It’s remarkable how unsharp the memory is of my first time knitting. I obviously had no idea when I first picked up needles and yarn that that day represented a major life-threshold for me, otherwise I would have done a better job committing the details into my brain.
I know that my dad’s mom, my Baboo, taught me how to knit, but how old was I? I’m not even sure of that. My younger sister and I learned to knit together (don’t know where my older sister was, but she wasn’t part of the knitting lesson) and since she must have been at least seven to be patient and coordinated enough to learn to knit, then I must have been at least ten.
In any case, I’m pretty sure we jumped right into the knitting deep end. No garter stitch practice swatch for grandmother-teacher and her two young pupils, no, our first projects were stockinet scarves with intarsia diamond and heart motifs. Baboo must have been a genius teacher, because I don’t remember it being that hard, or making too many mistakes. My sister’s scarf did have some garter stitch chunks, since she was sometimes unsure when to knit and when to purl, but neither of us had any holes, runs, or ugly uneven knobbies.
Of course, my scarf curled in on itself, as stockinet always does (sister’s scarf was spared this fate due to her “mistake” sections of garter stitch). Any serious knitter should have known that stockinet was not a good choice for a scarf, but the thing is, my Baboo was never a serious knitter, making her superior teaching skills that much more impressive in my mind.
These days, I don’t talk much about knitting with Baboo. It’s my other grandmother, my mom’s mom, my Oma, with whom I have bonded the most over knitting.
|This is a romper that my Oma knitted for me as a baby
Oma is a classic grandmother-knitter. She sticks to tried-and-true techniques she learned long ago (no circular needles for Oma!) and her creations are beautiful. They are also usually generously gifted to family and friends and thus act not only as warm garments but also as threads that hold her community together. I love talking shop with Oma -from wonderful new yarn finds, to struggles with a particular stitch or project.
Her favorite projects are knits for babies, so when my son was born, she didn’t hold back. Check out the loot she knit for him:
So far, he’s worn the hat and booties a lot. He’s just started using the sweater, and the overalls are still a bit big, but should be perfect come summer.
She sent us one more knit gift as well: knit pants, half finished and still on the needles. She didn’t intend to send the pants unfinished: it just worked out that way because she’d run out of time. Yet what might at first glance seem to be unfortunate miscalculation of time turned out to be a wonderful gift to me. Now I get to finish the pants. When I follow her notes and work on them, I feel close to her even though we live on separate continents.
|I’ve finished up the first pant leg, and have gotten a couple inches along the second
Now, I’d love to know:
Who taught you to knit?
Is knitting something that bonds you to others in your family?
Have you ever co-knit a project?