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customyarns
Chatty Knitter

USA
128 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  2:46:49 PM  Show Profile  Visit customyarns's Homepage Send customyarns a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I can't remember when yarns and knitting weren't a part of my life and tried to think who was it who taught me to knit. I honestly can't remember, but I'm pretty sure it was my mother.

I find that newer knitters today learn from friends, knitting groups, online and on YouTube. Newer knitters want quick projects like socks and scarves. My contemporaries knitted sweaters, but I find if someone is knitting a sweater today it is for a baby.

When I first learned the yarn everyone used was a DK navy blue wool. How far the industry has come....... Now Great Adirondack, Berroco, Trendsetter, etc. produce the most unbelievable yarns in fibers such as alpaca, mohair, cashmere, ribbon, merino and cotton.

Who could have predicted that sequins, beads and something called eyelash would one day be a component with yarn? Who would know when I learned to knit that there are more stitches than just garter and stockinette? What would my mom say about freeform knitting? I think she'd be amazed!

Mirror, mirror on the wall I am my mother after all!

So, I'm curious to know - who taught you to knit and how have things changed ?

Linda Ostroff
Custom Yarns By Linda
www.customyarns.com
800-853-1338

Linda Ostroff

Ditzy Girl
Permanent Resident

USA
4723 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  4:21:15 PM  Show Profile Send Ditzy Girl a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Like you I have been knit/crochet so long I don't remember who taught me. I don't think it was my mom although she did knit.
I remember going to the Drug Store and buying the Red Heart for 10 for $1.00. Peaches and Cream about the same. I mostly did dishcloths and sweaters. We did have a lys in West Seattle where I grew up and I spent a lot of time there. I would stopped off after school. I have been trying to remember for a while now and simply can't. I just have always knit and or crochet. My knitting is better than my crocheting.

Zola, Seattle, Wash.

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beedee
Seriously Hooked

USA
705 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  4:30:40 PM  Show Profile Send beedee a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I learned from my dad. He learned from his dad. It was so basic a lesson that I didn't learn to purl until my 20th birthday. My grandfather learned to knit during WWI. Apparently it was a requirement for the enlisted men to know how to knit socks and KITCHENER stitch the toes. My father learned so that he could help his mother keep his siblings and himself in socks. He also learned to darn socks, which skill he also passed on to me.
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knittingrunner
Seriously Hooked

USA
799 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  6:52:19 PM  Show Profile Send knittingrunner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mother taught me to knit when I was 12 (1983). I remember suffering over a bright orange scarf 12 stitches across as we flew to visit my brother-in-law's parents in England. The scarf was for my E.T. doll. It got finished and he wore it.
Guess it took until sometime in college for me to pick up needles again and started on cotton dishcloths.
Tried something more complicated with Maggie Righetti in '94 or so.
Really wasn't until late '01/early '02 that I started knitting in my own right, determined to learn something new when work was slow. Learned to use dps and knit a pair of mittens.
That was the beginning of my stash and many adventures in knitting.

Edited to add:
This is a gret topic and it is nice to hear the stories from fellow KR folks.

Also I don't know where I get my stash tendency, it is a variant on a gene that both my mother and sister seem to lack. They are also completion knitters whereas I'm all process!
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Sticks and String
Permanent Resident

USA
1113 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  7:34:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sticks and String's Homepage Send Sticks and String a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mother taught me to knit when I was 7. A boyfriend's mother taught me to crochet when I was about 18. My first knit project was a yellow blanket for a stuffed cat I had knit in garter stitch on really looooong, straight metal needles. It had lovely "design features" otherwise known as holes. I learned to cast on, knit garter stitch and bind off. After this fabulousity I learned to purl and then I was pretty much on my own. My mother actually purled backwards/upside down and it was years before I realized that I had to relearn purling because I was doing Fair Isle and the "wrong" purl stitch made the patterns look wonky.

The first crochet project was a throw worked in single, double and treble crochet panels in shades of blue that I then had to sew together which once again reinforced the knowledge that I hate to sew. The BF loved it though.

What has changed in 40+ years? Why, everything except the stitches! I still need to learn to darn socks...

Jo
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hillstreetmama
Permanent Resident

USA
3448 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  7:51:07 PM  Show Profile Send hillstreetmama a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mom showed me the knit stitch in about 5th grade. She learned in high school when a group of her friends went to the Miller & Paine department store in downtown Lincoln for free lessons. I didn't learn to do anything more than the knit stitch till the year I was married. I've told the story before of how I thought I signed up for a class on sewing with knits....I was too embarrassed to leave, so I bought yarn and needles and learned. That was 1976.

Jan
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Audi
Chatty Knitter

106 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  8:34:47 PM  Show Profile Send Audi a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I learned to cast on years and years ago, but never learned anything after that. It wasn't until I read Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossom Street that I decided I wanted to learn to knit, and since I didn't know any knitters I went to Walmart and picked up the "I tought myself to knit" kit and started from there.

So basicly, everything I know I've learned by doing.

I've made several afghans, scarfs, hats, leg warmers, arm warmers, socks and I'm currently trying to exaust myself on dishcloths.

Audi
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Cheerleader9
Permanent Resident

USA
1563 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  8:37:34 PM  Show Profile Send Cheerleader9 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I learned as a child to crochet literally at the feet of my Mother and Grandmother. They never used a pattern but made bedspread, tablecloths and dollies galore. I can't remember them giving me any lessons nor actually putting the thread and hook in my hand. As a lefty I realize now I was learning with a mirror image. A very patient right handed knitter took me on with lessons as a young bride, made a few things but went back to crocheting until a year ago. In between the transition It was cross stitching, hardanger. I've dedicated myself to strictly knitting now, trying to tackle everything! Lots of inspiration and encouragement from KR. It's been quite an adventure!

[http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheerleader9/]
[http://www.ravelry.com/people/Cheerleader9]
Barb in AZ

Nothing ventured, Nothing gained.
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MindyO
Permanent Resident

USA
2493 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  9:00:54 PM  Show Profile Send MindyO a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My aunt taught me basic knit stitch when I was around 10. Mom had tried teaching me crochet, but she has no patience for me I remember it really didn't too long to learn basic knit and cast on. I really never did anything with it. Then when I was about 19 I was at walmart and thought I'd like to pick it up again. I knit the first 4" of a scarf for my cousin about 6 times. Each time with varying degrees of hole-iness and I finally gave up. I got pregnant in 2003, was at walmart again and had this nagging urge to buy yarn and crochet something. SO I did!
Then one of my friends lived with us around the time DD was born, she looked at some of my books and decided she wanted to learn to knit. I knew enough to teach her cast on and knit, together we figured out how to purl lol. So I tried again, more holes! So still new to the LYS scene I wandered into one and there was a really nice owner, we chatted, told her my problems, she recommended bamboo needles. I got them, and knitting for dummies, learned to fix things when I did make a mistake. And one day I had a weird hole that wasn't a dropped stitch. My aunt took it, dropped the stitch down to the hole, picked it back up and I was AMAZED! I didn't know you could do that! lol Well the rest is history.

How have things changed? Well no more holes for one! I didn't know there was anything but red heart type plasticy feeling yarn until a few years ago. and IMO knitted styles have come a long way since those horribly ugly sweaters mom used to knit for me.

My Flickr pics
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phlame
Permanent Resident

USA
1553 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  9:09:51 PM  Show Profile Send phlame a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I believe I learned in either Brownies, or Girl Scouts...and the next thing I remember knitting was a pair (one...) of argyle socks for my college boyfriend, later to be my husband.

Shirley Ryan, living in Dana Point, CA

...and dance like no one is watching!
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Sprouts
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  9:36:16 PM  Show Profile Send Sprouts a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Self-taught. Eventually I caught on.

As a newer knitter tho' doesn't mean I'm not interested in bigger projects, but the smaller hip projects are far less expensive, fun and are great for getting your feet wet.
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eepster
Seriously Hooked

USA
704 Posts

Posted - 05/29/2008 :  11:14:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit eepster's Homepage Send eepster a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My mom taught me around when I was 8. We got a ball of something acrylic (probably redheart) and a pair of needles from Woolworth and I knit a scarf for one of my stuffed animals. I knit great amounts acrylic of winter wear for my stuffed animals. I figured out tricks for shaping like short rows and ruffles pretty much intuitively, but no matter how many times I was shown I could not get purling.

By junior High I had discovered there were better yarns to be had from the not so local LYS which was a long walk or an expensive bus ride away. Around this time my grandmother arthritis made it impossible for her to continue churning out afghans, so she gave me her large collection of needles and such. In the collection were many old patterns and pamphlets and crochet hooks. From these pamphlets I learned crochet and tatting.

In GM collection there were also circular needles with braided steel cables. If your old enough then you know what I'm talking about, if you aren't old enough to know about these EZ describes them in Knitting Without Tears. Though my GM explained how to use them, "just pull out the extra cable out the sides," they were a major pain (quite literally sometimes,) so I did not really take to circular knitting.

By high school crochet and tatting started to fill more of my yarn work time. Between my inability to purl or read patterns, and my hating circular knitting b/c of the stiff scratchy steel cables, I found I really couldn't get too creative with knitting. At this point it was the 80's and the LYS finally gave up business too, so I didn't even have access to good yarns anymore.

Towards the end of my sophomore year in HS I transfered to a boarding school that was run by old hippies. I started to spend most of my yarn time crocheting crystal pouches and hackysacks, so I pretty much forgot about knitting.

It was much easier to find the embroidery flosses and basic cottons that were best suited for funky crochet, than to find good wool to knit anyway. So, by college I pretty much exclusively crocheted, with a bit of tatting thrown in. I loved crochet, I could see what was going on as I went in ways that one just can't when knitting is on the needles.

After college the economy was in the crapper so I kept my college job working in a fabric store for a few years and watched as the small yarn section collected dust and gradually was replaced with willow wreathes to decorate. Then that store closed and I got a job at a small craft/fabric chain (similar to Joannes, but with only about 20 locations. The yarn section was an uninspired collection of acrylics there too.

Since I could see no future in this job anyway, as soon as the dot-com boom hit I found a good fulltime job designing wedding invitations.

I spent years quietly crocheting along mostly at home with no I idea that yarn crafts had suddenly become hip again.

Then just a few years ago I got pregnant with DS. Since it was a problematic pregnancy I wasn't working and was spending a lot of time in OB and ultrasound waiting rooms. Needless to say I had little baby hats or blankets along to crochet. Many people would comment on what I was working on, which I had been used to in back in school, but unlike in college where it had vague curiosity these were women asking specific questions like "where did you get that pattern" or "what yarn is that." Since I was stuck on bedrest anyway I spent a lot of time online and discovered I was suddenly in the throws of a yarncraft renaissance!!!

After I had DS I suddenly felt a need to go back to knitting. Crocheted items just felt very girly to me and I had sort of accidentally picked up spinning while I was needle felting toys for DS. The internet had videos which opened knitting techniques, like continental, purling, and mirror knitting, that I was unable to learn either from my mom or books. I also discovered that cable on needles were no longer made of braided steel. All those years of crocheting combined with my sewing skills had given me an instinct about garment shaping that helped me work around my inability to read patterns, so I found I could just knit from my head the way I crocheted.

So there is my long long saga.


{o,o}
./)_)
.." "
Jen
http://www.buddhabellyart.com/
http://www.cafepress.com/buddhabellyart
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knittymommy
Warming Up

USA
94 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  04:25:05 AM  Show Profile Send knittymommy a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I learned to knit the first time from my dad when I was 9yo. Later, after my babies were moving around on their own, I dug my knitting back out, and my mom gave me a refresher course.

T.L.
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knitz2
Permanent Resident

USA
1800 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  06:12:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitz2's Homepage Send knitz2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
In the early 1960s I taught myself to knit from a book then when 4-H offered a knitting group I joined and the leader diagnosed and helped me correc the twisted stitches. Although I enjoyed knitting, it was an off and on process for me for many years then I got addicted in 2004 and began challenging myself.

My grandmother tried to teach me to crochet several times when I was between the ages of 6 and 10 but it didn't take. Then in my late 50s I got the desire to learn and was taught by a couple of friends -- guess they had to take turns with me to keep from screaming in frustration! I managed to learn the basic stitches and how to read a pattern. Then in the fall of 2007 I took a couple crochet classes from Marty Miller at CGOA in Oakland. These classes were a real confidence booster for me.

Keep knitting, this too shall pass.
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Mocha
Permanent Resident

Singapore
2903 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  06:16:54 AM  Show Profile Send Mocha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
TL, you learnt from your dad? Amazing!
I learnt basic crochet from mom and learnt knitting from LYS. Over the years I learnt more from the internet and this place is definitely an enabler.
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busygirl
Permanent Resident

New Zealand
1673 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  7:29:12 PM  Show Profile Send busygirl a Private Message  Reply with Quote

My mother taught me to knit when I was about 5 years old, and for a couple of years I could only do garter stitch,until my maternal grandmother showed me how to purl.
As for crochet, I bought an instruction booklet and taught myself.

Leslie

My Blog
http://au.360.yahoo.com/abreyleslie
My Pics
http://www.flickr.com/photos/busygirl/
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Sara Sue
Permanent Resident

USA
1089 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  9:43:35 PM  Show Profile Send Sara Sue a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a little girl - abt. 51 years ago. I retired in Sept. and I had always wanted to learn to knit. Another goal was to clean out closets and drawers and get my house organized like I'd always wanted it to be. Well, I learned to knit from books and dvds and have cleaned out two closets and 1 pantry. I probably would have gotten further along on the closets and drawers if I hadn't learned how to knit but it wouldn't have been as much fun.
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Sprouts
Warming Up

USA
57 Posts

Posted - 05/30/2008 :  9:48:22 PM  Show Profile Send Sprouts a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Sprouts

Self-taught. Eventually I caught on.

As a newer knitter tho' doesn't mean I'm not interested in bigger projects, but the smaller hip projects are far less expensive, fun and are great for getting your feet wet.



More to my story. I tried knitting because I was always ISO a hobby that would stick (and there are dozens of things i want to learn and do before this planet dispenses of me!!!), because I believe hobbies and creating things make you happy/fulfilled or just a reason for existence. It has cut into my other hobbies: TV (a bit), Internet, and reading which I certainly miss and politics. I'd tried many many needlecrafts, art, guitar (maybe bass), keys, some writing and none of them fit. But - as I am the only one in my family who does knit- I can show that off, even if I am overshadowed otherwise.

Thus, knitting came into my life after I saw that there were groups meeting who knit, and after I saw people knitting on TV shows or in movies. And then you see patterns or certain techniques or combinations that you find interesting and you're compelled to copy and to follow paths. I don't like everything about knitting, and certainly have favorite things to do. But it is also quite the release from whatever else I'm doing and it helps to take my frustrations out by knitting. Love the portable aspect of knitting, and the confidence booster you get by being able to actually make something.

Old school knitters (ie people who've been knitting for a long time) are a great resource and sometimes blow my mind because I'm still awkward at certain techniques.
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jeanhal
Warming Up

51 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2008 :  05:44:18 AM  Show Profile Send jeanhal a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My dear mother taught my sister & me to knit as young girls. Our first project was tiny "rugs" in garter stitch for our Barbie dolls. Before that our job was to "knit" the cords for the winter hats she made us - if we wanted a pom-pom off the top we needed to make an extra one - and I still have that spool knitter. Of all the things our mother tried to teach us (she was a home-ec teacher, chemist, worked for Clarence Birdseye-yes that Birdseye!) knitting is what my sister & I have both kept going. I do alot of other homey things- bake bread, can, keep bees, new is chickens, but knitting remains. Unfortunately, mom can no longer knit or sew as the macular degeneration and other health issues has taken it's toll on her 91+ year old body. Soon I will knit argyle socks in her honor as she always talks about how she knit them in the movies during WW2 - and I still have the beautiful rose colored cable sweater she knit for her sister before I came around 52+ years ago.
Best I can say is I highly encouraged a friend to learn to knit - and she loves it - talks about what did I do before I had knitting?
Thanks for the memories.
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Mean Mama
Permanent Resident

USA
1138 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2008 :  08:46:22 AM  Show Profile Send Mean Mama a Private Message  Reply with Quote
THe winter of 1958 was extra cold and snowy, and we fidgety third graders were kept inside for recess days on end. The nice teacher (a British woman) in the room next door taught a bunch of us how to knit. I thought the swishing sound of aluminum needles was the coolest thing ever!

-- Mean Mama

“Qui vit sans folie,
N’est pas si sage qu’il le croit.”
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Jaknit
Seriously Hooked

639 Posts

Posted - 05/31/2008 :  2:21:24 PM  Show Profile Send Jaknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My grandma taught me to knit when I was 8. I was off and knitting with mittens, a sweater, and then argyle socks for Dad. I was the only one to leave the family homestead and moved 3000 miles away. My mom saved me Grandma's steel cable needle, a 3.25mm/ US 3 needle, 29" long. Jen, you mentioned a braided cable. My steel cable is tightly coiled, not braided, and is imprinted with a "10" and "MADE IN ENGLAND" and a cat. no. It is a bit stiff and heavy, not as comfy as KP Options cable needles. The cat is intrigued by the springyness of it and tries to pick it up in her mouth!

Jan
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