Tuesday 18 August 2015

Passing Knitting Skills On Again

I took a break from blogging last week because instead of sitting inside with a laptop I was on holiday in beautiful North Yorkshire with my family: mum, dad, brother, sister-in-law and two nephews. Hubby unfortunately had to work.

Statue of Richard III at Middleham Castle
My childhood was spent in industrial South Yorkshire, a world apart from its more scenic and spacious neighbour to the north. Our holiday cottage on the outskirts of Richmond was a delightful place to explore the small towns and surrounding countryside from, including the ruins of Middleham Castle, famous for being the seat of King Richard III whose body was dug up in a Leicester car park in 2012.

This is sheep heartland and reminded me where the wool I knit with (no acrylic for me!) comes from and its indelible link with the area's history. Whilst it was mostly sunny when we were there I could appreciate how cold it would be in a blustery winter and, in a rural world in the days before electricity and central heating, how necessary a thick wool jumper would have been to keep warm.

When my nephews, aged 8 and 12, asked me to teach them how to knit on holiday, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I brought along two pairs of 6mm needles with me and two balls of chunky yarn in a merino and wool mix. It was a great pleasure to teach them how to knit and start making a garter stitch scarf.

Beginners' Garter Stitch scarf pattern: cast on 15 stitches and keep knitting until the ball has nearly all been used up!

My youngest nephew engrossed in his knitting
I was amazed when I got up the next morning to find both boys voluntarily knitting away then asking for help with something they were stuck with. I've been knitting so long that I can't remember exactly when I first started, but the boys' issues brought back memories of remembering which way to twist the wool around the needle, where in the stitch to insert the needle in and wondering how those pesky extra stitches got there!

Next holiday they nephews want to learn how to knit a hat. Bring it on! Sadly I wasn't so successful with my Scollay cardigan I took with me to carry on with as part of the Scollayalong on Ravelry. I must have pulled the back out about eight times due to having cast on the wrong number of stitches, going wrong with yarn overs and generally mucking it up. Trying to knit the lace pattern in the back of a car whilst on windy roads didn't help either. I'm determined, however, not to let it beat me and, now I'm back on the straight and narrow, am plodding on ...

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