Thursday, January 08, 2009

Ravelry "Warm Ewe Up" Winter Swap Question

Sorry it's taken me so long to get to this; I just got back from a nice long visit to Utah where I spent 2 1/2 weeks visiting my family. It was 23 and snowing in Utah when I left. I landed in San Diego yesterday to a balmy 62˚afternoon.

Hopefully I'll be back on a semi-regular blogging schedule soon. In the meantime, here's the Ravelry Warm Ewe Up Yarn Swap Question of the Moment:

Why did you learn to knit?

I didn't have a beloved family member teach me how to knit. My dad's mom used to crochet, although I've never actually seen her do it, and she says she stopped because she got the "Carpal Punishment" (we don't know if she is making a joke or if she is confused. Regardless, it's funny!)

My mom's mom sewed, and my mom even remembers her sewing on a treadle sewing machine (which, fair warning to my siblings and cousins, I'm going to fight tooth and nail for when it comes time for it to be passed on).

I was definitely inspired by my maternal Grandmother's ability to "make stuff." One year she made my sister and I these wonderfully cozy flannel nightgowns and gave them to us on Christmas Eve, thus inspiring a lasting tradition of pajamas on Christmas Eve in my family. I remember mine had worn through the upper back - I don't know where she got the flannel, or how that happened -- but she just sewed another piece of flannel behind the worn-out part. I kind of loved that. Maybe she didn't have a big enough piece to cut out the entire back, and she just made it work the best way she could. That's always inspired me. (plus it made the back extra-cozy) I wish I'd been old enough to learn more from her before she died, but every time I sew, I feel like I'm paying tribute to her.

--side note: on cold winter mornings, we'd stand over the heater in those nightgowns, and when the heat went on, they would fill up with warm air and poof out. I still remember how soft and warm they were.

Anyway, it didn't take me long in college to gravitate from the stage to the costume shop. There was this AMAZING woman who worked in the costume shop. She was so much fun, and she seemed to me to be able t do anything. She was married to one of my profs, and she also knitted him sweaters. I remember being in awe of those sweaters. It seemed like such a miracle to me, the ability to create fabric and clothing in one fell swoop. I wish I'd had the courage to ask her to teach me, but I didn't. She died of cancer many years ago, and I always regretted not getting to know her better, or not forcing her to teach me to knit.

Finally, two years ago, I was at a Target and saw a knitting kit. It was on clearance, and it claimed to teach you how to knit a poncho. It came with the grossest acrylic yarn, in brown and pink, and some very stiff, very slippery aluminum circular needles. So I snatched it up, the directions were awful, and I never did learn to knit that damn capelet. I ended up getting online and finding much better directions, and then I bought a bunch of Lion Brand Wool-Ease and "Knitting for Dummies" and started knitting swatches, which I fully intend to make into some kind of afghan someday. Really.

Then I was on a bulletin board, asking if it would be possible to cut up old jeans and knit with them, because I was broke and I was bitten. An incredibly generous woman on that board sent me an assortment of yarn from her stash, and I discovered the joy of knitting with pure wool. And it was HEAVEN.

And I've been knitting ever since.


Kim said...

get out your boxing gloves! you're on! and wasn't it grandma that made us the nightgowns?

Anonymous said...

Welcome back from your vacation. Hopefully you're feeling well rested. Ah yes, every knitter remembers their first experience with touching "real" yarn. It is heaven...very expensive heaven. By the way, thanks for the link to my blog, maybe you told me and I suffer from short term memory loss, but just noticed it. Cool.

km said...

Oh, Kim, yes, it was Grandma who made those flannel nightgowns. It says "mom's mom" but every time I read it I read it as just "mom" so I'll change that to be more clear. Nancy, I am OFFICIALLY following your blog! I just love cyberstalking, don't you!?