Following the first blog post on the ‘Love your Blog’ Challenge, I would like to thank you all who stopped by, and a huge thank you to those who left a comment, or subscribed.
The second theme for the Playful Day ‘Love your Blog’ Challenge has been revealed earlier last week (‘Beginnings’), and I’ve been pondering what to write for days. This post was all written in my head on Friday, with the outline jotted down on good ol’ paper, but I struggled to write it down on the computer for some reason. Maybe because it is this time of the year that is very sad, and marks that another year has passed since my Little Star was born. Maybe also because it was my granny’s birthday, and I miss her too.
It may not be the most cheerful post, so if you feel down, you may prefer to read Janice’s post from a few days ago on DIY and knitting if you haven’t already. That one has inspiring picture pictures, and happiness thrown in.
Like many knitters, I owe my first contact with yarn and needles to my grand-mother. She would cast on twenty stitches or so, knit a few rows in garter stitch, show me once again how to work the knit stitch, and let me have a play for a few minutes while she knits a few rows on her project. At the time (I was 7-8 maybe), she was not knitting much, and I only remember of one project: something (a small jumper?) in light blue yarn. I remember I tried knitting on these few stitches a handful times at most. I had the great plan of making a scarf for my teddy. Poor teddy never received it.
Fast forward 10 years, and my grandparents passed away a few weeks from each other. When it was time to empty their house, mum asked me what I would like to keep from granny. I replied: the sewing box, and the sewing machine. Now and again, I would help her carry the (very heavy) sewing machine from the cupboard in the hallway, and bring it to the kitchen where she would sew something, usually per my request. Last thing I remember was when she helped me sew together a canopy and bed sheet for the doll rocking bed I engineered for my little sister. I did the woodwork, painting, etc. Granny helped me with the ‘soft furnishing’: pillow, mattress, sheet and canopy. Anyway, the knitting needles and yarn (which all fitted in one tall round box) were donated (I suppose), as we knew no one who knitted anymore.
Fast forward another few years, and I settled in Scotland with The Man, who had already moved there several months before. I was supposed to just stay a few weeks before heading to Dublin for a PhD. I was tired of the unsettled student life, and decided to quit the fully funded PhD and my chances to dive in the exciting world of epigenetics. And I started to search for a job, in a city that had nothing to offer in the field of bioinformatics. The Man was working a lot. We had no Internet, no phone, no TV in the flat. So when the Internet cafe was shut, I would still spend many hours alone at home before The Man would be back from work. So I was baking. We both love food and hand-bakes, so I baked. A few days (weeks?) passed of me searching for a job during daytime, and cooking and baking afterwards…
And one day, I realised that there was no way The Man and I would eat the 75 muffins I had baked the day before. And we knew no one in the city yet. Really, for our own good, I had better find another hobby… The next morning, I woke up with the feeling of a motion that my hands and arms were doing. It took me a few minutes to understand that this motion was that of me mimicking the ‘needle in, yarn round, bring the stitch out’ motion. It was like a shock: I remembered how to do the knit stitch.
That day, I went to the only bookstore I knew of, discovered their craft section, and bought my first knitting book: The Knitter’s Bible by Claire Crompton. I also bought three balls of yarn (I knew nothing about yarn, so yes, it was acrylic) and needles to knit my sister a striped scarf. The book had clear illustrations which helped me figure out how to cast on and purl. And it all started from there. The scarf looked like a scarf, but I wouldn’t be offended if my sister never wore it.
Speaking about cast on… Have you ever noticed that, when teaching someone to knit, it is quite common that one would cast on and knit a few rows for the ‘apprentice’ to directly start with the knitting. Basically, we often don’t start with the beginning: casting on.
I wanted to tell you about cast on, but it is bringing me tears. So we will stop for now. One day maybe, I will tell you about the only time I twisted the cast on when joining in the round. It was for a blanket. A very special one. If I believed in some sort of voodoo, I would question whether failing the cast on had cast a bad spell on the recipient… Yes, better stop now.
Before I go, I thought I’d give you a little update on the fundraising for SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society), a charity which provides support for bereaved families after the loss of their baby. For every purchase of Remember the Daffodils, or Petit Prince and Little Star socks, and for every purchase of the Castle Fraser eBook (from the moment Remember the Daffodils was published), I donate £1.00 to SANDS Aberdeen. I make the donation at the end of April. Last year, I donated £50.00 on behalf of knitters all over the world.
At this point, I have collected £13.00 to donate for this year (from May 2014 to now). If you are interested in any of these designs, to purchase for yourself, or as a gift, please consider making a purchase. From today until the end of the month, I will donate £2.00 for every copy bought or bought as a gift. Thank you.
Aurelie / spinnygonzalez