Happy New Year....and a question.

Hi everyone -

I hope you have all had a lovely Holiday Season [whichever tradition you celebrate] and have a Blessed New Year. I've received many lovely gifts - many of them fiber related - and hope you have as well.

Now - the question...

What (or Who) inspired you to learn the great art/craft of knitting?

In my instance, it was an older sister who learned the basics and I was fascinated by the movements and taught myself how to do a knit cast on but couldn't progress any further. [I was about 7 or 8 then.] Several years later, a good friend/neighbor learned to knit and that inspired me to try again. So I checked out all of the books I could from the library and began the process of teaching myself. No small feat as I was - and am - dominantly left handed and most of the books were all about right handed knitting. [This was the late 1960s and I was 12 years old.] Once I got it, I never looked back and have knit pretty much ever since - despite a couple of years gap during my college years. That dry spell ended when I was showing a friend in Kansas how to knit a slipper pattern and realized just how much I missed the feel of needles and yarn in my hands.

After several failed attempts, I succeeded in teaching myself to knit right handed within the last 8 years [so as to be a better teacher] but still do it my way. Mainly socks but that is what I enjoy and am quite good at.

So...what's your story?


ronhuber's picture

I would have to say my mother was the one who inspired me. We all knit socks in my family in the winter in Canada (usually listening to the radio programmes that were popular then) and I have to say I really do not remember learning how to knit socks and I am not able to follow patterns very well now. I have had different knitting stages in my life - fair isle, lace, etc. I still try to knit a pair of socks every month and I only wear hand knit ones myself. I also like to knit sweaters and usually follow Elizabeth Zimmermann's instructions. My favourite wool is Jamieson and Smith Shetland and Briggs and Little sport.

phew's picture

I learned from my mom when I was about 28. That is to say how to cast on and do a knit stitch. I quickly forgot about it for the next thirty plus years. Then about four years ago a friend told me that he was going to learn how to knit. I mentioned that I knew how to knit and he asked if I would teach. I responded that I would. Driving home from lunch that day I realized that I knew nothing about knitting and I had better learn fast, so a dear friend came to the rescue and she taught me how cast on, knit and purl. Since then I have gone a litter further and thank the LYS ladies for the gentle, kind and generous instruction they have given me. Especially correcting the many mistakes I have made over the past years. John

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Marvelous stories, Ron and John. Thanks for sharing them with me and the others

Come on...don't be shy, everybody. I love learning what made people become knitters. Please share your experiences.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

CLABBERS's picture

My grandmother taught me to knit when I was 12. I picked it up again a few years ago and have enjoyed it ever since.

Well my brother has gotten into knife making which made me want to take up a new hobby, looking forward to learning how to knit!

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

My twin is also into knife making. I hope you enjoy knitting as much as I do.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Loom Dude's picture

I never learned how to use the needles to knit, but taught myself how to knit using a loom (hence the name Loom Dude). I have always been very creative. I used to sew and braid and used a loom even when I was a child to make things. But it wasn't until several years ago that I caught the loom knitting bug again. One year for Christmas I wanted to make a quilt for my family, but I had never made a quilt before. So I decided to try something a little less ambitious, since Christmas was only a few months away. As I walked the aisles of the local big box store, I saw a loom and decided to give it a try. It was love at first stitch!


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

A good friend of mine also prefers to loom knit rather than struggle with needles and yarn. Partly because of arthritis in her wrists from being a professional seamstress. As I say, "It is still a form of knitting and very creative." Enjoy and thanks for sharing.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

My granny taught me when I was a very small girl and I suspect it was to keep me still for a little while each day. Anyway she set about teaching me and at first it was difficult as I am left handed, but she hit on the idea of sitting opposite me and I just 'mirror imaged' everything she did. She started me off on a garter stitch scarf for my dad, who was at that time somewhere in Holland heading for Germany. I think the knitting fairy used to come each night and help me out a bit. After that I did nothing for a few years and then took up mittens and gloves as gifts for my family. As a young teenager I became a serious knitter and there aren't many days that pass without I spend some time knitting. These days, because of problems with my wrists I only knit small items like socks or lace scarves. I would feel guilty watching the tv without knitting.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

If you've read my profile, you know that I'm also a leftie. Being self-taught, things went fairly well. However, to learn crochet, a friend finally sat me down and had me copy everything she did but with my left hand.

I also mainly knit socks, partly because of wrist problems after several careers where repetitive motion took its toll.

Thanks for sharing.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Jo.Kruger's picture

I was a young boy, grew up with my grandmother. She started me off with french knitting (nowadays called loom knitting, here it is called tollietjiewerk). When grandma made clothes, I was there, doing what little boys never do, sewing with the sewing machine. When grandma crocheted, I had my crochet hook and some yarn.

Because of her, I soon realised I was the creative one. After school, I studied 3 years towards fashion design plus another 2 years tailoring, but I always were busy with some or other knitting/crocheting project.

Then I married the two crafts, and designed and knitted knitwear..... Life was getting fast, and soon I got a knitting machine. Today I have 5 of the beasts, lol.

But I will always revert to hand knitting, especially items not possible on a machine, like now, busy with a yoke sweater. Its going slow as I have no floats, because the floats are all being woven into the purl side of the sweater.

My 2 pennies worth, lol


Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Thanks for telling your story. I also grew up with crafting relatives; my older sister taught me embroidery when I was about 5 years old, using a simple cross stitch quilt block. An aunt was the reason I learned to "read" crafted items to analyze how they were made and recreate them, having caught a mistake in a printed pattern because it didn't match the photograph of the sample. Of course, the big inspiration continues to be my friends - and other men who knit - that I spend time with, whether in person or through the internet. Thank you all.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Strongathy's picture

I actually learned from my grandmother when I was younger, I know she taught me the basics just to keep my out of her hair. However, I never really did anything with it, but pursued cross stitch more as i grew up. Now that I am 32 and a returning college student, my doctor recommended me picking up a craft that would help me with my stress level and since knitting is a little easier to pick up and put down I decided to start it back up. Thanks to youtube I have learned some more basic stitches.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Yes...knitting is a great stress reliever; I knit before work and during lunch break. [Unless you are struggling with a tricky pattern or technique.] Thanks for sharing.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

kiwiknitter's picture

This brings back long-forgotten memories. My first introduction to needlework was when I was a youngster and an elderly aunt would come to visit. She was an accomplished crocheter, always making intricate doilies with her flying fingers. She must have made thousands of them. In about the 4th grade I took a crochet class at a local haberdashery (British English meaning of the word) and made the then popular French poodle toilet paper roll cover. Not long after creating this superb piece of bathroom art, I was shamed out of crocheting. My mother had begun a pair of argyle socks for my father which she never finished. I used to sneak a look at them and the fine knitting wool, the colours and the DPNs fascinated me. I decided to try my hand at knitting but, since I was already a flaming sissy, I had to take cover and try to learn to knit clandestinely (like under the blankets at night). I had no needles so I used two sharpened pencils and some string. I made great fishing nets but never actually accomplished any knitting. And, thus ended my youthful knitting attempts. Fast forward to the early 1970s when I found crewel embroidery. That hobby kept me fascinated for a few years and it was more or less acceptable since it could be culturally lumped in with macramé. In 1977, I had some friends who introduced me to needlepoint. I immediately loved it and dropped the embroidery. If Rosy Greer could play football and do needlepoint, then I could at least do half of the equation. I continued to crank out needlepoint for the next 25 years during which time my lovely husband was crocheting innumerable afghans. I never lost my fascination with knitting. At the annual county fairs I would sit and watch the knitters and spinners for hours but I never tried it myself. Suddenly, in 2004, the husband went-off crochet and decided to learn to knit. He bought the equipment along with a teach-yourself knitting book, gave it a shot, put everything back into the paper bag it came in and started to needlepoint (which he still does). Interestingly enough, at the same time I quit needlepointing for reasons unknown, and had no hobby. Then, as I was going through a storage room, getting ready to move, I found the paper bag with all those knitting items. I thought I might just as well have a go at it, even though I was convinced it was too difficult for me to master. Surprisingly, I took to it like water and I've not stopped knitting since. After playing around with lots of different techniques, patterns and knitting styles, I settled on knitting only socks (for me) and stranded knitting slipovers. It keeps me happy. And, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Thanks, Joe for asking this question; it was fun to reminisce.

Never trust a man who, when left alone in a room with a tea cozy, doesn't try it on.  ~Billy Connolly

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

Wow, Jesse, I knew you were a superb knitter but I hadn't heard the journey to get there. Thanks so much for sharing the saga. And you are most welcome for the compliment...I just love hearing the stories of my fellow knitters. Especially the men.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Knitting fool's picture

I am a retired electronics technician. The longer I worked in the field, the smaller the components became. My wife got me started on doing needlepoint in response to me asking her how I could keep my fingers nimble to work with the small components. I went from long-stitch, to continental cross stitch to counted cross stitch on linen. As the years went by, my eyesight started to decline, and finally it was becoming a struggle to see the threads of the linen without using a magnifier, which I found very uncomfortable. I decided I'd look for something that didn't require such high visual acuity. I decided I'd give knitting a try. The initial investment was low if it didn't work out, so what the heck. I told my wife I was thinking about taking up knitting, and she very enthusiastically told me she would take me to the local yarn store to get me started. I had never purchased yarn before, so I didn't really know what I was letting myself in for. Without knowing what I was doing I walked out of the yarn store with four skeins on baby alpaca yarn, a set of needles, and an idea in my head to knit a scarf. Needless to say, when my wife told me what I had bought, I went to a discount store ans bought some really inexpensive yarn to practice with. Thanks to the internet, I have learned to knit. I don't knit correctly, according to my wife, but she likes all of the pieces I have knit for her. I have even fulfilled requests from family members and my wife's co-workers. I attended a "knit in public" event this past fall, and had a relly good time. Like I would tell women when they gave me strange looks as I was doing cross stitch, "Why should we men let you women have all the fun?"