#yearofhandmade My Year Of Handmade

A Year Of Handmade! Craft Blog Link Up Fun…

I’ve just discovered this through Ravelry and I am psyched about it!

So lets start at the beginning…

How did I pick up knitting?

Mum taught me to knit at the ripe age of 5 years old because I kept loosing my mittens. I still remember the thrill of holding those metal miss matched in size needles and acrylic yarn. Catching on fast, I proceeded to mittens and “the good needles.” After much ruthless frogging on my Mum’s part due to my tension being “wrong,” I eventually was able to match my Mum’s machine-like tension(the “right” one, LOL) and make my own mitts. To this day, I can pick up one of her projects and knit without anyone being the wiser!

My first knit from a “real” pattern was an aran sweater by Alice Strathmore.  I’m not sure which one, it was so long ago, but it was wool, cable-ly and warm.  I wore it with pride in high school, nasty seams and all.

Fast forward to University.  I found a french knitting pattern magazine and fell in love with an itty-bitty lace cardigan with short capped sleeves.  Never mind that my french reading skills were vague, that I’ve never knit lace before, tackled button bands or inset capped sleeves.  It was pretty with a deep scope neck that showed a lot of cleavage.  My future husband loved it too and that was the icing on the cake.  So off to Briggs & Little Woolen Mill in Harvey, NB to pick out some lovely yarn.

 Photo ©Briggs and Little

I chose their sport weight and bought some needles from a very nice staff member there, assuring her that I would “swatch” (huh, what was that? Oh well, nothing important I guess.) before I started.  Again I jumped right in and knit.  I wasn’t sure what a “yarn over” was, and this was years before YouTube.  With lots of guessing, I finished my itty-bitty sweater and if fit reasonably well.  A little tight under the arms, the buttons holes were wonky when unbuttoned, and the seams were a tad on the thick and irritating side.  But who cares?  I had my sexy, attention-getting sweater and I adored it.

Fast forward to my second University degree.  Money was tight, I was worried about student loans.  I resolved not to get another loan, and would pay for my education out of pocket. I was living in a rented drafty condo where I couldn’t afford the heat bill.

Enter stress.  I got a full time job working at a catalog sales call center from 7pm-3am and a part time job working at a lingerie shop in the Halifax Shopping Center.  While still going to school full time and dodging the business office until pay day when I’d come in with most of my paychecks and make a payment on my tuition.  Learning to sleep at a drop of a hat and scheduling it around school and jobs became an art form.  Enter my “de-stressing blanket.”  A huge ball of mostly mystery fibre and plain garter stitch was just the ticket.  It kept me warm while I worked on it and saved my sanity. 

Fast forward several years.  Finished school, got a corporate job, married, had children.  Knitting was forgotten.  Had a horrible auto accident that rendered me unable to work.  In the process for re-learning how to walk straight, use my hands, and read, it was suggested that I pick a hobby to help with the crushing distress of this new me.  I remembered I used to knit, but for the life of me, I couldn’t remember how to do it.  Enter YouTube and blessed, blessed yarn.  I found Ravelry and bought Gretal by Ysolda Teague.

 “Gretal” by Ysolda ©Ysolda

As I struggled through, I found myself marveling at the design, and wondering why.  Why did the designer chose this ____?  And that ____?  What if I did this, and that?  I was hooked.

Knitting patterns are like another language and calculus had a baby.  We learn to read, “speak,” and think in this wondrous code to shape string into a form of knots to create 3 dimensional objects.  Magic!  I knew I had to be part of it.  The designer in me emerged, and I now dream of designs in luxurious fibres.  The pull of knitting has taken me to other countries in search of knowledge.  It makes me ponder about the knitting history here in my home province.  But more than that, it is filling me with a purpose to create.  And I am happy.

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