Tuesday, 14 November 2017

A whole lot of wool

When I was 13 I got my first knitting machine. It was a second hand Knitmaster 321 and it was my main Christmas present that year.

I had wanted a new one but my mam refused saying she thought my wanting a knitting machine was a whim and it would just end up in a cupboard a few months after Christmas.

The following Christmas Santa brought me a ribber attachment for my machine. So much for it being a whim !!!! 

I bought my second knitting machine when I started my first job. It was a Brother electronic K950 (later upgraded to a K950i). My niece, who has just been born, ended up with a superb wardrobe of lace knitted baby clothes as a result.

Not content with two machines I also bought a Bond so I could knit with double knit and chunky wool.

I spent many happy years making lots of jumpers for myself, family and friends. I used to beg my sister and brother-in-law not to wear any of my jumpers to work as their colleagues would always want me to make them one.

I had seriously thought about setting up my own knitting business but back then (late 80's), it wasn't as easy as it is now.

I continued to knit for a few years after I got married but as I began to spend more time improving my dressmaking skills, the knitting took a back seat. My workroom isn’t very big and I needed more space for my sewing things, plus I wanted a desktop computer, so I had to make the tough decision to pack away my three knitting machines and put them into the loft.

Although I wasn’t going to use them anymore there was no way I could get rid of them. I think I was hoping that one day we’d move into a bigger house and I’d have room to put them back up again – well we can always dream !!!!

I’d used up a lot of the wool by making knitted toys and dolls for various charity raffle prizes but still had a large box of odds and ends which I wanted rid of.

My mam suggested I crochet a blanket. Who’s she kidding…? Hand knitting, no problem. The harder and complicated, the better. Crocheting, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. Although the principle of crocheting is basically making a chain, I may as well be trying to master Quantum Physics !!!!!! 

I do, however, like a challenge so armed with the ‘how to crochet’ pages from one of my needlework book, some wool and a crochet hook borrowed from my mam, I started practicing doing some granny squares.

Although the squares weren’t perfect I felt ready enough to tackle the blanket. I worked out that I would need 64 granny squares to complete it. No pressure there then.

Several months later the blanket was finished.

There was still enough wool left to make another blanket so this time instead of making 64 granny squares, I’d made one big one. Rather than have several rows of one particular colour throughout the blanket, I made my own multicoloured balls by winding random bits of wool onto them. 

I started making it in the summer so by the time the cold weather came (well, colder than our summer weather anyway…..) the blanket was big enough to keep my legs warm. 

I did hit one snag when I was making it. I dropped my mam’s crochet hook down the side of the sofa -  never to be seen again. A quick phone call to my mam to see if she could remember what number the crochet hook was (number eight apparently), then straight onto eBay to buy a replacement.

I do miss knitting, especially when I'm in need of a new jumper as I could have one completed in a couple of hours. Should I be in a position to have a large work room then they will most definitely make a reappearance.

Gertie xx

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