I've always been rubbish at sewing and knitting. As in really, really bad, totally dreadful, worst in the class. I think that I'm missing that gene- my Granny could 'run up ' a pair of curtains in an afternoon and always had her bag of knitting at hand. I think she despaired of me, and, on reflection, it's really quite possible she quietly blamed my mum who isn't exactly gifted in that area herself.
My first memories of struggling were aged about eight or nine in primary school. Last thing on Thursday afternoons, the boys did football - we could see them playing outside in the playground-whilst we learned how to knit. (Clearly it was important to get those gender roles entrenched good and early!)
We'd done the whole 'in the wee bunny hole, round the big tree...' thing for a good bit, and while I'd noticed that my knitting was a bit straggly and grubby looking compared to the perfect neat rows around me, it was only when the others graduated to gloves (using plain AND purl stitch in multicoloured wools), and I was instructed to make a plain stitch sorry looking teddy bear with a square head, that I realized I was 'special'. Luckily for me, my mate Aislinn was a knitting prodigy, and she patiently picked up my dropped stitches, showing me how to 'cast on' when the teacher turned her back.
Things didn't improve in Home Economics class in secondary school. Rows of my untidy sewing had to be ripped out over and over, and once after an entire afternoon working on my 'dress' ( a shapeless blue bag with a hole for the head, I stood up to go and realized I'd sewed the stupid thing to my school skirt.
The following year brought the thrill of making a babydoll nightie with matching knickers, (Inappropriate, anyone?), but unfortunately the knicker elastic was so tight, that the one time I wore it my legs gradually turned purple as they cut the circulation off.
Sewing machines were hellish too- I just couldn't seem to work out the complexities of threading it, or the bobbin's purpose, and yet again friends stepped in to help when the HE teacher turned her back. I remember one time she stubbornly refused to disappear into the sewing room for a sneaky fag, so in desperation I had to thread it myself, but when I eventually put my foot on the accelerator, ( or whatever it's called). amidst all the gentle whirring around me, my machine up started up like a tractor. Unsurprisingly, after that little episode, she lost it a bit and told me I was senile.
Needless to say, I dropped the hideous subject as soon as I could, and apart from the unavoidable necessities of replacing buttons and hemming school trousers, I haven't lifted a needle of any type since......until now. It's taken me almost 30 years but my scars have healed and I think I'm ready to dip my toe in again. Several friends have often told me how relaxing knitting is, others swear by it as a weight loss aid (apparently it keeps greedy hands out of the biscuit barrel!), and then when I read that Julia Roberts whips out her knitting between film takes I thought, 'well, if its good enough for Erin Brockovitch, its good enough for me!'
So I did a bit of searching online and found me a starter kit by Cath Kidston. Check it out, laydees- never mind the gorgeous wool inside- I fell in love with the 'fake book' tin! No manky old plastic bags down the back of the sofa for my knitting, thanks very much! And mark my words, before 2013 is out yours truly will not only be *ambistitcherous*, but I'll also be sporting my very own Cath Kidson scarf! (Yes, I know it's ages but I'm giving myself PLENTY of time!)
I've joined up with Sarah Miles at Hello Wall today-go on over and take a peek at the rest!