Share your story!

Anna Marie Jensen

Anna Marie Jensen

Did your grandma teach you to knit? Your mom? A favorite teacher or a best friend? Have you ever made a cursed “boyfriend sweater”? Did you make a blanket for your first child or grandchild?

We all have stories about our knitting, and we love to share them. That’s why we spend so much time with other knitters at classes, events, and online.

Dorothy Reade

Dorothy Reade

In Stories In Stitches™ 2, Ava and I share the stories of our knitting heroines Dorothy Reade and Anna Marie Jenson, as well as other stories that we find especially meaningful. Now here’s your chance to share your story! It might be funny. It might be sad. It might be an adventure, a memory, something your mom or grandma told you, or even a dream.

Post your story in the comments below for a chance to win!

 

Prizes include:

  • Wine Glasses

    Wine Glasses

    Printed version of Stories In Stitches 2 (if you haven’t already purchased)

  • A pair of Stories In Stitches Wine Glasses
  • A vintage pattern booklet

Don’t worry. This isn’t a writing contest. We are not judging by your spelling, grammar, or ability as a creative writer. We just want you to share your story about knitting.

The details:

  • Post your story of up to 300 words in the comments below.
  • Contest closes on December 15.
  • 3 winners will be announced on December 20.

Why wait? Share your story today. (We won’t share it anywhere else without your permission.)

If you have no idea where to start writing your story, here’s a lovely example by my friend Joyce Lohse.

BLUE

As a love-sick college girl, I remember sitting and knitting a birthday sweater for a long-distance boyfriend, a river of tears flowing, listening to Joni Mitchell’s new Blue album. “I’m going to knit you a sweater, write you a love letter, make you feel better, make you feeeeel freeeeeee ….” Carefully, I penned Joni’s lyrics onto a card and placed it inside the box with the sweater I had crafted, then sent it off in the mail.

Of course, that complicated relationship was cursed by the gorgeous blue sweater. Love collapsed, and I never saw my guy wearing the sweater. Fortunately, I met a fellow in college who dried my tears and made me laugh. Forty years later, we are still married and enjoying life together.

When my long-distrance boyfriend visited my Mom years later, she innocently said, “My, what a beautiful handmade sweater you are wearing!” You guessed it. It was the sweater I made for him. He still had it, still wore it, and according to her, it looked stunning.

Over the years, I’ve knit hats and scarves for my dear husband. I will never, EVER, knit a sweater for him, and take a chance on the evil boyfriend sweater curse!

–Joyce B. Lohse

 Joyce B. Lohse lives in Centennial, Colorado where she works as a freelance writer, author of historical biographies, and administrator for a national writers’ group, Women Writing the West. She has been knitting since her mother tried to teach her at a young age. As a lefty, she finally gave up and turned her over to the knitting store ladies.  www.LohseWorks.com

66 thoughts on “Share your story!

  1. Luella

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    Reply
  2. Donna

    Guess who won this round of story telling?

    Virginia Nola, Kelsi Butler, and PL. It was really hard to narrow it down to just three! So we are also giving an ‘honorable mention’ to Jonathan Morris.

    But really, you all are winners. Thank you SO much for sharing. Your stories are wonderful and I hope you will continue to tell them to your children, your friends, and your neighbors.

    Reply
  3. Pam Artese

    I taught myself how to knit…but the knitting was always in me. My grandmother who I called Ma Ma Pitt, (Marie Schmitt), always knitted. I was never interested in learning as I was always involved in something else as a young kid and teen.

    When I was 30 and had two small children of my own, I stopped working at the dance school where I was the teacher. I told my husband that I couldn’t be with my two all day and all the dance kids at night! I was going nuts. He acquiesced. :~)

    My friends asked what I was going to do with my “free time” and I said I’m going to learn how to knit. I went to my local craft store and bought a book and some needles and some red yarn…and knit a scarf! I soon found myself engrossed. That year everyone got dishcloths.

    By this time my grandmother, MaMaPitt, was almost blind due to Macular degeneration. She was so proud that I taught myself how to knit and I would call her and ask for help over the phone sometimes since we lived 300 miles apart.

    That year on my visit home for Christmas, my grandmother called me to her room and brought out a bag of knitting supplies. She had only completed 2 of the six baby blankets that she would need for her grandchildren to give to their first born, her great-grandchildren. I had received mine 4 years earlier as did my brother, but there were still 4 more to be done. She had the yarn, and asked if I would complete them for my cousins. I was honored.

    It took my awhile, but I did get the rest done and by now Ma Ma Pitt was at rest, so giving them was very special to me. Today I still knit with her needles that have to be over 60 years old. I have a Boye needle changing kit that has sizes 6-15 needles, jumper cables and all enclosed in a fabulous 50’s era gold embossed case.

    I know she is guiding my knitting from above because every time I use those needles I feel her guiding hands.

    Reply
  4. Virginia Nola

    The Last Project

    My mother, who passed away in May, was a talented knitter who taught me how to knit when I was a child. She knitted for her grandchildren, my father and herself, including a beautiful Irish fisherman cardigan made from yarn she bought in on a trip to Ireland with my dad. In her later years, knitting became more difficult for her, but she wanted to continue, joining the knitting group at her senior housing complex. She made a prayer shawl and recently had been working on a scarf. She even asked me to bring it to the hospital during her last illness and she worked on it a little when she was well enough. When it became clear that she would not get well, she asked me to promise to finish it when she was gone.

    I mentioned this to my sister who told me about a friend who had some knitting that she kept in her living room and friends were invited to add to it when they visited. We decided to bring Mom’s scarf to the reception after her funeral to have people add to it. Later I brought it to her Wednesday morning knitting thinking that group members might want to contribute to the project. One of the aides who cared for my mother and had helped her with her knitting said that she would add a few rows as well. What a fitting way for them to remember my mom. When I returned to pick it up, each person who added to the scarf signed the note I had left with it.

    The basket with the unfinished scarf sat in my car and then in my family room for quite a while. I just couldn’t bring myself to work on it. I started other projects, but I didn’t seem to be able to finish anything. Then it dawned on me that I needed to fulfill my promise to my mom and finish the scarf. The first day, I touched the part that my mom had completed and felt the connection. I finished the scarf last night and now it is ready for its intended recipient. My promise to my mom has been kept and now I can get on with my own knitting.

    Reply
  5. Diane

    I learned to knit from my mother. My first project was a poncho from some popular magazine at the time. I think it was knit in red heart yarn. It was stockinette white alternating with colored purl stripes. My sister knit the same thing and hers came out fine – mine had holes everywhere as I had dropped stitches or picked up extra stitches. So, being discouraged by that experience, I gave up knitting for a long time. After college, I took a job at a University and discovered a knitting shop within walking distance of my office – the wooly west. I walked in, took one look, and committed to learning to knit again. In retrospect, I didn’t like the feel of the acrylic yarns my mother would knit with. I loved wool and as soon as I felt it pass through my hands onto the needles I found a passion for the process that has continued to this day.

    Reply
  6. Valerie

    While working at my LYS, a man came into the shop, looking for yarn. He explained that he was knitting a long striped scarf. I asked, “Are you knitting a Dr. Who scarf?” He replied, “Yes!”

    We discovered more in common than just knitting, so we exchanged contact information. When I arrived home I told my husband, “I made us a new friend today. His name is Bill.”

    Over the next few years, Bill became an integral part of our lives. My husband and Bill would sometimes get asked if they were brothers. Eventually Bill moved to a new city for a new job and a new girlfriend. Although we saw each other less frequently, we were grateful that he introduced us to Amy.

    Last spring, Bill’s breathing became labored. On Friday, July 19, he was admitted to the hospital for testing. That Monday, my husband and I drove the two hours one-way to visit him in the hospital, and Amy had to share the news: Bill’s lungs were covered in cancer, but it wasn’t lung cancer….

    On Wednesday they found the source: Bill had colon cancer. Thursday brought his first chemo treatment. Bill experienced seizures on Friday. We promised to go see him on Sunday. That morning, July 28, Bill texted me that he wasn’t allowed visitors. A few hours later, Amy’s mother called to tell us that Bill had died.

    Amy gave two items to my husband and I from Bill: his autographed Dr. Who book and a cell phone cozy he had crocheted. I knitted the cat hat for Amy that Bill had never finished. Last month I began knitting my own Dr. Who scarf in Bill’s memory. I’m grateful that yarn brought Bill into my life.

    Reply
  7. Lindsay Smith

    I am the ‘family knitter’, taught by grandma, who knitted for her children, grandchildren and then great-grandchildren. Like her own grandmother before her, she continued knitting even as her sight failed her.
    I picked up her mantle and knitted for my nieces and nephews, as my siblings had four children apiece and I fought infertility.
    When I had a child late in life, my mum presented me with a beautiful, white cardigan that drowned my 4lb premature daughter.
    “Before she stopped knitting, I had your Grandma knit this and I kept it for you. Just in case.”

    Reply
  8. Corrie

    My grandmother taught me to knit when I was really little – I have early memories of sitting on the floor at her feet diligently knitting scarves for all of my teddies. As I grew up, I ‘grew out of it’ until I went to university and was walking down a market street one day. I saw a stall piled high with all of the brightest colours of yarn I had ever seen and I bought a few balls and some needles there and then.

    YouTube refreshed my memory a bit, and before I knew it I had a book, another set of needles and a really awful set of gloves for my long-suffering boyfriend.

    The rest of the story is history really. I suffer from severe clinical depression and knitting is my lifeline. On days when getting out of bed is really, really difficult, my boyfriend can normally tempt me to sit on the couch with a garter stitch project in my lap – after half an hour of working at it, I start to produce words, and within a couple of hours the episode can be over.

    It’s not a hobby for me – it’s a way of life.

    Reply
  9. Edie Ward

    My knitting journey started when I was a young girl with my mother teaching me to knit. I knit exactly 1 slipper and called it done! Fast forward many years to Christmas of 2006. Just days before the holiday, our family suffered the loss of our 17 year old nephew. It was a stunning blow, which left me feeling bereft – adrift, suffocating in the weight of the grief. After one full year of grieving, and still feeling as though I couldn’t get my breath, I made a decision: I had to find a hobby. I needed to get out of the house, socialize, and find my way back into life, not just for my sake, but for that of my family’s.

    I have been a women’s health provider for many years, and know the immeasurable value of handwork. Many times I had counseled my patients to start a handwork project, especially knitting. I knew the physiological response to knitting is an increase in serotonin, which reduces depression and relieves anxiety. For some reason, I could just never apply that rule to me.

    So finally, after struggling and fighting myself, I picked up the schedule for the classes offered by the parks and recreation deptartment in our city. Right there in black and white was a class offering 4 weeks of learning to knit. At that moment I had an epiphany. How had I never thought of that for myself?

    I was so nervous my first class. I felt so outside myself, taking a class in a room full of people I didn’t know. To make matters worse, the teacher had just turned 18. What?! 18? What could she possibly know of knitting? It turns out, far more than I did. I sat in that class, once a week for the next four weeks, knitting my first hat. And ever so slowly, began finally, the process of healing, one stitch at a time.

    Six years later, I’ve attended workshops, classes, and groups. I’ve taught the 7th and 8th graders at my son’s school how to knit. I have made life-long friendships and found both spectacular successes and frustrating disappointments (like checking the bus schedule to see when I can throw my current project under it). Mostly, knitting has given me peace. It calms the mind and sooths the hurt and ultimately feeds my soul.

    I sometimes think back to the broken person who knit that very first hat, and I am grateful for all that has passed since.

    Reply
  10. Carlyn Clark

    I first picked up sticks and string at my grandmother’s urging when I was 5 or 6 years old. For Christmas gifts that year I made dish clothes using size 10 1/2 needles and Aunt Lydia’s rug yarn. I made quite a few, and thought they were quite lovely. Years later I learned that each night after I went to bed Granny would fix all the mistakes in what were probably some pretty pathetic attempts. She was a stickler for tidy work. Her motto was the backside and inside had to look just as good as the front.
    Fast forward to 45 years later when my husband took a job transfer to Shanghai, China. I didn’t have a working visa, spoke no Mandarin and my husband traveled at least 3 days a week. I found myself a bit untethered, to say the least. I found a calendar listing in a local magazine for the Shanghai Guild, a group of local ladies who met weekly to stitch up blankets for Chinese orphanages. I was delighted to learn that they met just a few blocks from me, which meant I didn’t have to deal with trains, taxis or my inability to ask for directions in Mandarin. The group met in the leaders incredibly maintained lane house, which was a treat to spend time in. What a respite from the chaos of Shanghai. The meetings began about 1 in the afternoon and went on as long as anyone cared to stay. Kathy, the hostess, always had freshly baked western style sweets. And while the group was from all over the world, we shared a common love of needlework and many common experiences as expats. WE made quite a few pieced blankets for the children, and had other special projects – like making scarves for a group of elderly Chinese ladies living in a retirement home. The concept of charitable groups is new to China, and the photos of the ladies wearing their scarves shows their great delight at being given these handmade gifts.
    I’m back in the states now. And when asked what I miss about my time in Shanghai I can honestly say the only thing I miss are the friends I made there, and my afternoons stitching with the Guild ladies.

    Reply
  11. Turtleknits

    My mother taught me to knit when I was 4. It was all about practicality: mittens, hats, gloves, scarves. We used plain wool and rarely, acrylic. I often think of her when I knit today, and how she would celebrate small mistakes and saw “now the gods won’t be jealous of our work!”

    Reply
  12. Jonathan Morris

    I was a dancer who had just broke my ankle and learned one of my sisters and best friend had neck cancer. My mom suggested since we wore stuck at home to maybe think about making some X-mas gifts. I had never make anything knitted but found a nice sweater and skirt combo with cables and eyelets didn’t what those stitches meant and this was before the internet. So got the yarn needles and set to work some time in October well long story short working sometimes all day and night with multiple start overs finished the morning of X-Mas and handed the gift in a poorly wrapped box to my sister who, had had a bad night following chemo. She was silent a long time and then silent tears started down her face which made the rest of start with the water works too, ( all 7 kids, 3 nieces, a nephew mom and dad wore crying like babies). It made my day and she still wears at least some part of the combo every X-Mas. I’m still knitting mostly socks now just to waste time and learn new stitches; but when ever I see that green combo I still get teary eyed.

    Reply
  13. Kelsie Butler

    I was 4 when my grandmother taught me to knit. I made these lopsided potholders with holes all in them. I was very discouraged and kept going for a little while but eventually sports won out and knitting was put by the wayside. I kept all the needles, yarn and those darn potholders.

    Many years went by and when I was 24 I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I was bound and determined to make him a blanket. So I went to my grandmother to go over the basics again. Time was not on our side. It turns out she was diagnosed with early onset dementia and she was losing her memory fast. She helped as much as she could and I went on my merry way to knitting.

    Fast forward 10 years later. I haven’t put my needles down since. And my grandmother has no memory of me or knitting. My family went to visit her at her lifecare facility. I brought along those first potholders to maybe help her. She looked hard at those potholders and looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “I remember these”. It was the last time we would connect. Knitting was the thread that held us together over long distance and it was the thread that held us together when she could no longer remember me.

    Reply
  14. Tamsin

    My grandma taught me to knit when I was a little girl. Years later when I used to visit her with my children, she would let me go raid her stash so I could make things for my boys.

    After she died, I found some new yarn and patterns that she had purchased to knit sweaters for her newest great-grandchildren. Of course I had to knit those sweaters but I had no idea how healing it would be. With each stitch I thought of her and how a simple thing she taught me was such a big part of my daily living. When they visited for her memorial service, I was able to give them the sweaters in my grandma’s honor.

    Now I carry on the tradition and knit sweaters for all her great-grandchildren. She taught me to do something that gives me so much joy and it feels wonderful to keep that connection to her alive.

    Reply
  15. Toni Sturrs

    After bring diagnosed with skin cancer when I was 18, I had to have minor surgery on my foot to remove the cancerous cells. This left me unable to walk for a few weeks, and very bored! I grew up with my Grandparents so I knew my Nanna would have some yarn and needles lying around. I picked them up, and using YouTube I taught myself to knit. I absolutely loved it, and decided that instead of going on to study Graphic Design, I would to a degree in Textile Crafts, specialising in hand knit. The course was fantastic, but after then being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease I didn’t get the grades I hoped for. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, as I find knitting to be a wonderful pain reliever. I think if I was to pursue it too seriously as a career the stress would make my symptoms worse. Instead I medicate with craft, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been! Knitting has helped me through the most difficult times of my life.

    Reply
  16. Kate

    My Grandma taught me the basics of knitting and crochet when I was maybe 6 or 7. I didn’t stick with it. I don’t think I had the patience yet. When I was 24, Married just over a year and recovering from my second miscarriage, my mother in law took me shopping for needles and yarn and re-taught me as a kind of therapy. The lessons stuck, but my heart wasn’t in it. About 6 months later I was pregnant again and dove in head first. I started a baby blanket, two colors stranded in a window-pane pattern. It turned out amazingly well for a first project. I haven’t put the needles down in the fourteen years since.

    I still can’t crochet to save my life, though.

    Reply
  17. Leonne

    My little story of knitting begun with a little bear I made at grammar school when I was about seven years old. We knitted with thin iron needles and knitting cotton, wich was difficult with my small sweaty hands. But I made my yellow bear, complete with fallen stitches and eyes that keep falling around, as they are made of black round beads. Today my bear is a symbol of the love of my mom, who helped me out when the stitches fell. And I have lots of these knitting stories coming up while I am telling this. When my big brother (almost 14 years older than me) was deadly sick and we had’nt been on speaking terms for several years, for some stupid things we just couldn’t speak out to each other, I started knitting a shawl in beautiful blue sheep wool, a bit sticky, and I kept on knitting and knitting until it was so long I could wear it around my body. In the meantime I had went to his house, where my other brother and sister and I stayed with him to wake, talk, and care for him the last weekend of his life as a sick man. We spoke out beautiful little phrases to each other and I tried making him some fruit he could only taste. But I kept knitting all night and ended the shawl. Then he died, and I wore the shawl all the time thinking of the things I felt for him. It is a wonderful symbol, worked into a piece of thread, the thread of our lives. So this is the meaning of working with thread for me: it carries the struggles I have and at the same time it comforts, being a piece of my life, giving warmth, carrying a beautiful story.

    Reply
  18. John

    My paternal grandmother taught my sister and me to knit when I was in 2nd grade (back sometime before God). As I recall, the needles were plastic, as, probably, was the yarn. Not so aware of natural fibers back in 1962 (there, I said it.).

    Reply
  19. Suzette Gray

    I remember when I was a little girl watching my Nana knit and crochet. I used to do squares in knitting while she crocheted or knit. Then I got myself a set of books that showed me a lot more. As an adult I did more crocheting than knitting but in July 2012, I met a designer on line who lives in North Carolina and we became friends. He taught me so much about knitting and designing. We parted as friends almost a year ago but, on saying that, we are again friends and I am still learning so much more from him than I could learn from any books. It takes love and patience to be able to knit something that someone else takes pleasure in. Everything that I have knit in the past year, has been knit with love and the knowledge that somewhere, someone is looking at the pieces I have done and thinking that they are very nice. That is all there is. If my pleasure in knitting gives someone elses pleasure, then I am happy with that.

    Reply
  20. Nadine

    My Mom taught me the basics when I was a kid. All I knew was how to read patterns and occasionally how to change out a stitch pattern. I retired from work in December of 2006. I was still getting up with my husband when he left for work. Somehow, I found a program called Knitty Gritty. On one particular program Cat Bordhi was teaching her Coreolis Socks. I was intrigued because I did not imagine that I could knit a sock. I downloaded the pattern, but still lacking confidence purchased the Personal Footprints book. I knit every baby sock in the book, and went on to discover Elizabeth Zimmerman. She is my kind of knitter. I also discovered Judy’s Magic Cast On in the sock book and have found many uses “Beyond Socks” for the cast on. I am now privileged to know Judy. I now know about Local Yarn Stores, Ravelry, knitting workshops and so much more. I have truly become an obsessed knitter.

    Reply
  21. Donna

    And…. we’re officially open for a new set of stories with the launch of Stories In Stitches 2. Stories posted between Nov 15 and Dec 15, 2013 are eligible for the next round of prizes: Knitter’s wine glasses, vintage pattern booklets, and Stories In Stitches 2 (if you haven’t purchased already).

    Share your story! We would love to hear it.

    Reply
    1. P.L.

      In 1971, I was ten. My mum had taught me to knit when I was five but I had little interest in it, being a tomboy. Mum came from an old farming family by the river – my grandad had a boat there and we’d spend time with him on it at weekends. In July, 1971, he died. It was round about that time, mum got these knitting patterns for blue ‘fishing jumpers’, and was planning on knitting one for each of us. I think she was working on mine first. She’d knitted most of the body. I couldn’t wait to get it.

      One night that November she died, unexpectedly. Months later, my aunties burned almost all her things. They did it when dad was out at work. All I had left was her sewing machine and a bag someone had stuffed in the bottom of a laundry basket, which had the half-finished jumper in it. It had been 5 years since I’d knitted, but I thought I remembered how. I started trying to knit. But it unravelled. It seemed, the harder I tried; the worse it got. Until there was nothing left but a pile of wool. I felt guilty I had destroyed one of the last things I had of her’s.

      In my 20s, I picked up a book, ‘Traditional Knitting’ by Michael Pearson. Utterly broke, spent my last penny on it. And read it obsessively. There was a hand drawn map showing our village. And lots of blue ‘fishermen’s jumpers’. Gansies. And I picked up needles and yarn and.., remembered how to knit. It just came back to me.

      I have spent the past few years researching and writing about ganseys. I’ve never told anyone that before. Took me years to make the connection.

      Reply
  22. Margaret

    This may be a hard story to believe, I can hardly believe it myself looking at the Grace Pillow Sham pattern on your Ravelry page.

    I have a friend and neighbor named Ada who will celebrate her 83 birthday on 8/24/13. During a recent visit, she told me about two bedspreads her mother knitted, one for herself and one for Ada when she was a teenager. That would make them between 65 and 70 years old. Ada’s bedspread was unfortunately visited and chewed by a mouse so she asked me to take a look at it to see if I could repair it for her. She also showed me her mother’s bedspread and I was stunned to discover a few days later that it is the exact Grace Pillow Sham pattern you’ve featured on Ravelry! It was a complete coincidence that I found your page, I was looking for another pattern and saw something from your ebook featured on the Ravely pattern search page. Ada actually thought she’d saved a copy of the pattern through the years, which she didn’t, but she did find an extra square that her mother knitted, along with a ball of the original cotton ‘string’ stored in a muslin salt bag that her grandmother used to buy salt many, many years ago. She gave these to me so I could try and reconstruct the pattern myself.

    Ada’s is the one that is chewed but it’s a very small hole and I believe it is repairable. It’s a stunning cable and lace diamond pattern that looks both Aran and Guernsey. Today I’m washing many years of dirt and dust out of it and I’ll dry and block it before I attempt the repairs. Wish me luck!

    I’d be happy to send pictures, it may be fun and interesting for you to see them. I’ve also talked with Ada about putting photos of each of them up on my Ravelry site in honor of her mother, which she thought was a great idea.

    Reply
  23. Donna

    And here are the winners! Thanks, Ava, for selecting your favorites as an impartial judge.

    Thea O’Grady: about her grandmother’s and mother’s hands
    Linda Cherry: about finishing the sweater for her ex-husband
    Nikki: about teaching her grandmother
    Mary Holton: about finding a knitting friend

    And Rhon and Rachel are going to have their stories published in Stories In Stitches #3!

    Congratulations. And really we are all winners when we share our stories with one another. I am sending everyone who contributed a free pattern.

    Prizes will go out in the mail (and via email for free patterns) next week!

    Reply
  24. Donna

    The winners are picked. The prizes are gathered. If you’re holding your breath in anticipation, breathe and sleep on it. I’m going to announce the winners in the morning.

    The contest is closed but you can still read and share more stories for fun. Why not share yours?

    Reply
  25. Peggy aka PickleSoup on Ravelry

    I was in high school when I finally got Mom to tell me her story about this peach colored sweater with only one sleeve. Her story begins my story… She was a very young woman and newly married and it was the very early 1960’s. She wanted to learn to knit, only she couldn’t figure out the directions. She didn’t have in-person support from anyone who knew how to knit, and was getting quite frustrated. My Dad is a leather worker- loves to braid rawhide, and at the time was used to figuring out the black and white pencil drawings showing the braiding maneuvers. He looked at the knitting directions in the book she was trying to learn from, figured it out and showed her. But when I asked her to teach me when I was in high school, her actual response (instead of the lovely story) was, “Figure it out yourself. You’re smart enough. Your Dad figured it out and taught me.” Which irritated me while it empowered me. It gave me a voracious appetite to learn how to knit. I did figure it out. From a book that only gave instructions for holding the working yarn in the right hand. I was a crocheter already and the yarn just WANTed to be in my left hand. So when I was learning, I would put the yarn in my right hand, work the stitch the way the book said, study which way the yarn lay and where, then put the yarn in my left hand and attempt to make the end result be the same as it was on the last stitch. For the most part, it worked. I did have crossed purl stitches for a while, but that, too, was figured out in time. My Mom is gone now and my Dad is still braiding rawhide. I still feel empowered by their example. Intelligence combined with common sense makes a pretty great role model. I wish they both would have had the opportunity to share their gifts with more of the world than just our tiny corner. I hope that I am even remotely as inspiring to my children. And if they don’t follow in my knitting footsteps, that’s okay. They’ll find their voice, their muse, their medium. In the meantime, I appreciate being able to share the knowledge and skills I have developed as a result of that desire to learn- with the local knitting community, even when it’s as simple as picking up dropped stiches or putting in a missed yarn over from 3 rows below so the poor dear doesn’t have to rip back. Now, I wish I had Mom’s peach cardigan with the one ¾ sleeve. If I lost 30 pounds, it’d fit just right, right after I finish that last sleeve.

    Reply
  26. Fiona

    Mum was – and still is – a very industrious woman and she taught a group of kids in my elementary school how to knit when I was around nine. I don’t remember the learning part, but I know I made one blue mitten. I don’t know whether I ever made the second one. I certainly didn’t continue knitting, for whatever reason, although I could knit a plain rectangle if pushed. Fast forward many years to 2011 and I decided that my personal challenge for the year would be to learn to knit ‘properly’. I had tried to decipher knitting patterns in the past, but the abbreviations and symbols were enormously daunting and like a foreign language – the irony being that I studied foreign languages at university and was still overwhelmed by the sight of even a simple pattern! So, I decided it was time to buckle down to learning something new. With the help of Debbie Bliss’ book, ‘The Knitter’s Year’, I conquered the old-fashioned tea cozy like my Nan used to make, then moved on to a scarf with bobbles and cables. I borrowed books from the library and had to look up every stitch either in books or on YouTube. My initial doubt that I would ever be able to make sense of it all was soon quashed and I was looking for new challenges. Mittens, quickly followed by gloves, then within months I had found my true love: lace! Oh, how I love lace!

    I am slightly abashed at how quickly I moved from looking at bargain yarn at the craft store and needles at the thrift store to the most luxurious fibres and needles that are a pleasure to use. I no longer scoff at the thought of spending $45 on a skein of camel/silk/cashmere, whatever the case may be!

    Knitting has brought enormous richness to my life, in terms of the friendships that have developed, both in real life and through Ravelry/Twitter etc, and the satisfaction and sense of achievement I get every time I finish a beautiful piece. I simply cannot imagine not having knitting in my life now.

    Reply
  27. Cynthia Enderlein

    I grew up going to Camp Fire Girls meetings and we had them at my house because my mom was our fearless leader. Every meeting my mother tried to keep it interesting for us. One year, when we were about 8 or 9 years old, she had our next door neighbor come by and teach us to knit. I was in awe of our neighbor because I thought she was young, beautiful and so cool. I was determined to learn to knit!! I actually wasn’t very good at it, and didn’t stick with it. But I remember those meetings with very fond memories and think they were my favorites.

    Fast forward about 30 years and I was looking for a new, “inexpensive” hobby and thought I would give knitting a try! I found YouTube videos and found it very easy to pick up. I think this was due to learning it all those years ago from a very cool neighbor!

    Now if I could just figure out the “inexpensive” part!!

    Reply
    1. Cynthia Enderlein

      Oh, man, not sure when you consider cut off time, but it was only 6:33 pm pacific time! 😉

      Reply
  28. Thea O'Grady (TheaMidnight on Ravelry)

    When I was a child, I remember looking at my mother’s hands and wishing my hands looked like hers. I could see her veins and her transparent skin. I noticed her long, thin pretty fingers. Her hands were so lovely to watch as she played the piano or embroidered or knit. My skin was pink and squishy and didn’t have any qualities like hers.

    One thing that reoccurs in my mind is a comment that my mother made. We were all needleworkers in our family. We sewed and embroidered and crocheted and knit. As I made my knitting stitches, she would smile and say, “You hold your needles like your grandmother and I do”. One of the last times I saw my grandmother, I looked at her hands and indeed, we had the same hands. It was truly amazing.

    Currently I continue to knit and knit and knit. There is really not one thing that stops me from knitting. I don’t garden and I don’t really want to do housework. I do take knitting along with me where ever I go. I knit in the car, at baseball games, and in restaurants. My husband rolls his eyes when I talk about knitting.

    Now that my brother has kids and his girls are maturing, I am trying to will them to knit in a quiet, encouraging way. I just hope that they want to knit or do any sort of handwork. Since my mother and grandmother are gone, I know that they would want those girls and even my nephew to participate in knitting. And … I am watching. How will they hold their needles? I am wondering about their hands.

    Reply
  29. Mary Holton

    I am a self taught knitter and got into knitting in my twenties when my husband and I lived in Chicago. This was in the “Dark Ages” befiore the Internet was available to hook you up with other local knitters. I did not know any other knitters, nor where there any shops near my home.
    In the late eighties, we moved to Marietta, Georgia and although there were shops near my home and Atlanta had a guild, my heart’s desire was for knitting buddy who would also be close friend. I feel that God answered this pray in a most wonderful way.
    Our winters here in the South are pretty mild, but we had a day that was particularly cold and raw. This was the kind of day that knitters like me , who came from up North, rejoice because we can pull out those wonderful wooly and warm hand knits that do not get much wear here in Dixie.
    For some reason, my husband and I decided to have lunch at Steak and Shake, a place that we rarely ate at. It was a bit crowded and while we were waiting for a table, a couple was leaving and the wife went over to stand on the side while her husband paid their bill,
    My eyes were immediately drawn to the vest she was wearing. My mind resounded. ” That ‘s Elizabeth Zimmermann’ Shawl Collared Vest she is wearing!” I immediately rushed over to where she was standing and asked if she had knitted her vest. She said yes , we git to chatting and the rest is history. We exchanged email addresses and have since become very dear friends. Darlene became the knit buddy I had longed for.
    I later learned that the day we first met was the first time she and her husband had eaten in that restaurant.!

    Reply
  30. Anne W.

    I was 6 years old when my mother taught me to knit. I had been watching her and my grandmother knitting since I can remember, so I wanted to learn as well. My first project was a baby sweater, knit sideways in Garter stitch, it even had short rows. What I love is that my mother and my grandmother helped me become a fearless knitter, I have tried many things without being afraid of failure, I just moved on if something didn’t work out. I have been knitting items based on pictures only since I was a teenager. What also helped was that knitting (and other crafts) was part of the curriculum in elementary school, we had a 1/2 a day of it each week in grade 3 – 6. On the other hand, I cringe at the knitted pantsuit I’m wearing when I was 10 years old, even though my mother spent countless hours on it.

    Reply
  31. Juliann

    I grew up in an extended family with two grandmothers, two great-grandmothers, and my grandfather. Everyone worked all the time, and even my father cut strips of leftover fabric for crocheted rag rugs. My maternal grandmother made everyone’s clothes, including men’s 3 piece suits. When I was married, I had never mastered shuttle tatting. I was a spinner, weaver, dyer, knitter, could crochet, needlepoint, and embroidered. I could not tat. My grandmother tried so many times in my life, but I just ended up with a knotted mess. My dad, always supportive, said, “You make good knots.” I told my husband that on my next visit to my grandmother, I was going to master tatting. I bought a book with instructions-oh, this was long before internet and the YouTube videos-around 1982. I sat in my grandmother’s apartment, harassing her for instructions, and she was watching one of her favorite basketball games. I finally realized that she was not going to sit down and give me the loving grandmother/granddaughter lesson.I returned home a failure. My husband offered to read the directions step-by-step, and we piled up on the bed with the cats, shuttle and thread in hand, and he began reading the instructions. He could tell I was getting super frustrated, so he calmly read, “And if you sew on Sundays, the devil will make you pick out the stitches with your nose.” It took several seconds for that to sink into my befuddled head. I turned and said, “It doesn’t say that. That’s what my grandmother says.” He laughed so hard, and I threw the whole thing down and stomped out of the room. Something like ten-twelve years passed, and I learned how to do needle tatting. It was so easy compared to shuttle tatting.

    Reply
  32. Charles

    Why did I start to knit? I’ve always been a crafty male. My latest hobby was counted cross-stitch. I usually did larger pieces vs. small projects. My last full piece took me 18 or more months to finish, because I was also working and going to college. It was another gift to my grandmother. I was finally done in September or so. Sadly, my grandmother had died in August. I just was struggling to continue my craft. My mom had recently found a new yarn shop, so we went together on Saturdays, and I helped wind yarn for customers. One day that November, I took a nifty knitter we had and started a Christmas stocking. Watching the other ladies knitting, I decided I could do that too. Mom got a hat started, and I started my first project. I loved my new craft. I became very good at it too. I started watching videos online to practice. Sadly I lost my mom a year later, but this time I kept going in her memory. Since then, I have gotten very good at knitting, and started spinning, dyeing and some weaving. I’ve attended multiple Men’s Knitting Retreats, and even designed a couple my patterns.

    Reply
  33. Amanda Vondrasek

    When I was little I never fit into any club, sports, or even after school activities. I didn’t like any of them and, well, I wasn’t ever very good at sports. At the time I started learning to knit I was in between houses with my dad and sister, so we were staying at one of my dad’s friends houses. She is great at knitting and I would always sit next to her and watch, wondering how she made these patterns with two aluminum sticks.
    I remember one day she came home with a refrigerator box full of yarn someone was just giving away! I was so amazed by all the colors and with yarn in general. She seen how I was looking at the yarn then and decided to teach me how to knit. I loved it.
    But then I was just a little girl, so the hobby didn’t stick for long. I stopped knitting after a couple finished projects(including a teddy bear and purse).
    Just last year I got interested again when I was looking through my closet, packing to leave for college. At the bottom was the little purse I made back then. It was so cute and I realized I missed knitting!
    I taught myself again, through online friends, ravelry, and youtube. Now, a year later, I am back in the game! 🙂

    Reply
  34. Donna

    These stories are amazing. I can’t wait to see what comes in over the weekend and pick winners next week!

    Reply
  35. Rachel Russ

    Displaced Persons camps were all over Germany for many years after Hitler. No one wants to talk about them. Sitting with my Latvian mentor, a sweet 80-something prolific knitter, she shared with me her words, as we threw and wrapped our stitches together. Her blanket for charity; my feeble attempt at Latvian mittens.
    The camps were cold, she said. The men pulled together what they could find to heat areas of the buildings, many bombed and left in disarray after Hitler’s army pulled out and fled. Left behind the carnage and people too weak to fend for themselves. Red Cross, British, and American armies came later to help assist these displaced persons. People without a home. But in the interim, people had to eat, they had to live, they learned to survive.
    The women held their knitting time sacred. Little groups formed.
    Bicycle spokes were pulled from old wheels, sharpened and given to the women to use as needles. Parachutes from boxes of food Red Cross planes dropped into the camps were slowly and carefully unraveled into big balls. These threads were carefully re-knit to provide underclothes for the children.
    Sweaters recycled and darned, repaired. Material scraps found in or near graves. Wool was a treasure. Helped keep the damp out during the cold nights. I asked her if they ever thought of the previous owners? She said, “No, we were grateful to have it, we left those ghosts in peace. For we were the living souls left behind.”
    Her teary eyes looked far away into the lands and places I could never visit, nor ever imagine. As I dropped a stitch and her arthritic hands reached out to help me retrieve it, she commented, “Knitting is healing, it gives us purpose and a reason to rise with the sun. We must finish our projects. We want to see the finished garment on our loved ones. And that is why we knit.”

    Reply
  36. Rohn Strong

    Most of the women in my family have knit and/or crochet. They made wash cloths, sweaters, and the ever present afghan. All with scratchy, ugly, acrylic yarn. Isn’t it interesting how we hold these pieces so close?
    My grandma was a huge knitter. I always remember seeing her working on something. One story I love to tell is about a coat of many colors.
    When my Nana was younger she needed a coat. Unfortunately, in the town we lived there was not a store within 40 miles (and the Sears catalog was just too expensive.)
    So my Great Grandmother took to what she knew best and made my Nana a coat out of scraps. My Nana said it was the ugliest thing she’d seen and she hated wearing it.
    Nana used to walk to school and on the way she would take the sweater off and hide it in a tree. Then on the way home (they did live just behind the old school mind you) she would put it on and run home.
    Although Nana thought she was sneaky…Grandma knew. Being the stern woman she was, who hated vanity just about as much as she hated sinners, Grandma took the coat one day while Nana was in school. Nana had to go home to tell Grandma it was gone. Grandma let her tell the story and then after a bit she told Nana she had the coat.
    From that moment on Nana wore the coat each day until the next year when they could finally afford to purchase a coat.
    Now, as time has passed, and Grandma with it, Nana still remembers her coat, it wasn’t much but it was hers. It was her ugly coat of many colors.

    Reply
  37. Karie

    From a distance my family probably resembles a Turkish carpet: rich in pattern, unique and colourful. Up close, the carpet analogy falls apart. My family history is one of petty feuds, sibling rivalry, and mad cases of generational jealousy.

    And one of the most obscure and fascinating stories is about knitting.

    My great-grandmother “Grandma L.” was a formidable lady. She married a widower in the 1930s and proceeded to bring up his 7 children plus 11 of her own children on a small homestead in the impoverished 1930s and the war-ridden 1940s. She was not to be messed with – though I was lucky she liked me – and I remember her knitting blankets in front of her kerosene stove.

    Grandma L. was a continental knitter by choice. She had fallen out with her mother, Anna, over some petty little thing and had chosen to spite her mother in the most insidious way she knew. Anna was a thrower – what better way to spite your own mother than to change the way you knitted?

    Reply
  38. renee parker

    this is not my story but the story of the wonderful woman that taught me how to read and write but also how to knit.
    she was my first teacher. i was 5 years old. her son was my best friend and she gladly kind of adopted me for she wanted a daughter!!!
    she was the most patient of teachers and loved everyting she did. in our community she was the instigator for charities would get people working together for the needy and would always give her time without even counting.
    she was diagnosed with parkinson…
    by that time i became a family doctor and remembering how patient she was with me, i took care of her but to just see that terrible disease destroy the most wonderful women i have known.
    now that she is gone to heaven i know that she is disease free and can teach children in heaven how to read, write and certainly knit…

    Reply
  39. Bronwyn

    My mom taught me to knit when I was pretty young. I still have the little garter stitch square I made back then, but it didn’t stick. She retaught me when I was in high school and it’s stuck this time!

    Our family has a bit of a tradition of knitting. My mom’s mom’s family is from Iceland, full of knitting traditions. The only thing I’ve seen that my langamma (great-grandmother) made is a blanket of all her scrap yarn. It sat on a bed in my amma’s (grandmother’s) spare room for as long as I can remember. It has gorgeous colors accented with black so all the color pops even more. I haven’t seen first-hand the things my amma made, only some gorgeous photos of my amma and my grandpa while they were dating wearing sweaters she made. I’ve even heard about contests she won for her sewing and knitting.

    My mom crochets more than knits. She crocheted baby blankets for my sister and me. She does knit too though. She always made us scarfs, headbands, and mittens growing up – she still will if you ask her.  My favorite mittens she made me were these little pink puppy heads when I was probably about four. They’re still in the coat closet at my parents’ house. They’re adorable and wonderful.

    I knit a scarf for my boyfriend nine-ten years ago. Mom helped me because I wasn’t ready for that much plain knitting at that point. We broke up and the scarf was gotten rid of along the way. We reconnected three years ago and are now married. I’ve made him a sweater, socks, a hat and will continue to knit for him. He jokes about my knitting too much, but I think he truly loves it.

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  40. Melina

    Knitting has always been like therapy to me. Meditation when I’m anxious; a pick me up when I’m depressed. My most recent knitting story starts when I found out I was pregnant in late May. My mind instantly filled with ideas of knit projects I wanted to make for this new little one. I wasn’t exactly a project knitter when my son was born, so I wanted to make up for that with this baby. It took a week to choose where to start, but I started an improvised blanket design. At the same time, I started a bulky weight cardigan for myself, so that it’d be ready for me to wear when in the hospital after delivery. As I worked on each one, I thought of all the fun things I’d knit for both little ones (matching sweaters, etc.). A couple weeks later, I found myself in the ER, knitting projects and all, discovering that I was losing the pregnancy. I continued to work on the blanket to help me deal with the physical and mental pain while I sat there for hours as the doctors ran test after test. In the mean time, nurses and medical assistants admired my knitting and how calm I was while focusing on my stitching rather than everything else that was going on. Here I am, a month after the whole ordeal and still finishing up the blanket as part of the healing process. Now that we’ve gotten the go ahead to try again, I’m eagerly finishing up the blanket in the hopes that it’ll bring good luck and calming feelings for the next pregnancy. 🙂

    Reply
  41. Jennifer Pelikan

    I learned to crochet as a young child & made many afgans, baby blankets, etc. I always wanted to learn to knit but couldn’t get my hands to do two different actions at one time – like not being able to pat your head & rub your tummy. Just couldn’t do it, no matter how hard I tried & how frustrated I got.

    One day I tripped over a computer cord & dislocated my shoulder. I’d dislocated it in the past but it always popped right back in. Not this time. It had to be popped back in & immobilized for 3 months. Did I mention it was my right shoulder & I’m right handed. I learned to write left handed, use American Sign Language left handed, & pretty much do everything left handed.

    Not long after I regained the use of my right hand again, I decided to try knitting again. Lo & behold, I could get each hand to act independently. There is a neurological explanation for this “re-wiring” of my brain but I don’t care about that. I’m just thrilled to be able to knit & I’ve gone from scarved to felted bags to lace shawls & even done some designing.

    Reply
  42. Holly Priestley

    When I was in college, a friend commissioned me to knit his Halloween costume – he was going to be boy from Where The Wild Things Are. The project was an adult-sized set of hooded, footie pajamas. My friend a full foot taller than I was, so after the suit became longer than I was, I stopped being able to take it to class with me to knit.

    About a month before Halloween, I went through a terribly breakup which rendered me unable to knit for the entire month. Two days before Halloween, the suit had rested, untouched, with a sleeve and a half to go. My friend tried it on, with the needles still in the half sleeve and said he’d wear it regardless of whether or not it was finished!

    That put my butt into action pretty darn quick – if he was still willing to wear the thing, I was going to bust a gut to get it as finished as possible.

    Halloween morning came and went and I sat at my table, still knitting the final inches on the second sleeve. Friends started stopping by in their costumes and I had his suit in my lap. We have pictures, even, of some of my friends in costume and me finishing his piece.

    I bound off the sleeve and wove in the ends, sewed the soles on the feet so he could wear it out, and off we went!

    That project brought me out of an emotional funk and showed me some of the more important things in life, not silly significant others who ended up not being so significant.

    Sadly, I don’t have any good pictures of the suit, but I have fantastic memories!

    Reply
  43. Suzanna

    Mine wasn’t a knitting nightmare but a crochet one, I must have been about fourteen and drooled over a lad at youth club. He finally asked me to be his girlfriend and wanted to take me a folk club. I spent hours and hours crocheting a mini dress, all was fine and then the dress began to stretch. It got longer and longer until it became nearly a maxi dress. Oh how I was embarrassed.

    Reply
  44. Joyce Druchunas

    My saddest knitting story is that Grandma T didn’t live to see you launched into a knitting and designing career. She would be bursting with pride.

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  45. pdxknitterati/michele

    My Aunt Rose taught me to knit the summer I was 14. I spent the summer with her and her family, and she wanted to share her love of knitting with me. We went to her local knit shop to begin a project. My choice was a baby blue drop shoulder turtleneck pullover with some simple cables running up the the body. It was made out of Brunswick Germantown Worsted (how do I even remember that?). I knit it in the round on circular needles, although I’m not sure the instructions were written that way. Aunt Rose was teaching me to be the boss of my knitting from day 1!

    My first sweater was not quite to gauge, so it ended up being pretty big on me. It didn’t matter; I loved it anyway. Many years later, I felted it on purpose to try to get a better fit, and that’s when I learned a valuable knitting fact: knitting shrinks up more than it shrinks in! I had a short boxy sweater, which would have been perfect in the 1980′s. I wonder where that sweater is now?

    Pictures of some of Aunt Rose’s knitting in this post: http://pdxknitterati.com/2012/04/25/3kcbwday3-knitting-heroine/

    Reply
  46. Michelle

    My grandma taught me to knit when I was 4. We were staying with her in a block of flats for a week or so before we moved into our new house. Sadly, the following day I went to wake her up and she had died.

    My mum bundled me round to the neighbour’s flat whilst the ambulance arrived and all I took with me was my knitting. The neighbour sewed me a drawstring project bag and helped me to continue.

    We moved house and I made my dad a Dr Who scarf in garter stitch. It was wonky where I had dropped and picked up stitches but my dad, bless him, wore it with pride. That is until he took me to the dentist for a tooth out, they used laughing gas and when we were walking home all I could do was sob. People were staring at us and so my dad wrapped the scarf round my mouth to try and muffle the sound! It stank of the gas after that despite washing and was put out to pasture.

    I am now in my 40s and have knitted all those years, sometimes more off than on. All my friends children received a hand knitted gift when they were born. I have made my hubby a jumper, but as we were married at the time it doesn’t carry the boyfriend curse (at least I hope not!).

    I am crowmich on ravelry, stop by and say hello x

    Reply
  47. blogless grace

    A million years ago our “little girls group” at church learned knitting by knitting bandages for the Red Cross. They were in a coned, fine weight cotton on #2 needles. Thirty stitches across, slip the first and knit the rest; turn, slip the first and knit the rest. I later found out that the Red Cross greatly liked these bandages because they could go through the sterilizer a few times before falling apart. We would knit great rolls of them because everyone had a cone of yarn to knit up.

    When I was in fifth grade I found my mother’s copy of the “How To” pamphlet which had knitting, crocheting, embroidery, and a few other things and re-taught myself to knit. I knitting a fold-up wallet, complete with coin pocket with the triangle flap. Everything closed with snaps. I used that wallet even into college.

    It was not until I was married a few years that I took a knitting class through the parks and recreation department in Tulsa OK to give me the kick-in-the-seat-of-the-pants that I started knitting again and have not stopped. Vividly I remember an early session in that class. I was knitting on the ribbing for a vest with the yarn held in my left hand (I had been crocheting for years) when the instructor stopped by my desk and asked “What are YOU doing?!?” Myself – “Knitting the ribbing?” “WE do not hold our yarn in the left hand. It belongs in the right!!!!” So ever after that I knitting with the yarn in my right hand in class, but knit three times as fast with the yarn in my left hand at home!

    It actually stands me in good stead because now I can switch to either hand so stranded knitting is so problem. It also taught me how not to teach knitting. In my classes, as long as someone is getting a knitted fabric they are doing it right!

    Reply
  48. Laura

    Growing up, my mother was a crochet-only kind of woman. She sort of taught me, but also overwhelmed me by talking about tension, gauge, etc. She also thought knitting was “too hard.” When I got older I tried it again with the help of some friends, but still had trouble seeing stitches and had sides that waved with my varying numbers of stitches. I was not inspired to try knitting yet. A few years ago, I developed a friendship with someone who knits. She wasn’t pushing me into it, but she showed me the great things she was working on.

    Then one night, I had a dream (I told someone this once, and they asked, “Like a vision?” meaning a vision from God. No, not like a vision). In my dream I was knitting these big loopy things. It was really fast and really easy. The next day, I was thinking I want to learn how to knit.

    I checked out a book from the library, and couldn’t even do one stitch. I checked out some youtube videos next, but couldn’t see what they were doing. Finally, I talked to my friend who was happy to show me what to do. She helped me with how to hold the yarn, cast on, knits, and purls. Once I had the basics down, it was easy for me! I’ve since made blankets, (stuffed animal-sized) sweaters, hats, stuffed animals, slippers, and more. I guess you never can tell when something that seemed too difficult will actually be something you love doing.

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  49. Anne

    I remember my mom teaching me to knit when I was a young girl. I even had one of her old quilted knitting bags to keep my yarn and needles in. But she never taught me to purl, and I wanted to knit flat like she did, not bumpy. So I stopped.

    After college, I tried again, and was a bit more successful, and I knew how to do stockinette. Unfortunately, the shop we bought the yarn from hadn’t added ease to the pattern they made for me, so the sweater wasn’t going to fit, and I didn’t have enough yarn to finish, either.

    Years later, I found a simple pattern in a UK women’s magazine. I took it to a local shop where they were absolutely wonderful. The owner set me up with the proper needles, yarn, and a book that had wonderful pictures to help me remember what to do. I knit that first sweater, and felt a wonderful sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, they had suggested I add a few stitches to make the body a bit larger … it turned out too big, so I gave it to my husband, bought the same yarn, and made one following the pattern. It fit perfectly … and so began my 20 + years of knitting.

    Eventually, my mom asked me for a sweater, and I gave her one of mine – it was big on her, but she wore it regularly.

    After she passed away, I learned to knit socks and from their went on to hats and mittens. Someday I hope to figure out how she made the navy blue mittens with intertwined red and white cables I had as a child. Then I’m going to make a pair for myself.

    She told me stories of knitting socks and scarves during WW2, and of making socks for my father. She knit a pair with one of the first acrylics available and said it was terrible stuff to work with. I found them later in his things, and have them now. I also have her knitting pattern book from a shop in Pennsylvania, printed in 1943, reprinted in 1962. No pictures, just directions, but a treasure to have.

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  50. Linda C Cherry

    My greatest knit story begins as my husband and I picked out some fabulous yarn (a grey silk and wool combo) for a sweater I began for him in 1985. The kids were small so I didn’t have a lot of knitting time but went to work on the piece and finished the back, front and 1/3 of the first sleeve. The sweater was then put into a bag and somehow got stashed in the closet where it stayed until the late 90’s.

    We got divorced and I moved to an apartment nearby. As I packed my things, I came across the sweater and thought that I should really finish that but it got packed and came to my new place. Into the closet it went along with a few other unfinished projects.

    I met a man in 1999 and we were together until 2008. I had to move into a smaller place (again) and (again) I packed up the sweater (again) thinking that I should really finish that thing. 2008 was a challenging year. I won’t go into all of the lessons I had to learn but one of those included moving (again).

    Well, the 3rd time I packed up this sweater, something in me just screamed motivation and I decided to finish this sweater. Now, my husband is my X and he has remarried, but he is the father of my kids and my first real love so I got to work on it. Figuring out the complicated diagonal plaid seed stitch pattern was fun (not!) but I got through it, The project was complete and handsome. I presented it as a gift for him on Father’s Day, 2009. He was thrilled and it fit him beautifully. The real gift, though, was for me. I finished his sweater and it only took me 24 years. Ironic that we were also married for 24 years. Yay, me!

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  51. Puddytatpurr

    My mother taught me to knit when I was little, strangely though: she knits English throwing style and I knit Continental!

    I have made the boyfriend sweater…..I married the guy, but it didn’t last!

    I have also made sure that the first thing each of my children have worn was the same little baby jacket made by me!

    Now I am waiting for my son to propose to his girlfriend so I can make her wedding shawl and start knitting for grandchildren 😉

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  52. Dot

    My mother taught me to knit; I’m not sure how old I was, it was too long ago! I remember making an angora sweater when I was in high school, and a white, red and blue Norwegian style ski sweater in college.

    My mother told me about her first knitting project. She was born in 1910, and knit a washcloth for a WWI soldier, using a ball of string. She must have been only 7 years old. She said it grew wider as she went along, and it got rather dirty. But it was turned in and sent off to the Army. She always wondered what the soldier thought when he got it!

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  53. Meghan P

    When I was still fairly new to knitting there was a really nice yarn shop one town over from where I lived. I had never been before, but based on the high praises of the woman who had started me on knitting I was anxious to check it out. Not having a car myself I was at the mercy of my boyfriend to take me. He decided to make a day of it. He would take me to the yarn shop then on to a very pretty town we used to sometimes visit when he was still in college 7 hours away and came home to where I was finishing highschool for visits (we were long past that period at this point but we still lived close to the town).

    My boyfriend took me to the yarn store which was my first experience of a proper yarn store, not just an aisle of acrylics in Zellers. I bought some great skiens of materials I had never knit before, including one skien of hot pink mohair. Later when we had moved on to the other town we were visiting that day he took me for a walk by the river and proposed. To this day he still takes me to yarn shops without complaint and I still have the lace scarf I made with that hot pink mohair.

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  54. Nikki

    My grandma taught me the basics when i was little – 8 or so. I made a wee garter-stitch scarf for my favorite stuffed animal. I still have it, horrible dropped stitches and all.

    Some years later i kinda picked knitting up more seriously, and started teaching myself more complicated patterns out of books. I made a side-to-side. garter stitch, striped short row hat and showed it to her. She asked for the pattern.

    The next time i saw her, she sat me down. “Ok,” she said. “Now explain this to me. What the heck is this pattern telling me to do?”

    I was still young enough that this flabbergasted me. My grandma was a knitter. She taught me to knit when i was eight. And now i was eleven or so, and she wanted ME to teach HER?

    I’m glad my grandma got to see me grow up as a knitter, and tackle ever more complicated patterns. And i’m glad i got to share that love and give some of that learning back to her. 🙂

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  55. Maria MN

    My godmother’s mother is my Nana – sort of like a surrogate grandmother, since both of mine lived far away growing up. She is getting on 93 years old, and still lives independently in the neighborhood I grew up in.

    A couple of weeks ago, she and my godmother were at a family barbecue, and I was knitting some socks. She first exclaimed over how amazing it was to see me knit with 5 needles (I am a loyalist to DPNs) and began to share her stories of knitting socks for the Red Cross in Greece during World War II. They didn’t use DPNs back then but rather the long steel needles and then sewed up the socks after they were knit flat. She would get together with the other ladies in the town (which is also my dad’s hometown in Greece) and knit together to make the socks for the soldiers in plain white wool.

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  56. Kathy

    I was taught to knit by a lady at the local knitting group because I really wanted to make socks. She couldn’t figure out how to knit left-handed and after several false starts, I said I’d try knitting right-handed. Now I crochet left-handed and knit right-handed!
    My lesson from knitting – trust your intuition. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, whether the mistake is yours or the pattern. I wanted to surprise my friend with what I’d learned so I knit my first socks in secret. I faithfully followed a pattern off the internet, though it didn’t look right. When I showed the first to my knitting group, everyone asked who it was for and what was wrong with their foot. These women were great, but they were also brutally honest. Suggestions included saving it in case I ever broke my foot and wanted to put a sock over the cast; did I know someone with a clubbed foot, etc. I still have that first single sock, if anyone knows a one legged person with an ankle that is twice as wide as their toes.
    That first sock may have been a failure, but I cherish the friends I met in that first Stitch ‘n Bitch group as well as all the wonderful knitters I’ve met since then. When I got married 2 years ago, numerous “knitting” friends filled the seats. A friend knit a shawl in my wedding color for me to wear at the reception. Another friend wore a wedding color shawl as she toasted my husband and me. And I eventually finished the wedding day socks for my husband (I have NOT learned to start early!). Knitting has been a beautiful addition to my life and is so much more than just a hobby.

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  57. Emmy

    My first big scale project was a large wool blanket that was going to be a gift for my boyfriend for a mish-mass of celebrations – our two year anniversary of dating as well as a housewarming gift for his first apartment.

    Now, I had heard of the ‘Boyfriend Sweater Curse’, of course, and had also heard of it bleeding over into any project of significant size, blankets included. But I was determined and undeterred and thus set out to choose a pattern and yarn that suited my Colorado man: meaning natural, stony colours, a neutral stitch pattern, and, most importantly, wool that could be washed without felting – I had learned my lesson from the alpaca scarf I had made him the Christmas before.

    By the time I had my pattern and yard bought and delivered, it was June and I was back in California. Latching onto this idea of Knitting with the Olympics, I cheated and cast on before the opening ceremony, knowing I would never finish, otherwise. Thus I sat and knit for hours every day, carefully modifying my pattern so the blanket would be large enough for two to cuddle under, and paying for it when the blanket grew large enough to make knitting in the California heat uncomfortable.

    I soldiered on, though, and eventually finished, well before my August deadline. My boyfriend loves the blanket, and it serves it purpose and a blanket for to very well. It is a favorite of all who pass through the apartment, and I am immensely proud of it. The project gave me the courage to tackle larger challenges. Now, almost a year later, I am contemplating a new blanket for us both. Only because the Boyfriend Blanket offers little protection from our new kitten’s claws.

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  58. Doris

    Shortly after my son was engaged, I offered his fiancé that I would make something for her for the wedding if she would like. She told me that she would love it and would need something to cover her shoulders in the church. A couple of weeks later she came to me with pictures of what she would like… the pictures were of a sort of shrug made of machine lace. Sometimes my brain and mouth don’t work together so I said I could do that, even as my brain was wondering how I could say that and how to do it. I searched Ravelry and found nothing like it. So I designed one myself and started knitting. Ten days before the wedding, we went for the “final” fitting of the gown, only to find that the back of the sample dress had ended a good six inches higher on Bridget’s back than the real dress, leaving quite a strange-looking gap between the shrug and the dress. I had to come up with a bottom border and make the whole thing come together in one week. Thank goodness that it worked and turned out to be exactly what I had seen in my mind’s eye and what Bridget wanted. You can see it on my project page on Ravelry, where my Ravelry name is Knittingkidd. Oh, and I am lucky enough to have made the shrug for someone who truly appreciates it.

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  59. Jan

    My first knit project was a bobble afghan to fulfill a Home Economics projet. After the cast on, the instructions for the bobbles said to ‘k1, p1, k1, p1, k1 in the next st’! Um, what!?!?!! I asked my Mother, who I’d never seen knitting, about this, and she showed me what to do! That bobble afghan lasted a long time, and finally died as a dog bed.

    The real story is Mom’s. I’d never seen her knit because some years before, she’d attempted to make my Dad, a 6’4″ Santa Claus-build guy, a very complicated Aran sweater. It came out too big! She put it away and never knit again!

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  60. Dianne Sallee

    After breaking my left wrist, at age six, I was given a ‘crash course’ in knitting, by both my mother and grandmother. The reason it was a ‘crash course’ was because my father and I were due to sail back to the States 7 days after my fall and I needed some form of therapy for my fingers. So, with left arm in plaster and armed with needles and cotton, I and my dad set sail from Sydney, Australia to the States, via England. Mum’s final instructions to Dad before our departure, was to make sure I ‘knitted’ for at least an hour each day was needless, I rarely put my ‘knitting’ down. By the time my mother and sister joined us at home, 6 months later, I had a pile of knitted face washers that would rival the Empire State Building.

    That broken wrist was the instigator of my life long passion for knitting.

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  61. Gryphon Corpus

    Another victim of the boyfriend sweater curse here.

    A few years ago I fell in love with a devastatingly handsome Romanian doctor. It was stormy and complicated, I left my husband for him, he lied to me endlessly about his live-in girlfriend. We stole passionate moments in the woods, in back alleys, anywhere, and I kept stupidly hoping he’d be mine someday. In my foolish yearning, I knit him a sweater. He looked on Ravelry with me, chose the pattern, said, “Make it for me in the colour of that shirt you wore when we made love last week.” How could I resist?

    Three times during the course of the sweater I changed my mind, ripped back to resize it for myself, cursing him, but then of course I finished it, for him, and it was so beautiful on him. Two weeks later he dumped me and I thought I’d never stop crying. I didn’t see how I could ever love anyone again.

    But of course I could and of course someone wonderful came along. My broken heart mended and, my disdain for superstition as strong as ever, I knit him a sweater within less than a year. I’m happy to say he wears it still and it has done much to eradicate the memory of that first, ill-fated boyfriend sweater. I like to pretend perhaps he still sheds a tear when he looks at it, but more likely his other girlfriend has burned it.

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  62. Lara Neel

    This past January, I was working on my soon-to-be-out (I hope!) book about knitting socks.

    I had a series of socks-in-progress stuffed into my purse, for the book. On this particular day, I wound a fresh skein into a ball and printed my draft of instructions before heading to work. I wanted to make sure I had a project ready because I was taking my wife to a checkup at her doctor’s that afternoon. With the new skein, I had about a sock and half worth of knitting, which seemed like more than enough for the waiting room.

    Little did I know, simple bloodwork would show that my sweetie was desperately, horribly, anemic. So anemic that the nurse called us at home and said we had to go to the hospital for a transfusion, right away.

    Through the blur of tests, blood, scopes, and doctors, I clung to my sock knitting for dear life. The rounds of stitches helped me pass the time and made me feel useful in a situation where there was very little I could do. In the margins of my sock instructions, I wrote down the doctors’ names and what they said. A knitting group friend went by our house, fed the cats, and brought me more yarn. I knit, watched, knit, worried, knit, listened, knit, and knit.

    Celiac disease, a life-threatening form of gluten intolerance, turned out to be the source of the blood loss. We were sent home after two and a half days, and two and a half socks. I threw out almost everything in our kitchen and wound another ball. I thanked everything I could think of for my wife’s recovery, my friends, and my knitting.

    Now I’m kind of afraid not to have something in my purse, just in case…

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