Having found myself a few minutes of non-crafting downtime this evening I took the opportunity to mooch around the internet and decide to knit all the things (well it is knitting season after all). Much of this time was spent admiring the gorgeousness that is the V&A Knitting Collection. If you haven’t yet taken a look I highly recommend you do. Not only are the items varied and intricate but they trace a history of knitting from the 12th century.
As I was meandering through the virtual archive of this craft I began to ponder about my own personal history of knitting. I come from a family where knitting always happened. Both my mother and her sister learned to knit at a youthful age – they were certainly knitting in their teens (and indeed dressmaking), Mum still knits, whilst my aunt has become more of a quilter. My Dad even had a go whilst my parents were still dating. My maternal grandmother is the earliest relative I know of who knitted – I suspect her mother knitted too but I don’t know. Grandma is certainly the oldest knitter I remember participating in the craft. As a result I learned to knit young. I was about 5 I believe.
Like many knitters who grew up knitting I started with straight needles. Progressing from wonky doll clothes and accessories to baby clothes pieced and seamed together and on to adult garments – the first garment I remember knitting myself was also the first cabled pattern I remember. These days, as an experienced knitter, I knit more on circulars. This seems to be far more common now than I remember it being. It used to be that I only saw circular needles in use for circular yokes and hats, but now I rarely knit on straights. I find them useful for toys, but when it comes to most of my projects circulars have become my go to. They allow me to knit socks two at a time, or a jumper I can try on as I go. Perhaps it is my current minor obsession with shawls that has led me to my current needle preference – I have 3 crochets, 2 knitted and 3 in progress (knit & crochet) at the moment. Whatever the cause it does seem to echo the fluctuating trends in hand knitting tools.
i cannot help but wonder which method will be the preferred choice for knitters in the know in another 35 years time.