You can see all about me at http://norgemama.wordpress.com
Here’s what I recently added to http://www.theloopyewe.com/ The Loopy Ewe’s blog: about knitting and me. . . .
It all started from my observations of my Mom. She knit all eight of the Christmas stockings in stripes of red or green alternating with white. All in wool; all extra big for Santa’s treats. She knit hats, sweaters, and socks. Tons of socks. Mom learned as a Girl Scout in the 40’s during WWII. She volunteered for the war effort by making socks for soldiers. She has since saved almost all of her pattern books and brochures: a treasure trove of vintage attire. I spent lots of time looking through those and more new magazines and books she regularly purchased.
When I was about 5, I distinctly remember asking Mom endlessly to teach me how to knit. She was always busy with my younger brothers & sisters or doing housework. I didn’t understand then how busy Moms were. I got so mad one day that I snuck stealthily into her room and sewing/knitting storage area. I found some short needles and a magazine that showed diagrams of how to knit basic stitches. I ‘stole’ a small ball of yarn and started casting on. The ‘scarf’ had holes and skipped stitches all over it, but I was so proud, I had to show Mom. I didn’t care at that point if I did get in trouble. Soon, I had my own needles and some cast-off colors from her leftovers to knit whatever I wanted. She was probably glad I’d found something interesting to do so I wasn’t bothering her!
Mom also sewed a lot. She made outfits from patterns, darned, repaired, anything to save a penny. I was given a child’s sewing machine when I was about 5 or 6. My dolls never had it so good. Mom just gave me all of her scraps and I went to town without patterns making whatever I could. Then, she found some ‘Penny Bright’ patterns and made some for me. I was thrilled. I started copying. I also started knitting dresses and scarves for them.
Mom also discovered and fed my passion for knots. She marveled that I could untangle the mass of leftover / saved shoestrings and twine from the wall basket. Something she never had the patience for. In the ‘70s, macramé was THE craft to learn. I had no problem figuring it all out by myself after Mom bought a few Sunset craft books. She soon had a wrap belt, some wall hangings, and several plant hangers.
In my Junior year of High School I found out about Interior Design. There was a college convention and I went to the entry area where there were counselors who helped you figure out what you could do based on your remembered aptitude testing. I was both mechanical and artistic. Who knew there was a combo degree for that! I loved my college years – even the all-nighters. This was when I started back into knitting. My first shell was well knit but my seaming was horrible. I never wore it and it went to Good will. My second try was all wool with intarsia. My gauge was too tight on the color changes, and the sleeves were miles long off of the raglan shoulder. I had no knitting mentor to go to, but couldn’t bear to rip it and start again so saved it – for over 20 years. I may yet rip it back and do it right. Don’t know.
Career kicked in and knitting was sidelined and only occasionally done – and small projects. I had a roomie during college co-ops that constantly knitted so I did get back to it a little bit. Once married and pregnant, I began again. Baby hats were fun with geometric patterns. I also knit a baby bunting for a niece. That was fun but had to really push myself on it time wise. It was a lot of work but I added my own touches to it and made it with love. The intarsia improved during the Cosby show era. My hubby isn’t allowed to give away that sweater! In the ‘90s I also began experimenting with textural knitting and found an afghan pattern that was fun and decorative. Lap blankets also were a hit with the kids in our then-drafty living room.
My FIRST pair of socks went well until I got to the heel. I set the needles down for over a year-and-a half. When I carefully read the instructions again and got through (stitch by stitch and row by row) to the end, I ‘got it’ and quickly knitted the twin. Soon afterwards, Ravelry began AND a friend opened a knitting shop nearby. She invited me to join the internet beta site. I got invited to join Ravelry.com in November 07 and have loved every minute. I’ve knit more in 4 months than I’ve knit in 15 years, and still have time to get other (more important) things done. Knitting truly is a craft to take with you through every era.
My life has been so fortunately shaped by my choices. My pastimes and great times are often augmented by my love of the craft. I’m forever thankful for having a Mom who knew a lot, taught a little, and enabled me to try new things. I’m reminded every time I tie a shoe of the humble beginnings and simple ways that began a love of beautiful things made out of ordinary knots.