Inspired by a recent burst of creativity, I have decided to take up the age old skill of knitting. Of course, this immediately spawned comments from friends such as;
‘Your transformation into your Grandmother is nearly complete!’
Becoming more like my Grandmother wouldn’t be such a bad thing, but that’s beside the point. The history of knitting goes much further back than Grandma dearest, and in fact was historically a man’s job. The skill grew up around fishing nets, early rudimentary garments and tasks that traditionally fell to the boys about the place.
So, how on earth do you go about learning to knit in 2013? Surely it’s a lost talent within the younger generations; a talent we all have recollections of from childhood when we would be presented with the occasional and often unfashionable chunky garment by a well meaning elderly and often female relative (those jumpers and hats are interestingly all the rage now). Well, of course, I went online, why not bring the modern world to bare on an ancient skill after all?! In my search, I came across a local knitting circle run by a friend of mine, so with thoughts of Christmas jumpers and itchy hats in mind, I decided to pay my £1 entry and join in the fun.
The first thing I will say about learning to knit is this: don’t expect a jumper on your first go; learning the basics is key. I was also extremely grateful to Jodhi, the lovely host of the knitting circle (every other Thursday, at Brighton Arts Club from 17:30pm), for casting on for me. She reassured me that this would be for the best as a whole 2 hours session can be spent just learning to cast on. Therefore, I was delighted to have someone stitch the first line for me and teach me the crucial lesson of counting stitches after each one before I set out to knit using the basic knit stitch (as it is known) to create an ever growing panel of woolly loveliness. Jodhi also provides needles and wools which can be purchased at cost, or handed back in at the end of the session if you’ve simply come along to have a little practice.
Here’s Jodhi and a fellow knitter stitching their lines.
So, another thing to be prepared for is the pace you can achieve on your first attempts. The key here is to learn the stitch – the movements and the feeling of the process – not to suddenly bust out an all-singing all-dancing hat or cushion cover. You’ll find the four simple actions to the basic knit stitch quickly become muscle memory and as you develop the movements, your pace will slowly increase alongside.
Here’s my first attempt, it’s bigger now… Honest!
As you can see from my little snap, you might not achieve a great deal straight away, but the relaxed informal venue and conversation are just as much a reason to try out knitting as the knitting itself. Jodhi also came prepared with a few simple projects for the more advance knitters to get their needles into. These scared me a little as I nosily watched Jodhi teaching her budding knitters to drop a stitch, add a stitch and eventually shape a knitted Easter chick ready to sit atop it’s very own chocolate egg. I ignored the knitting envy nonetheless and focused on my stitching, secretly hoping I was doing a good job so that I could impress teacher (classic geek behaviour).
Here’s a fellow knitter using multi coloured wool to stitch an Easter chick.
I have to say, the time flew by and before we knew it, we were wrapping up the session. Crafts are a very subjective experience, some people love them, others hate them, but after a taste of knitting, I can confidently say I will be back and perhaps next time I’ll be one step closer to the woolly jumper of my dreams.
You can join us by following this link: https://www.facebook.com/events/228683460605886/
Or read more on Jodhi’s Blog – The Knit List: http://theknitlist.com