30 Day Knitting Challenge Day 4: How did you learn how to knit?
My Mom taught me how to crochet and knit when I was 6 or 7. She’s a seamstress (retired) and took on all sorts of sewing projects for her customers, mainly alterations & repairs but also creating garments from patterns, drapery, and upholstery/reupholstery. My grandmother & great grandmother (& so on, up the line) were seamstresses as well, so they passed things down to my mom. She had an old square honey jar on her desk behind her sewing machine that held her pinking shears, my great grandmother’s collection of hat pins, which I loved to take out and twirl, and size 15/10mm plastic straight knitting needles (white with baby blue end caps) that I desperately wanted to knit with.
Mom taught me to crochet first, I think because it’s an easier way to learn how to keep yarn under tension and you only have to manage that plus one tool, whereas with knitting you’ve got to manage two needles and the yarn. So I learned crochet first and still desperately wanted to knit with those big plastic needles, but when it came time to knit, she wouldn’t let me start with those because they’d be too big for me to manage. I’d heard that line many times before – my family nickname is Midge or Smidge and I’ve always been the smallest both by birth order and size – and so I just sucked it up and learned on the smaller needles. I’m guessing they were US 7 or 8 (4.5 or 5mm). When I did get proficient enough to use those big needles (i.e., my second project: I don’t have a lot of patience for waiting to try things), I discovered quickly that she was right, they were too big for me to manage. As I recall, I was also knitting much to tightly in a misguided effort to tension the yarn (I think a lot of beginners do this) and was trying to make the fabric feel more like crochet. I didn’t use size 15 needles again until 2003 or 2004.