Saturday, 11 August 2007

English or Continental? Northern or Southern?

There is so much more to this knitting business than I realised at first...

I mentioned in my last post that I'd learnt to knit when I was younger. I thought I had forgotten it all; in fact, when I started to try to teach myself, I found that I had remember certain things which now felt like 'instinct'.

Should I teach myself to knit 'english' or 'continental' style? I didn't even know there was a difference until a webpage asked me. But, for me, it's just wrong to knit holding the wool in my left hand. (Which is, of course, because I was taught to knit with the yarn in my right hand - and even though I can remember little else, I can remember that).

Then I noticed that in the illustrations, online videos etc that everyone holds both their needles out in front of them. Whenever I get into the 'swing' of knitting though - I look at myself, and find in surprise that I have my right needle tucked under my right arm. It's not like I put it the exactly - it just always ends up there. And if it's not, well my knitting style feels a bit wobbly and insecure. I put this down to my own personal quirk (and decided to worry later about how to manage -if I ever got there - with those little circular needles, which clearly won't tuck...

Then my fabulous husband returned from our local wool shop (or yarn shop, or LYS) and said he'd been asked whether he knitted in 'Northern' or 'Southern' style. (There's a whole other post about my husband and knitting, but that will wait until another day.) "What?" I asked. I'd not seen that mentioned on the 'net or my knitting bible books. Apparently, southerners knit in front of them, northerners tuck a needle under their arms. Aha - so I am completely geographically correct. I knit like a Northern English person!

(I wonder how other Northern English people knit with tiny circular needles)

Thursday, 9 August 2007

The beginning

Long, long ago, I knew how to knit. I knitted at least one scarf and a couple of jumpers if I remember correctly. At least, I knew how to knit a stitch (although I seem to recall that I often knitted whole garments in purl instead - kind of by accident, but hey who's to say one's more valid than the other - as long as you're consistent).

Then I forgot all about knitting.

Literally, it never crossed my mind for at least a decade. And the memory of how to knit, or purl, went too.

Suddenly though, everyone was talking, blogging, about knitting. About these gorgeous FO's (finished items - I eventually realised). My sister, Cara, succumbed first; started to knit gorgeous cardigans and jumpers for Ellie (and finished them too!).

I was tempted to knit again. Even though, this was as clear a case as any of peer pressure and wanting to join in.

Then I realised that I had never truly learnt to knit. Or rather that I had simply learnt a knit stitch (or purl stitch). I remember always having to say "Mum, can you cast this on for me" or "can you cast this off for me" and frequently in between "oh no I've dropped a stitch/got too few stitches/got too many stitches - can you fix it please". Interestingly I have no recollection at all of making up garments, or asking Mum to do it either. Presumably the 'making up' fairy used to do that bit when I'd gone to bed.

That had worked fine, whilst I was living at home with Mum, but with 80+ miles between us, I could see that if I was going to knit, I would have to it all by myself. Still, in these days of detailed books and internet helpsites (including videos) how hard could it be???

(you know, it's going to go at least OK. I wouldn't have started a whole separate blog to announce to the public a complete failure!)