decreases.  It ended up turning into a community event as each of my customers came in and wanted a progress report.  In the end I ended up with a sweater that was way to wide in the torso and way to tight in the yolk and although so many people encouraged me to rip it and start it again, I decided to keep it just the way it was so that in weeks, months and years to come, I would have a barometer of how much I had improved and how far I had come.  I love that sweater, all lopsided and out of whack, and I truly appreciated that even though my stranded yolk was way too tight, I had worked the pattern correctly and that encouraged me to stay with knitting and become the knitter/spinner I am now.

I have no difficulty now reading patterns, my stranded colour work is much more...well....stranded and even though I feel I have so much more to learn and so much more to improve upon, I do believe I can now knit anything.

I have written and shared my story as a participant in Interweave Knits, Your First Knitting Project , it's a contest where you can blog about your first knitting project and maybe win a lovely prize from Interweave........and below are the books I have chosen for my wish list if I win.

150 Scandinavian MotifsScottish Knits: Colorwork & Cables with a Twist Shades of Winter: Knitting with Natural Wool200 Fair Isle Motifs A Knitter's DirectoryFolk Socks The History & Techniques of Handknitted Footwear Updated Edition


  1. I LOVE your story ! You know what? It sounds nearly identical to mine, except that my bringing home the fleece-bearing animals was 1988, and though I had knit a few things from my handspun, slow-as-mollassis in both spinning and knitting... desiring more the 'foxfire' handspun look, my knitting was inconsistant, I didn't even know how to read a pattern, everything I made I improvised . I spun forever until I took to knitting seriously which wasn't until 2009... I read a simple pattern, or two, and got bit by the desire to really go for it. Anyway Brighid, I hope you win one of those lovely books! :) PS. And thank you so much for the ' pattern trade ' of your socks!!!

  2. That's a great story, hope you enter into the contest too. You are so welcome for the sock pattern....BTW, I've cast on for "Pretty Little Things" in white with a dark grey accent, I'll post about it when I'm finished.

  3. You are hugely brave to try a whole sweater - with colour work no less! - as your first project. I still class myself as a beginner knitter, though, like you, I was also overcome with the knitting bug in my 30s. Ten years on and I've not found the hutzpah to try colour work. Until now. 2014's new project, I think. Thanks for the inspiration!! How's your spinning coming on?

  4. Hi Jennifer, thanks for stopping by (I love your blog BTW). My spinning doesn't get as much attention as my knitting but it seems to me that it's like riding a bike....I'm always a little rusty when I sit back down at my wheel but all in all it just feels right. I'm currently spinning some merino/alpaca/cashmere in natural whites and browns that I'm hoping with become the colour work in a yolk for another sweater...wish me luck!