Memory of Learning to Knit
|yarn and needles from pixabay|
Like many men, my father had learned to knit in the army. It was not uncommon in those days, and I believe sailors in particular did a lot of knitting on board ship. Dad took the long trip on a troop ship to India. It was during this time he and his colleagues learned to knit socks.
We used wool from an old jumper that had been pulled apart, and the wool then washed. We stretched it on a Shetland wool winder made by my dad, one I still have. With the wool then rolled into balls, I was off.
Dad taught me to cast on and started me off by knitting squares to make into a blanket. We found my knitting was quite slack so wouldn't follow the gauge on a pattern, so he taught me to knit into the back of my plain stitch. I do that to this day, largely because I think it looks nicer as well as being tighter.
He was a hard taskmaster, making me have each of the twenty two squares I knitted perfect. He taught me to crochet when we joined all those squares together and that blanket decorated my bed throughout my youth.
From then on there was no stopping me and for years everyone got knitted presents for Christmas and birthdays. Growing up in the 50s and 60s my family were always involved in crafts of some kind; mum knitted and sewed, my sister did embroidery and my dad make rag rugs.
Over the years I have tried many crafts but always come back to knitting. In general it went out of fashion for a time but it is good to see it becoming more popular again. There is at least one bar I know of in London where everyone knits, and I believe there are quite a few knitting cafes spring up. The number of new yarns on the market are wonderful and for the lifelong knitter, a real challenge. I wonder what my dad would make of them now.