Sunday, September 04, 2005

beginnings and the 3rd age

Kaffe Fassett's cones.

photo by Puplet*

When I was about 15, I taught myself to knit. I don't know why, as no-one I knew knitted, or did any kind of crafting. I don't make cards, hate sewing, and would be dangerous let anywhere near hot wax. All in all, I'm pretty much cack-handed - but I have become very good at avoiding dropped knives, and have yet to spear my foot.

But, when I was a teenager, I picked up a pretty basic how-to knit book (long lost, never mourned), bought some cheap yarn, cheap needles, and cast on. I didn't make much that first time around, but I do remember an aran hat, which must have been okay, as it was stolen by a family friend. The age of cables and bobbles. And then I stopped.

In my second age of knitting, in my twenties, I discovered Rowan, and Kaffe Fassett. And still not knowing any other knitters, and not knowing any better, one of the first things I decided to make was the waistcoat shown above. The seams are horrible, I didn't believe in blocking (then), none of the ends were woven in (well, who sees the inside), the buttons don't match each other, and are too big for the buttonholes, but I wore it for years. The age of Fair Isle and intarsia. And then I stopped.

Recently, I started on my third age of knitting (yes, in my 30s), inspired by the internet. And so far, this age is one of colour (aren't variegated yarns wonderful) and texture (deliberate holes, aka lace) and comfort (can you beat home-made socks?). And I am consuming with a passion - consuming techniques, patterns, ideas, consuming needles, blogs, forums, and, of course, consuming yarn. I've joined groups, both real and virtual, I've made a stash, I've even encouraged others to learn. I've made gloves and socks, felted and fulled, I've made things for friends, and made them wear them. I've even been brave enough to go 'off-pattern'.

But I wonder, will this age last? So I dug out my oldest existing knitted item (which isn't too bad for a beginner), and realised that I've never stopped knitting, even when I wasn't, because I realised that I liked knitting, even when I wasn't.

So maybe, just maybe, I'm always working on my thesis, and maybe, just maybe, I do still like work.

* Many, many thanks to Puplet for his sterling efforts behind the camera. Apparently, photographing yarn is a great challenge, involving many, many calculations, and providing hours of fun on a dull Sunday afternoon.