Monday, 26 April 2010

#1 - Starting Out (or a brief history of knitting and me)

Early Memories...
My early memories of knitting in my life are rather sketchy. This is due either to the fact that I have an appalling memory or maybe it's because knitting has always held such a steady place in my life it is impossible to say when I first became conscious of it. My mum has always knit. She is an amazing knitter and my inspiration to learn how to knit well and pass the skills on to the next generation.

My earliest of memories of knitting myself is a hazy recollection of learning how to knit one day in class at primary school. I must have been about 8 years old, and I remember that the class was held outside on the playground, but that is about all I can recall.

Starting out (the first time)...
The first FO I can remember knitting was a long multicoloured scarf that I used to call my "Doctor Who" scarf. The year was 1999 and I was on a break from university for the winter. I spent a few days at my sister Naomi's flat in Katoomba, and recall knitting in a rocking chair in her kitchen whist she cooked up a storm. That scarf was the beginning and the end of my first dalliance into knitting. For many years I wore and loved that scarf and it brightened up my drab winter wardrobe. A year or so ago it made its way to the charity bin. I managed to find this photo of me wearing it back in 2000.

Me and the "Doctor Who" scarf on the right and my friend Ingrid on the left, standing in front of the Arc De Triomphe in Paris.

Starting out (the second and third time)...
2002 - I knit myself an entire jumper. A seventies pattern with a giant cowl neck, in an electric blue mohair blend. The arms were too short and I only wore it once. Heart breaking. I'm not sure where this one went too and I don't have any photos but let me reassure you that it was very blue, very big (the collar that is) and very fuzzy.

2004 - I picked up 3 books for $3 from a charity shop. They were volumes 1-3 of the craft series "Make it Yourself" from 1973 (I am a sucker for vintage patterns!). I decided on a ribbed pullover, chose some wool from mum's stash (a green tweed wool), borrowed a circular needle and cast on. This was my first attempt at knitting in the round and I made the classic beginners mistake; my cast on stitches got twisted! And I had knit an inch or so in k4 p4 rib before I even noticed. I did get back on the horse again and managed to knit up to the armholes but then had to get my mum to take it from there. I really couldn't get the hang of knitting on 4 needles.

Finished in time for the following winter there were just a few problems with this one - (1) I don't look good in green, (2) I don't really look good in ribs, and (3) the yarn is itchy (not great for a turtle neck). I've still got this one in my wardrobe but it is more of an around the house jumper.

Starting out again (and sticking with it)
Fast forward to May 2009...I was feeling a little bit lost. I was not happy being a full time stay-at-home mum. Don't get me wrong, I love my baby girl, but I didn't have a job to return to and felt my confidence was at an all time low. As a designer I didn't have an outlet for my creativity, and trying to fit in hobbies, exercise or a social life is pretty hard when you are at home alone 5 out of 7 nights felt like it was impossible.

So this is the kind of funk I was in one day when we went to lunch at Young Alfred at Customs House in Sydney. It was there that I picked up a flyer for the ABC's Knit In, and on that day I decided that I wanted to use the opportunity of being at home and living close to my mum to learn how to knit. And properly!

On the 27th May I joined Ravelry and on the 29th May I posted the first entry on my blog. I think that Ravelry has definitely helped me to stick with it this time around. It is such an amazing source of information and inspiration and really does feel like an online community. I guess I am a much different person this time around too. Knitting helps to keep me company and sane on the many nights that my husband is at work, and it's something that I can pick up and put down as my daughter's needs demand during the day.

Since May I have started working part time as a graphic designer for Polli, so now I have a great balance between family, work, and craft. I look forward to my commute to and from work twice a week as I can indulge in uninterrupted knitting time. I think since May the the longest time I have gone without knitting is the 5 days of our honeymoon in January.

In under a year I have completed 16 projects, there are 2 on the needles, 9 on my queue and 100's in my favourites!


  1. Mrs Dalton, I think I am going to enjoy this week! I love what you've written - I think sometimes the key to getting one's groove back is remembering just what it is one loves to do. I'm going through a bit of a strange time myself, so it's lovely to read this. Looking forward to the next chapter of the story... nicky xx

  2. What a great story to read on my first train trip to work in 9 months. All I have to keep me company is my blogs.

  3. Natalie you are such an inspiration, I love that you have picked up the needles and put them down again several times with year gaps and now going for it seriously. I really have to thank you for all beginning this journey again and helping me begin mine with knitting. Love these blog posts!


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