Here's the first thing I knitted after reintroducing myself to needles and yarn: a little sweater for baby-Otto. This was almost exactly 11.5 years ago.
I was an artistic and crafty child. I preferred sitting still with a coloring book or glue and glitter to running around. I liked quiet time, water colors and reading books, and I could sit for hours in total silence with my My Little Ponies and just organize and decorate their home; I preferred preparing the play to actually playing it. I loved legos, clay, stickers, paintbrushes, crayons, pearls and just about anything you could either draw with or on or use for any other crafts.
I didn’t like team sports or ball games, and when I was told to play outside I was mostly just fascinated with leaves, flowers and other plant parts (especially acorns), bugs, shells and colorful or shimmering rocks. My mother says I always had my pockets filled with my “treasures” which often ended with my clothes to the washing machine (rocks, however pretty, are not a good thing to have in your washer, as you might suspect).
Art and biology were my favorite classes at school. I hated P. E. and textile studies: P. E. because I didn’t like sports (I liked dancing but all we did was play ball games, and I’ve never been much of a team player) and textile work, because sewing with patterns felt really restrictive to me when all I wanted was to get inspired and create. Another reason I hated the textile work classes was the fact that I felt I was forced to do it when I would have wanted to take the wood working classes instead. When I was a child our school was still so old-fashioned that all the girls had to learn textile work and the boys wood working, and it was unheard of the a girl could have attended the boys’ class or vice versa.
So I had an attitude problem towards learning to knit, sew or crochet (although crochet was the only thing I liked and actually learned. Funnily it's the one I'm worst at nowadays.) In the 5th grade we were supposed to knit mittens and 6th grade woolen socks. My gauge for the mittens was so tight it literally hurt to knit and I can remember the yarn creaking against the needles. The mittens were way too small for me so I gave them to my little sister, who (as far as I know) never used them as they were ugly and uncomfortable. So when it was time to knit the socks I decided to knit very loosely but ended up dropping stitches because my stitches were so big and loose that they couldn’t hold the needles, and the needles would just slide through them and drop on the floor. The socks had holes in them even when they were brand new. They were too big for me and I gave them to my dad, who bravely used them to please me even though they were ugly as well. I decided I was done and would never knit anything again.
I kept that promise for almost 10 years. The reintroduction with yarn and needles came when I started to study to become a furniture conservator. With a class full of crafty people I was too ashamed to admit that I could neither sew nor knit. Making handicrafts was encouraged in our uni and I jealously watched while the other students knitted amazing scarfs and mittens during the lectures while all I did was trying to stay awake.
My great-aunt had once given me an old book, maybe from the 1940’s or the beginning of the 1950’s which was called Tyttöjen Käsityöt, which translates to Girls’ Handiwork. She gave me the book so I would learn to repair my clothes: to sew a button or darn a sock, but it also had really good instructions on how to knit. I secretly started to teach myself alone at home to learn the basics of knitting and when I was confident enough I brought my needles and yarn to school and acted as it was the most natural thing in the world. Slowly the knitter inside me was brought to life and it started to take a bigger and bigger role in my life.
My first finished objects were quite hideous, but I proudly used them anyway. At first I found it hard to find modern patterns and tried to design my own, but it was quite hard as I hadn’t really learned the basic skills of knitting - for example a yoke or buttonholes. Then I stumbled upon Garnstudio and Drops Design on the internet and found a lot of free patterns that I liked, so I started knitting them, although often modifying the original designs. The biggest break in my knitting was in 2011 when I found Ravelry through Pinterest. I could probably say that was when I really became a Knitter.
Now days, I could spend all my free time knitting. I sometimes daydream quitting my job so I could concentrate all my effort and energy with my knit work. I do love my day job as a furniture conservator but I love knitting more. I love planning new things to knit, spending time on Ravelry looking what others have created, choosing yarns and color combinations, casting on new projects and binding off finished ones. I hate seaming and weaving in yarn ends, but that’s part of the job and if that’s the only downside I’m happy to live with it (although I have playfully tried to lure my husband to learn to do it for me. He already winds my balls of yarns from hank-shape skeins, so I don’t want to pressure him too much.)
P.S. I’m still not much of a seamstress and can only crochet a simple edging or a flower, but I would like to learn those skills as well.