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First-time Knitters

March 28, 2012

Every knitter seems to have memories of learning to knit. My dad showed me how when I was about 10 years old. I remember the lightweight red wool and small needles he gave me, and I’ve always been curious about how he learned, because I don’t remember ever seeing him knitting at any time other than that day. But what a gift!

A lovely young mother and her 7-year-old daughter, Anna, recently won knitting lessons (from me) at a local fund-raiser. Neither of them knew how to knit but they were eager to try. The gift for me was getting to know two delightful people. There’s nothing like sitting quietly and concentrating on just yarn and needles to make interesting conversation begin to flow across three generations. I truly hope that knitting will continue to be an important part of Anna’s life – she was such an enthusiastic learner!

I learned a lot at our sessions, too. When you’ve knit for many years, you tend to knit so quickly that you no longer really appreciate the intersections and small movements that make a knit stitch happen, so it was fascinating to have my attention drawn to the structure of stitches when they’re being slowly and thoughtfully made by beginners. Anna chose variegated yarn for her project, which made the knitting fun for her as she watched the fabric grow, but which also had another important advantage: As she examined her work and worried about dropping stitches, she commented, “The variegated yarn makes it easy to see whether the stitch is right, especially when you drop one: When there are a bunch of loops and you look at the color of the ones on the needle, you’ll know which ones should go where.” I hadn’t thought of that, but she’s absolutely right!

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