it’s hard to believe that in August, I’ve officially been knitting for 40 years. It’s actually a little longer, but for my 4th birthday, my mam gave me my very own grown up knitting needles and balls of yarn that were specifically for me rather than left overs from another project, so I class my 4th birthday as the start of it all.
It’s quite daunting to think that I have 40 years of anything under my belt, let alone something that has played such a large role in my life.
I’m pretty sure the very first thing I knitted was a blanket for my Havoc doll. No Sindy’s or Barbies for me, I had Havoc! She was like Mrs. Peel and Suzi Quatro all rolled into one! And she was designed by the fabulous Mary Quant. A shoe box for a bed/lair, poorly knitted 50 st squares for blankets, and Havoc was ready to go. I don’t really remember moving from doll blankets to actual garments, but I’m pretty sure I was knitting school cardigans and jumpers by the time I went to the Comp at 11. I do remember those rectangle of garter st would drape into skirts, sweaters or ponchos and were malleable enough (and had enough holes in them) that my dolls were pretty well turned out (and you could pull the head off Havoc and put it back on, so the neck holes didn’t have to be that big)
My whole family knitted, so I never really saw it as special or skillful – it always seemed a very working class thing to me. Not something I treasured, or saw as a skill, it was just what a person did.
The 80’s brought out the goth in me, and I know I knitted a Vivian Westwood style holey mohair black cardi. I think I got the pattern from my nan’s Woman’s Weekly and just used much larger needles and lots of yarn overs.God, I wore that thing to death. But I was also knitting batwing sleeved new-wave monstrosities. THE knitting magazine of my ’80’s was called Sandra and primarily comprised of patterns that were square, or maybe had a raglan or if really fancy, were knitted from side to side. If a person wanted to get really fancy, a French company called Pinguin was the way to go. The patterns were definitely a step above the magazines or single sells in the LYS, but the one’s available to me, were all in French and I learned to deconstruct from pictures rather than words, since my french was always pedestrian at best. These patterns were all notoriously badly edited. Back in those days, I figured it must be bad skills on my part that made me fail so miserably with some of these Pingouin patterns. I’d take the bloody thing along to my local LYS, and the ladies there would nod knowingly and point me in the direction of the Sirdar/Patons/Phildar books of single patterns. It was about this time that I kinda lost my knitting mojo. Looking back, I’m pretty sure reaching drinking age may have contributed, but that’s another story for another time <g>
I’m the first to admit, that knitting and I parted ways for a few years, Actually, from the last hideous 1980’s sweater to the birth of my first son in the early ’90’s. This precious pic was the last sweater I knitted in the 1980’s – at the time, it was hot shit – at least I thought so.
That was a fairly quick recap of 20 years wasn’t it? I’ll move onto the last 20 years later this week. But before I go, I really don’t want to leave the stripey goodness above in your heads, so here’s a quick sneak peek of the next pattern I’m releasing.