How Merion learned to knit…
All knitters have stories! Welcome to our new series of blog posts, LK Personals, sharing our stories about learning to knit, patterns we’ve loved and yarns that bring back memories!
My story is not original, but one that will be very familiar to many knitters – a loving grandma with a little girl on her lap…
My Grandma, Doris May Rees, was an evangelical knitter, crocheter and maker of fruit pies. I was very lucky – I had a dreamy childhood running about in my grandparents’ garden, picking apples, blackberries and rhubarb, practising tap dancing on wooden floors and singing along with the piano. Ours was a theatrical family, lots of music, my Mum was an actress, my Dad a clarinettist, and everybody sang, ALL the time.
Gran was never very well – after battling rheumatic fever as a child, she was left with heart problems that meant spending most of her time resting, which meant knitting and crocheting.
It all began with a Twinkle comic. I was an avid reader and consumer of books, and I loved my copy of Twinkle (6p!) every week. Imagine my excitement when I found a knitting pattern inside! It was a dolly outfit – three piece set, trousers, vest and cardigan. In great excitement I took it to Gran and asked her if she would make it – and a week later, she’d made my sister and I matching outfits for our dollies! She had already spent hours in the kitchen teaching me how to make pastry (rolling it out with a milk bottle, her hands over mine) – now I wanted her to teach me to knit!
One rainy afternoon, we were sitting in the old conservatory listening to the rain hammering on the roof and my Grandma presented my sister and I cotton reels with four tiny nails hammered into the top – home made French knitting dollies! Hours of i-cord later, I was rummaging through the treasure trove of Gran’s knitting bag and the old fashioned, multi-coloured metal needles that lived there – I had found my spiritual home!
Lopsided scarves and triangle shaped squares followed, but my thirst for making got bigger – making perfume from rose petals in the garden, hand sewing dolly clothes, and eventually writing very hammy novels and poems. My love of making has never diminished, but thankfully my skills have evolved!
Shopping for yarn then was very different to today – most of it was navy, brown or grey (with a few exotic poster paint reds), but I felt the same zing of excitement as I do today at LoveKnitting HQ, when faced with yarn of every hue and fibre. The alchemy of knitting never fails to thrill me – that a ball of string and two sticks can produce fabric – it’s magical!
When I had my own children, I started knitting in earnest. I learned to crochet too, and I go through stages where I am madly in love with one or the other. Sometimes when I’m knitting, I wonder what my Gran would think – I’m sure she would be thrilled, and I think she would love the huge range of yarn we stock here at LoveKnitting. I have often compared this job to working in the world’s biggest sweetshop for knitters, and it’s true!
These days I love teaching people these gentle crafts – both my children can knit and crochet, and I see in them the same love of making that is in me. I hope they remember learning with as much fondness as I do – I’d be lost without my knitting!
How did you learn to knit? Do you have a favourite pattern or yarn memory? We’d love to hear it – please tell us in the comments!
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Last updated: August 20th, 2015.