Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Life With Needles and Yarn

My first job out of college was as a knitting instructor. My grandmother, Mimi, had taught me to knit at the age of five, and the first item I knit was a light green doll blanket in garter stitch. Mimi used to drive up from the Imperial Valley every year in August to visit the family for two months, but the blanket was not finished by the time she left that year. The poor blanket stayed on the needles for months and months, since I did not know how to cast off. One day, some of my many cousins came for a visit and one of the twins, Joey, showed me how to cast off. After that, I mostly made doll clothes. In high school, I got some really nice mohair yarn for my birthday one year and knitted up a nice cardigan, which I still have somewhere. I also made a white V-neck pullover with a texture pattern, which I wore through the 'mod' years of college. When I graduated from college and began to look for a job, there was an ad in the Sacramento paper for a knitting instructor at a department store (out at Arden Fair, not yet a mall). I got the job, but since I did not know the first thing about being an instructor, I quickly read over my old copy of 'Knit To Fit'. Ladies would come into the store and sit around the large table to chat and knit or crochet, and lots of ladies would come to have their patterns adjusted or designed to their measurements. I would start them out, then read up in the book before their next visit, keeping one step ahead of them in the design. After I had been there a few years, there was a recession and stores started economizing. One of the first things to go were the fabric and yarn departments that were in just about every department store.

So I have been knitting for most of my life, but I did go through a decade or so of no knitting at all. I do not remember why this happened, I guess I was just sewing a lot. One day I got interested in it again and never stopped. I still have some of my first sweaters, so I will post pictures of these now 'retro' sweaters if Blogger ever gets its act together. My grandmother gave me some of her old knitting and crochet pamphlets, and I would find other old ones here and there over the years, until now I have boxes and boxes of old vintage patterns. I like to look at them all now and then, but haven't really ever made much out of them, and I would like to change that.

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