In primary school, I was the girl who sewed her stitch sampler to her trousers, spending play time back in class as teacher unpicked it to release me from my chain stitch prison, while children more skillful with needle and thread played What's The Time Mr Wolf outside.
In secondary school, I was the girl struggling to complete the knitted clothes hanger cover when the rest of the class had graduated to jumpers, and still come end of term resorted to stretching an incomplete cover over the smallest hanger I could find in my wardrobe.
I have the blanket crocheted by my grandmother. I have the blanket crocheted by my mother. My childhood teddy bear wears a dress, duffel coat and scarf knitted by my grandmother. On my mantel piece sit an owl and a pig knitted by my mother.
Curtains, cushion covers, felt birds, all sewn by my mother, all part of what makes the cottages a family affair. So what happened? Did the knitting gene skip a generation? Is there no needle and thread in my blood? Unconvinced by my protestations of ineptitude, my mother spent an evening teaching me to crochet a granny square. A full size blanket was my goal, my third generation contribution to the family's woollen inheritance. 18 months and 13 squares later, I completed my sofa back cover and packed away the crochet needle.
Since then, I have had the pleasure and privilege of meeting (in life and online) a number of women who are skilled with needles of all shapes and sizes, and my social media news feeds showcase their creativity and inspire mine. Through these women I was invited to join a "Hook Up" at The Make It Shop in Chorlton as part of the Sixty Million Trebles record breaking blanket attempt to create the world's largest crochet blanket and, at the same time, create something that could be de-stitched into individual blankets and donated to refugee charities. This was the prod I needed and, excited by the prospect of a trip to The Make It Shop, I dusted off my yarn bag and hunted out my crochet needle. The mind went blank. Not a clue how to begin. Off the shelf came the "Learn to Crochet" book. Still none the wiser. Stupid book. Stupid needle. Stupid me. Back in the bag go needle and yarn.
Luckily for me, a granny square tutorial was promised once I made it to Chorlton. Luckily for them, I ended up not being able to go to Chorlton. Disheartened by this turn of events, I wandered into Red Apple Yarn in Lampeter one day and enquired about knitting classes. Luckily for me, there's a beginner's class every Saturday afternoon. Unluckily for them, I turned up two weeks ago.
I am now the proud owner of not one but TWO pairs of knitting needles, and the not so proud owner of two rather unfortunate looking pieces of knitting.
I am very good at increasing. Start me off with 20 stitches, and within 2 rows I can present you with 25 stitches. My knitting breeds stitches. And I tend to forget if I should purl next or knit. Practice practice, practice, knit, purl, knit, purl. I'm almost at the point now where David can talk to me while I knit and get a response. Almost. Nevertheless, spurred on by my best friend and fellow beginner (but already far too good) knitter, I have started my first project. A scarf. You can never have too many scarves. She plans to have completed four scarves by March. I hope to have completed one scarf in time for her birthday in June, or maybe a wrist warmer.