Sunday, May 01, 2011

It's My Birthday--(again)

And there have been a lot of again's—years and years of them!

Last October I noted I was closing in on 50 years of knitting.

My birthday marks that especially. One birthday gift—50 years ago—was a partial roll of coins—8 shiny new quarters from my fathers much older brother—Uncle Andy. He worked at the Chase Manhattan bank and we (me and siblings) always got money as a present. It was always special money—a $2 bill, or a mini roll of quarters, or something.

I took my new found fortune to my LYS--Goldman Yarns (now defunct) then on the Grand Concourse (Bronx 10458) and invested in my first knitting tools-- A set of DPN's (size 3) and two small balls of fingering yarn (from the clearance basket) one a light blue—one a light pink (white was the other choice)--I planned my purchases well (I had a few cents of change left to spend on candy—most candy bars (Snicker, Milky Way and the like), were 5¢ then—and 15¢ was a generous amount of money to spend on candy! 2 sweet delights—knitting and candy from $2!

Then I taught my self to knit on DPN's. I had seen it done. My mother didn't often knit in the round—and when she did, she had some circ's to work with but there were other knitters in my life (and in the neighborhood) and I had seen people knit with DPN's -- and seeing that others could do it was enough for me.

Like most knitters I struggled. My join was a jump—and the knitting had a ladder that tapered up to round 3 or 4.

Next try? I had a twist--(and still had a jump—but a smaller one)

Again? Better. Again, and again, and again. Eventually—I got it! But even 50 years later, I can remember the not so neat cast on edge, and gap in the join--(no ladder though!)

Along the way, I was learning to manage the dpn's in hand—these were lovely anodized aluminum ones—colorful—but slick. And the wool –it was wool—which then, in the infancy of synthetics was cheaper choice—was fine (fingering/baby weight) I didn't know of any other needles than aluminum ones-- I am sure that they existed-- but not in my world.

Next lesson (after successfully casting on,and joining into an untwisted round) was twisted stitches.

I was (still am for the most part) a combo knitter—and quickly it became apparent—my stitches were twisted and biased. My normal process of knitting into the back (but leading edge) of the loop didn't work anymore. It was start again time.

The poor wool was looking pretty shopworn by then. I cut it, and started again, yards into the skein.
This 3rd (in reality more like the 13th!) time was the charm.

OK, so the cast on wasn't perfect, and the join wasn't as tight as I would have liked, but finally I was doing it—knitting smoothly, in the round, with no twisted stitches.

And an inch or so into my little tube? Color work!

It was a little tube—I don't remember how many stitches I cast on, or my gauge (I never checked it) It was slightly too big for a sock or glove (not that I thought to knit a sock or glove) –it became--as it evolved-- a dolls skirt--for a Shirley Temple doll—an 18 inch doll—very similar to today's American girl dolls. A skirt with a bib top (a pinafore) So it was likely 10 to 12 inches around—bigger than a sock—but not much.

The color work was pretty simple—what I would call today a perie—and while, well done—(no puckering) I hadn't thought of repeats (or stitch counts) when I started—so there was a definite 'back seam'—where the pattern jogged, (some thing I still don't mind) –but also failed--I didn't have enough stitches for a full repeat of the pattern.

It had taken me so many tries to get the join, and the basic knitting done—there was no way I was going to rip the work out and start yet again! It would be the back seam, and my doll wouldn't care.

I can remember some other projects (and unfinished projects)--most didn't amount to much till I was in my teens (my first pair of sock—also a fail!)

A really collection of presentable finished objects didn't start till almost 10 years later, when I was in my very early 20's. But that still leaves a long history of knitting—with beginnings that I can trace to a birthday! Naturally, I am going to spend today knitting!

PS—Sock finished last night—before 10PM—photo's tomorrow.


Word Lily said...

Happy birthday! Love that knitting history.

gayle said...

Happy birthday!
I'm closing in on that magic number, too. I learned to knit the first time at age 6, but lost it, so I can't count that. The second time was age 9, and that one stuck. This year will mark 49 years of knitting...
And always something new to learn!

Sonya Philip said...

Happy, Happy Birthday to you!

zippiknits.....sometimes said...

Happy Birthday! I hope that it was lovely, full of your favorite things, and since it's only 10:30 here, technically your birthday is still raging in California. Yay!