From a young age I enjoyed arts and crafts. When I got to high school my enjoyment of arts and crafts died thanks to a horrendous art teacher who didn’t make art fun in any way and didn’t appreciate that I might just be able to paint a picture in 80 minutes and be happy with the results. Instead I was made to
sit for three more weeks and ruin the picture I was happy with to make the teacher happy leave him in peace for three more weeks so that he could sit and read a newspaper rather than give me a different project.
I didn’t really pick up any form of craft again until education was out of the way. I started out with feeling the need to do something … but wasn’t sure what. I looked at courses offered in the local area. I liked the look of the sewing class so signed up. I made a bag. I wasn’t overly happy with the end result, but it wasn’t too bad considering I hadn’t ever made anything on a sewing machine before. I decided to take another sewing class and make an item of clothing. Again, the results weren’t great and I never actually finished the project, but you have to start somewhere and learn from your experiences.
I love pretty papers so tried my hand at making paper, and the next logical step seemed to be to bind paper into a book. I found instructions on the internet and gave it a go. I enjoyed it, but I couldn’t see myself churning out books.
I then found a felting class so took a six week block of felting. I loved that you got very quick results. I started making felt brooches from pieces of wet felt I’d made. I even managed to sell a couple of those brooches. I did a second block of felting classes to try some different techniques.
My mind started drifting back to sewing again. My friend Kate is pretty nifty with a sewing machine and offered to teach me to make a shopping bag. We went shopping for fabric. I had no idea there were so many gorgeous fabrics. Kate made a great teacher and our first session was a great success. We have since made a few bags together, and we even created a pattern together which I love.
I still felt a little empty though, these crafts didn’t satisfy my requirements. The problem was that I had two jobs at the time and really needed a portable craft. Knitting scared me a
little LOT, but I fancied the idea of a yarn based hobby so I opted to learn crochet instead. I signed up to a magazine series to learn to crochet. I loved it, but still I didn’t feel entirely satisfied. I looked at my crochet and the problem was that it did not give me the kind of fabric I wanted to be able to make clothing/accessories. At around the same time my friend Lindsay posted on Facebook that she was interested in going to a knitting class and she wondered if anybody wanted to join her. Umm … me?
Let’s go back in time again. My Mum asked me if I wanted to learn to knit when I was about 11 years old. Sure I thought, that sounds like fun. Well, my Mum cast on for me and showed me how to knit. I did. Then whenever something “complicated” needed doing, the project went back to my Mum, she worked her magic and then I was on my way again. Knit knit knit. Mum cast off for me, a little bit of sewing and my first piece of knitting was complete. I had made a bootie, a single lonely bootie. I never did make its twin. In my mind all I could think about was that knitting was complicated as I had to take my knitting to Mum anytime something other than straightforward knit stitch was required.
I have many friends who knit and I felt inspired by the beautiful projects being churned out. I wanted to be able to do that. So, Lindsay and I signed up for the knitting class – a two parter at a local yarn store. If the craft still wasn’t for me then I hadn’t invested too much time or money. Vala was my teacher, and she was great. I understood everything she said and demonstrated. When Mum first taught me to knit all those years ago it would have been with the yarn in my right hand. When I went to Vala’s class I was taught again with the yarn in my right hand, but I carried the yarn in my left hand straight away. It turns out that I prefer continental knitting over English knitting … gasp … but I am English!!
So here I am, a knitter. Something I never thought I would be, but come March this year it will have been my craft of choice for four years.