During the week my husband was putting some clothes away in the girls cupboard and pulled out the big bag of stuffed toys from my childhood. M.I.A asked her father what was in the bag and apparently had a look because the next thing I knew she came out into the lounge room with this:
Wonky is not a toy from my childhood, rather he’s the finished object of how I taught myself to knit. Yes, you read right, I taught myself to knit by knitting a bright yellow, acrylic toy bear. I was watching my great aunt and her daughter in law (also my cousin – don’t ask) knit baby items for my cousin’s first baby and thought to myself “Hey, I can do that”. I started looking through their pattern books and decided that I didn’t want to knit clothes just toys. The toys were cute, the clothes old and outdated. Plus toys were relatively quick and easy and could be given away as presents. So off I took myself to BigW and bought my supplies. If I remember correctly (it was over a decade ago) I had such a bee in my bonnet that I got on the train the day I decided I wanted to learn how to knit and took myself straight to the shopping centre (we lived close to the train station). I was fairly single minded about it – obviously. I got a toy book (possibly from Lincraft) and everything else I needed and went back home. With instructions from my mother’s old Reading Digest book, stuff I found on the internet and the instructions in the toy book I taught myself to knit. I’m not sure how long it took me to knit Wonky but I do remember the injuries. I was knitting at such a tight gauge with acrylic yarn that wouldn’t slide up and down the needles, I had large calluses on the inside of my middle and pointer fingers. I think I even managed to break the skin on my left pointer finger. And I broke needles, I remember one snapping in half in the middle of a row. In hindsight, I’m actually really surprised that I persevered, not just with Wonky but with knitting in general.
Recently I’ve been told that I’m an over achiever, but I don’t think so. Insane definitely. I rarely do things by halves, I’ll jump in both feet first without stopping to test the depth or the temperature and it does get me into trouble, like when I decided I needed to learn how to sew so I went out and bought a brand spanking new (rather expensive) sewing machine. I’m not sure why I do that. I think my parents instilled in me this sense of being able to get something right the first time without bothering to read the instructions. The first cross stitch I did was a mess! I tried to stitch it with all 6 strands of embroidery floss and all my crosses went in different directions. It was only because a friend of the family pointed out, rather gently, that I was doing it incorrectly that I took the time to read the instructions. Yes I will blame my parents for this inability, I don’t remember them teaching me anything besides how to tie my shoes and that was done in one afternoon. There was always an expectation from them that I knew how to do whatever it was I was supposed to do. I remember my father forever tinkering with appliances, cars, lawn mowers, anything that he thought needed tinkering with and he didn’t know what he was doing. Not entirely. As for my mother, well, she didn’t have the patience or really the time. I do remember her trying to teach me to knit once, when I was in my early teens, but it wasn’t long before she was cranky with me and declaring that maybe we could find someone to teach me how to knit left handed (I taught myself how to knit right handed).
Anyway, I persevered with knitting and I’m so glad I did. Eventually I started knitting clothes, after finding some cool patterns that didn’t remind me of old people. I’ve had plenty of failures along the way, the cardi that I knitted extra long arms on (intentionally, because I am long limbed) but then the body was too short. Or the pattern for a cabled jumper that I got out of an UK mag – the LYS didn’t stock the yarn used but the lady assured me that I’d get the same results from a totally different brand (I think she based her yarn suggestion on recommended needle size, I obviously had no idea). Little did I know that cables would draw in the project, like ribbing, nor did I know anything about blocking. When the project was finished, it was too short in the arms, I could barely get my head through the neck hole, and once it was finally on I found it hard to breathe (and I’m skinny!). But for all the failures there have been a lot more successes (generally more recently) and I’ve learnt a lot along the way.
Marin is still in progress, I’m through 3 and a half of the scalloped edging repeats and I’ve started the decreases at the other end. I’ve made some silly mistakes so have had to rip it back a few times. I am keen to finish it so I can send it off to my friend who has had even more bad news lately. I also started Kai-Mei (which isn’t linked because I haven’t started the project page for it on rav yet), simply because it’s an easy project to work on when the girls have ballet – no charts, no cables, no lace, just straight ribbing, at least for the leg. I was using my teeny tiny Hiya Hiya but purling on that needle is causing pain through the back of my hand up into the top of my arm. Mr HKWT is scared that I’m going to get RSI from knitting and has been asking me to take a break, but I’m pretty sure it’s just purling on that needle that’s causing the issue. So I’m going to have to swap over to magic loop and I’ll cross my fingers that it’s just that particular needle that is the root of the problem.
My little G has had his first haircut. We got a certificate from the hairdressers with one of his curls attached to it. It’s such a sweet little keepsake, and the hairdresser was so lovely, she said that I could take in the clippings from my other kids first haircut and she’ll do certificates for them too. I definitely miss the unruly curls but now it’s not just a mass of hair and teeth when I look at my gorgeous boy. I can see his beautiful brown eyes and with eyes like that, who wouldn’t want to show them off.
Until next week, take care people.