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This week, I'm asking you questions!

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Today's question . . . is about making things.

When did you learn to knit (or crochet or weave or embroider or sew)? How old were you . . . and who taught you? And what was the first thing you made?

As for me, I learned to knit when I was 8. My mom taught me. At the time, she was busy knitting ripple afghans in popular-at-the-time 1960s-era colors (mostly harvest golds and avocado greens . . . with some orange shades thrown in for "mod" fun) and I was intrigued by the whole business. My mom used very long, straight knitting needles for her work, and she had the most amazing knitting "bag" to carry/hold her supplies: It was a cylindrical case with holes (maybe just one?) in the top for the yarn to come through as she knit. My mom cast on for me, taught me the basics of garter stitch, gave me her leftover yarn, and . . . I was off! My first project was intended to be a simple, garter stitch scarf. Striped. But it ended up being a blanket for my doll bed . . . because I grew bored and my knitting was slow! But I was hooked -- a knitter for life.

How about YOU?
I can't wait to hear your stories.

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(And if you have any questions you'd like me to answer in a future blog post . . . well. Go ahead. Ask!)

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And be sure to hop over to Kat's today for Unraveled Wednesday.

 

Comments

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Juliann

These questions are so much fun!
I think I was about seven when I learned to knit. Both of my grandmothers were knitters but it was my paternal gramma who sat down and taught me to knit. First there were doll blankets but then there was a Christmas stocking. The needles were metal and the yarn was acrylic. Gramma had lots of yarn. She was from Scotland and knit beautiful cable sweaters but we lived in Arizona so did not need sweaters very often. She made a blue cardigan for my mom that had pearl beads knit into the yoke. When we went to visit my grandparents (in California) each summer, I remember her knitting all the time. The best discovery was that my dad knew how to wind a ball of yarn! He would put the yarn around his feet and wind balls of yarn for gramma.

kayT

My roommate in college taught me. We made matching red v-neck sweaters. The hardest thing for me to learn was ribbing because I kept ending up with the yarn on the wrong side of the needle and adding a stitch. Also, she was left-handed, so I had to 'translate' everything. However, after college I did not knit again until much later, when I was trying to quit smoking and wanted something to occupy my hands. As a retired person, I am very glad to have resumed knitting, since I never run out of things to do/learn/buy!

I'm looking forward to all the answers to this question!

Vera

My Mom taught me. I don't remember exactly how old I was - am guessing late grade school or junior high. My first project was a scarf that somehow (LOL) kept getting wider as well as growing in length. And then Leslie's Mom taught me how to crochet. I didn't knit for the longest time, but then picked it up again after Colin iwas born. I took a class and then started knitting sweaters for Colin (who was NOT happy to wear them - he was always a hot baby!). Then I stopped again for a little while and picked it up again maybe 10 years or so ago and learned to knit socks...I haven't stopped since!

Fun questions Kym - it's interesting to read others responses.

Debbie

I learned to knit and crochet from my maternal grandmother when I was about 8. We had to knit afghan squares for some charity in either school or scouts, they were 40 stitches across, knit out of wool, on small pointy needles. I remember my hands sweating and my knitting being way too tight. My grandmother purchased the wool I used from an outlet store at a nearby woolen mill and it was pretty itchy. I kinda feel sorry for whoever received the blankets made out of these squares! She also taught me to crochet granny squares and I liked them better because I could finish them up faster. My skills improved and I continued to knit and crochet right up to today.

Carole

My Nana attempted to teach me when I was 6. Because I'm left handed she assumed I would knit left handed so she had me sit opposite from her and try to mirror what she was doing. It was an epic fail at the time. I finally learned in 2001 when we started reenacting because I needed something to do while sitting in camp. I started with dishcloths and pretty quickly moved on to socks and I've never looked back. I think of my Nana often and would love for her to know that even though how much I love to knit. She knit ALL the time, hats and mittens and these amazing fishermen knit afghans. It was really impressive.

Vicki

I was 6 when my mom taught me to knit... she was learning, herself, from a neighbor, and I think her teaching me helped reinforce what she learned. (In turn, my mom was teaching the neighbor to sew.) I have no idea what I made... if anything was ever actually finished. I don't remember finishing anything until I was in high school and decided that everyone in my family would benefit from huge color-blocked hats & scarves in lovely Red Heart yarn (which I was able to buy at the grocery store on my way home from school, along with requisite Coca-Cola and sour cream & onion potato chips).

Kat

My nana did not knit or crochet as I remember... but she sewed. Lots of sewing. She taught me almost everything I know about sewing. I miss being able to call her to talk about fabric or button choices... you know, those vitally crucial conversations! :)

My mother knit and I think I asked to learn, but I did not "do it right" and that was the end of that. I taught myself when Rachel was in 3rd or 4th grade... she wanted a scarf that was very spendy and I figured I could make it. It took some work (this was pre-YouTube days) but I figured it out and have never looked back!

Geri

My aunt taught me to knit at age 9. We went to a very nice yarn shop to pick out yarn to make a sweater. Every week I would go over for a lesson and knitting time. The sweater came out all wrong. Might have been a gauge issue. I never wore and can’t remember now what happened to it. I didn’t knit again until the 1990’s but my hands remembered exactly what to do!
Fun to reflect on these questions!

kim in oregon

I learned from my mom when I was a kid, but it didn't take. I tried it again in my early 30s, and it didn't take-I knew what to do but it didn't get gauge and I gave up. Finally, after 9/11, I gave it a try during the Super Bowl. It took. My first thing was a very hole-y scarf made with some Lion Brand acrylic and there I went...

Mary

This is such a fun series, Kym - thank you!

My mom's mother (Grandma to me) taught me to knit when I was 11 or 12. She brought the Bernat Learn to Knit book and I knit an earwarmer for my Dad and slippers for me as my first projects. But it was Marc's mom who made me into a sweater knitter. She and Marc's sisters were always knitting (sweaters!) and taught me about reading patterns and buying yarn. My first visit to a real LYS was in New Haven on one of my summer (or maybe a winter?) visit to New Haven.

Dee

I learned to knit from a friend of my parents --- Aunt Shirley.

My first project was a garter scarf made from Red Heart yarn in the Mexicali colorway. They still make that color. It is an extremely obnoxious mix of colors and squeaky to boot. But, it taught me the basics.

I guess I was around 8 or so.

My grandmother taught me to cross stitch around the same time, maybe a little younger. She used to watch me on days off from school. She was one smart lady to keep me busy and quiet all at the same time.

kmkat

I learned from a book when I was 16. My mom didn't knit, but my aunt did; sadly, she lived 300 miles away. My first project was a simple stockinette swatch. Then I made a pair of mittens to go with my winter parka. Then, filled with the confidence of a noobie, I made a sweater for my mom. It turned out fine and fit her -- what are the chances?

I learned crochet in my mid-20s, don't remember who taught me or if I used a book. I don't even remember my first project. I still have the shawl I crocheted to use as a nursing shawl when Elder Son was born.

I bought a small -- ~18" wide -- simple table loom in my early 20s. Made a few hangings, then quit. I wish I still had that loom, but I fear it went to Goodwill at some point.

My mom taught me to embroider when I was about 8. She was never pleased with the back side of my embroidery. Once I learned to knit I pretty much gave up on embroidery -- too much stopping and starting and threading needles.

I did counted cross-stitch for a while in my 30s. I made a project of a small loon, with the intention of making the same for all of the birds that come to our feeders; only the loon got done. My favorite project was the Pink Panther on a throw pillow. But I gave up on this hobby after a while for the same reasons I stopped doing embroidery.

And next there was needlepoint. I made a nutcracker and had it framed; it came out every Christmas. And I made several needlepoint tree ornaments. But the fact that needlepoint FOs are never actually usable, practical things, only ornamental objects occurred to me, and I quit. Knitting and crocheting produce sweaters and socks and afghans -- so much better!

Irene

These comments are very interesting. My Mom taught me to knit when I was about 10 (supplemented with a green how to knit booklet). My first serious project was a sleeveless "shell" pullover made from a really chunky wool. I remember riding my bike to the yarn shop to buy the yarn. Needless to say, that sweater was never worn. Mom had one of those knitting cans, too. I can picture it even now.

My Mom was a fabulous knitter. All of our sweaters were handmade. She even knitted Betsy McCall clothes for our dolls as a Christmas present. I still have them and marvel that she had the time to secretly do this while teaching. Since we lost Mom, my sister and I frequently wonder how she had the time to do everything she did. Housework, teaching, sewing and tailoring, knitting, canning.... She was a miracle.

Chloe

My Mom also…when I was twelve. Never did anything with it until early middle-age. Made a child’s scarf for a school charity - Red Heart, colorway Bikini, all garter, I believe. Some German tourists on the Metro were very excited about it and made me feel like a rock star. That got me hooked. After that was a beautiful shawl from expensive yarn made far too wide and thus too short. But I pushed through that Tragedy with a parade of hats and so on…

Sarah

I was about the same age (7 or 8, I think), and it was my aunt in Michigan who taught me. After the whole family had been up in the area to visit the family there, I stayed behind with my aunt and uncle for a week (this was summer, so it was like a special vacation just for me). She taught me the basics with some straight needles and squeaky acrylic yarn that was bright orange -- like construction cone orange. I think it says a lot about the power of knitting that despite using materials that would probably be my very last choices today, I was hooked! I didn't really make anything other than a misshapen piece of garter stitch fabric at that point, but then I graduated to scarves and some basic hats. I don't think I really got the hang of following instructions and understanding gauge until I was in grad school, though, when the internet was just starting to be a resource and I had an adorable yarn store, Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Center City Philadelphia, about a block from my apartment.

Mary

Mom gave my older sister and me identical 'learn to knit' kits for Christmas when Kathleen was 7 and I was 6. We have a photo, somewhere, of us sitting side by side on the couch, books open, teaching ourselves to knit.

I was 8, or 9, when my Nana taught us to crochet. Crocheting outward from the center for a doily, I forgot to increase after the first few rounds. Needless to say, my sister's Barbie got a maxi skirt...

I started sewing in Home Ec in 8th grade. It was the one I stuck with the longest back then. Made my confirmation dress, several of my Christmas dance dresses, and my Prom Dress (with six kids in the family, we had little money for the extras).

Some time during the '70s I made a few granny square afghans, knitted a sweater in my early 20s, started quilting just before my daughter was born, crocheted pineapple doilies while watching recorded 'All My Children' when the kids were in bed, and finally returned to knitting when I discovered our local Yarn Shop. Imagine that, a shop just for YARN! All my earlier purchases had been at MCrory's, JoAnns or K-Mart. That was 25 years ago. I soon found the internet message boards and then when blogs hit the etherworld, I was sucked in. Norma, Sandy, Carole, Claudia, Vicki, Cara, Wendy, etc., etc., I followed them all. To this day, I still have many of the ones still publishing on my blog roll, along with some newer 'friends'. :-)

Now, I rarely go a day without knitting, I sew when I feel like it, and occasionally crochet when a project calls for it. My personality is such that once I've figured something out, I move on to something else (sourdough anyone?!?!). Thank goodness knitting always has something new to discover!

Thanks for the prompt Kym. I've enjoyed all your questions so far this week (just catching up).

Patty

I think I initially started around 10 with the same experience as Carole when my mother was knitting but shipped me over to my lefty aunt. I do not know what happened there. :-) Then a friend started in around 2004 and I joined her. We signed up for a ridiculously complicated cable pillow class (for our experience) and what an excellent way to just get to it! And I knit righty! Fun Kym!

Jane

My maternal grandmother taught me to knit when I was 7 or 8. She was a beautiful knitter and could sew anything - jackets, draperies, all kinds of clothing. I started by sitting beside her as she knit and unwind the ball of yarn for her. My first project was a stockinette scarf that, of course, rolled into itself like crazy. She had the metal straight needles and lots of yarn. My scarf was white and purple stripes of squeaky acrylic. The scarf ended up very lopsided - wider as I went along. I'd knit with her and she would do the purl rows. One bit of advice she gave me was "always buy the best yarn you can afford."

April

At 23, I took up crocheting as a newly wed when my husband said I needed a hobby. He was a computer guy and could spend all day tinkering. I did that for a couple of years, made afghans for everyone I knew and decided I wanted to learn to knit. I paid a pretty penny to take lessons at the LYS, but it was worth it. I would come home after class and watch NYPD Blue and practice. My first project was a pullover. I used variegated yarn and the colors pooled in some very unflattering places. It left our home shortly after being finished.

Nowadays I only crochet when a provisional cast-on is required. I enjoy knitting now more than ever.

Pam

My grandma Oord taught me when I was about 10. I think the first thing I made was a pair of slippers - or as she called them, "footsocks". I went on to make a cardigan sweater of "sayelle". We did love our acrylics in the 70's. But I still have the beautiful cable knit sweater, of wool, that she made for my high school graduation. It was long, belted, slightly "Starsky & Hutch" ish. I wish it still fit. And I hope she knows how much joy knitting has brought me over the years.

Margene

Like you, I learned the basics when I was 8 but it really didn't catch my imagination. Knitting just didn't click for me. At 19 I decided to try crochet and caught on right away. I crocheted until I was 23 or so making blankets, vests and even sweaters. I was really good and could use any weight of thread or yarn. But, one day I saw a knit sweater I REALLY wanted. I worked with a friend to learn the basics, but again, it was very hard! I had to try and try and try, but then, one day it just *poof* made total sense! I have been knitting nearly everyday since. I made a lot of sweater, but then I found socks and they were perfect for someone who traveled and had other crafting pursuits (embroidery). Knitting has been my constant companion and the best part has been the lovely friendships I've made in the 45 years I've enjoyed it.

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