Before I got engrossed in embroidery I spent a little time trying out knitting as an outlet for my newly found spare time. I am of the generation that learned to knit when very young. My mother was a great knitter, but you were also taught knitting at school, boys included. I remember somehow knitting the cover for a hot water bottle. So, shortly after retiring it was fairly natural to go back to knitting as a way to occupy my time. Alas, I did not get very far. I bought a couple of knitting needles and some acrylic wool, cheapness was the prime factor here. I tried a few stitches and even managed to knit a scarf, a very crude, rough and ready scarf, but when all is said and done, a scarf. I have even worn it a few times. Here it is in all its roughness.
Not sure exactly why, but I did not persevere with knitting. I guess some of the patterns looked a bit too complicated and intricate for my liking. However I have recently come across a lovely article on knitting by writer Jenny Diski. It appeared in the London Review of Books, but is also available on her own website, here. In it she traces her younger self’s failures at knitting. But the advent of a grandson got her round to trying out knitting again. She bought a pattern, needles and the advised wool for a striped baby blanket. It would be a simple thing in just the one stitch. She managed to finish the blanket, with the odd hole here and there, but as she puts it, “it didn’t have to be perfect. I could buy a perfect baby blanket: this was a granny blanket.”
It is a lovely thought – a granny blanket. Perfection is not required, probably not even wanted. Anyway Jenny Diski now has a new enthusiasm. Her article goes on to describe some of the other things she now knits and some of the wonderful wool she uses. Which got me thinking again about knitting. The great thing about knitting is that you pretty much have to knit something practical, something which you or someone else can use. So I have retrieved the knitting needles and the acrylic wool from their hide-away and have slowly started to rediscover the basics of knitting. At the moment it is all practice and experiment, not attempting to knit anything. I do not think knitting will ever replace stitching, but it would be nice to have an alternative craft. With luck in the New Year I will embark on an actual project, but something simple. However I am looking forward to trying out some of the luxurious threads mentioned by Jenny Diski.
In the meantime I am equally slowly progressing with the projected cushion cover. I have been stitching away for over three weeks and I am not yet half way through. I had not fully realized just how big a project this was going to be. I still like the pattern, but it is slow work. Here is what it looks like after this morning’s effort. Happy stitching and knitting!