Monday, April 10, 2006

Grandmothers and knitting...

While trolling through other blogs today, I noticed at least two of the writers had mentioned that they had been taught to knit by their grandmothers. I started thinking about my own learn-to-knit experience. My grandmother mostly crocheted, and did some knitting, and my mom knitted - I remember her knitting argyle socks for my dad. I used to help her wind those little bobbins she used for the argyle design. For some reason, though, it was my grandmother who taught me to knit when I was about five. I realize now that I must have tried her patience mightily. I got the hang of knitting pretty quick, but I had a tendency to knit super-tight. I think it was because I used to knit right off the point of the needle. Needless to say, it made for a lot of dropped stitches, and other stitches so tight I could barely force the needle through the stitch. I made a couple of doll blankets, all of which had to be ripped back several times to try to compensate for the gaping holes, and other areas of stitches so tight they were practically bullet-proof. I got bored with the knitting pretty quick, because I could not seem to grasp the idea of knitting the stitches back a little further on the needle. So, she taught me embroidery next, and I seemed to do a lot better with that.

Fast forward about 15 years. I'm working in a brokerage firm, during an extremely slow time in trading, and I have a serious boyfriend. (Can you see where this is going?) A new yarn shop has opened a few blocks away from my firm, and I head down there during lunch one day. When I get back, I have a bag of yarn - I think it was Unger's Krista - a pattern for an aran type sweater, and some needles. Never mind that I have never knitted anything that didn't look like it was used as target practice, and never mind that I don't have the faintest idea how to knit a cable - I'm knitting an aran sweater! I'd never heard of gauge, but give it a shot anyway. So, off I go, casting on, and teaching myself cables and moss stitch as I knit. Surprise, surprise! The sweater came out perfect - no holes, right-on gauge, and sewed up neatly. I didn't know anything about the Boyfriend Sweater Curse at that point. We were married a few years later, and stayed that way until a few years ago - more than 30 years together. I don't know if I dodged the curse, or if it just got around to showing up a few years ago when he took off.

During the time I was married, I knitted a frillion sweaters for my five kids. I still have most, if not all of them. Tiny arans, tiny hats, a small sweater using cables as owls. Looking at my sons now, it's hard to believe they were ever that small. I made a couple of sweaters for myself, but knitting was an activity that was frowned upon in my house, so once again, I quit for several years.

Currently swatching for Berrocco's sweater pattern Tatania. I'm using the yarn that I bought over the weekend. Haven't decided whether or not I will actually do this sweater in this yarn. I did troll ebay today, but more about that later.


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