Whilst sitting working on an improvised sock pattern it occurred to me that I had not yet put up a blog post about my knitting. Since this is what I spend probably the largest proportion of my crafting time doing I figured I should rectify this!
So why do I spend more time knitting than any of my other crafts? It’s not so much that I enjoy it more than the others, if I didn’t love a craft I would quickly stop doing it! However I have been doing it the longest. Over the past 35 years I have graduated from a plain garter occasional knitter to a seasoned garment and stuffed toy maker. I have also been known to modify the occasional pattern, and am considering starting to design my own – hence the improvised sock. There was a time when I would knit on my commute to work, but since I’m now a cycle commuter I feel that might be a little on the unsafe side! These days I spend most evenings knitting in front of the TV. Sometimes I’m watching things on the tellybox, other times my other half is shooting stuff and shouting at people internationally through the power of Xbox. Knitting is quiet, which means it doesn’t interfere with what else we are doing and I am able to socialise at the same time. The same cannot be said for most of my other crafts. Crochet sits nicely alongside knitting as a craft I can do without shutting myself off from the world, so it makes a good alternative between knitting projects.
Dressmaking is noisy and requires a degree of problem solving that knitting, for me, does not. Although I do sometimes sew whilst my partner is online I am very conscious that my sewing machine, in all its rattly old glory, can be heard in the United States. In addition the walls on our house are not thick, and we do have neighbours, so the machine has a bedtime to avoid annoying anyone too much! I cannot watch TV whilst I am sewing. I could listen to music or an audio book with headphones on, but I tend not to. I certainly could not be sociable outside of a sewing circle (anyone know of one in Buckinghamshire?).
Spinning and weaving have a similar meditative quality to knitting. They are slow, calm and quiet. However they are my newest crafts, and as a result require the greatest part of my attention. I am confident that as I improve they will join knitting and crochet as evening TV tasks. Every once in a while I’ll pick up one of a few unfinished quilting projects (also a newish craft to me – yet to finish anything more impressive than a tote bag!), I have one hand pieced and one machine pieced quilt top on the go. I’m sure you can work out which one is the TV project. In addition I occasionally have embroidery or cross stitch projects on the go – I have cross stitched for about as long as I have knitted, so I find it relatively straightforward, whilst the rest of the embroidery styles are more challenging for me. However I find that I need to really fall in love with a needlework project before I start it – but it’s not like I don’t have plenty to keep me occupied!
So knitting is my go to pick up and craft thing. Which has made me want to explore its history and the world that surrounds it today. So this Joy of Knitting series of blog posts will be my investigation into the history of knitting and the community that has arisen around it.