The Story Behind Wool and Knitting

Knitting,yarn,wool and spinning equipment

This is my short story about how the Wool and Knitting blog posts came about.

I don’t think I was much older than 6 years of age when I asked my mom to show me how to knit.  It was a struggle for both of us, but I soon got the hang of it and was on my way.  She showed me how to cast on, do a satin and purl stitch and how to cast off.  All the beginner really needs to master.
There was no internet.  Learning something new required buying a magazine and following the instructional pictures in the back.  Yarn for the most part was purchased at a department store.  Your choices were, acrylic in a small or large ball.  If you were lucky a neighbour had a mail order catalogue.  Oh goodness possibilities!  This is likely how my mom discovered the Mary Maxim catalogue which was full of patterns, yarn and kits.

I remember pouring over the catalogue in awe of the colorwork sweaters.  I clearly remember mom saying “If you want to do that, you are on your own!”  Now stubborn is a family trait, so I set out to learn on my own.  I must admit at first it was very frustrating.  If your tension was not even the design was lost.  At the end of each row I would have yards of barber polled yarn to untangle.  I persevered and figured it out.

One year at Christmas my mom made my five siblings sweaters.  I however received a kit.  My reaction was one of “Hey what gives here?”  Her response was “You can knit with colours and I cannot and I really like this sweater”.   The good news  was I had a craft project for the holiday school break.  A sweater I still have.

Colour work loom sweater
First Colour Work Project

Once my siblings began families of their own, I was thrilled to have another excuse to knit.  Bunting bags and sweaters came off the needles with each new arrival.

I’m not sure when but once I graduated university, was working full time and had become a homeowner with my husband the needles never seemed to come out anymore.  When the arrival of great nieces and nephews began, I knew I wanted to get back into knitting.

The first thing I needed to figure out was where had all the patterns gone during my hiatus?  And what are people talking about, make your own pattern?  Who are these people?  I’ve never heard such madness (we’ll come back to this craziness). This was about the time I had discovered Pinterest.  Yep this was wonderful! I found some very cute stuffed animal patterns, and so began the critter workshop.

Knit stuffed animals
Stuffed Animals for Little Ones

A short time later my husband mentioned that our nieces and nephews without children were being left out.  He was so right.  This was about the time I had found some wonderful colour work mittens patterns.  Perfect!  We live in Canada; mittens are a must.

One thing typical of me, is my jumping into a large project.  This was no different.  I wanted each member of my family to receive a pair of mittens and I wanted them to be unique.  Oh boy!  I had neglected to count how many pairs of mittens that would be.  I had already started and was convinced I would run out of designs.  This is when I found Ravelry.  Oh my, where have you been all my life!  I was not going to have an issue finding enough designs to complete all 34 pairs.

Colour work knit mittens
Mittens for Family

My hiatus from knitting was over and I have a stash of yarn to prove it.  I discovered patterns now have charts and symbols which I was not a fan of initially.  Now if a pattern does not have a chart I’m grumbling “Where’s the chart?”

I could not drive past a yarn store without my car naturally pulling in.  It was on one of these occasions I found wool roving on the shelf. Asking the shop owner what it was for, she showed me a drop spindle and how it worked.  I smiled and said “Sold”.  I came home with a new endeavor.

This later led to a conversation with my husband explaining my need for a spinning wheel.  Once I had acquired a spinning wheel, my quest for fleece began. You see how this snow balls right?

I live in a smaller community, with no guilds, or stores carrying wool processing equipment or to explain how to use them.  I figured out how to go from raw fleece to a finished project.  I found this extremely rewarding. I even built some of my own equipment.

Ashford spinning wheel
My First Spinning Wheel

Remember when I said creating a pattern was crazy?  Well it turns out a knitting pattern is a long math problem.  Math is good for the brain (which makes me think knitting is very healthy). I knitted a swatch counted stitches and rows and calculated a plain raglan sleeved sweater pattern.  Hey if I can figure this out, so can you!

From raw wool, to spinning yarn, knitting and pattern design,  I want to share what I have learned.  My goal is to provide a place for beginners to explore, learn and create with me in Wool and Knitting

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