I fully intended to be poking fun at myself this morning but I am sitting here a little dazed and confused instead. I'll tell a different story instead.
I was joking around the other day with a good friend about atrocious knitting and I told her about these horrid Christmas stockings I knit in the time before I knit.
OK, let me explain. I learned to knit in Brownies, and when my kids were small, I tried a few things. I knit some wee raglan sleeved sweaters for the two oldest boys, I knit a sweater for my husband, a cabled thing of beauty. It really was fine, though the neckline was wonky and he never wore it. I knit my mom a vest, I knit these Christmas stockings and knit a bright cheery yellow sweater for myself that wore out many, many years later.
And then I stopped. I desperately wanted to go farther, to learn more. I wanted to know why my way of knitting was doing what it was doing when I was making decreases. I stopped at a nice yarn store, and asked if they could help me with my problem, if they knew anyone who could teach me, but I got this funny stoney eyed stare, that made me feel like they were saying, 'so you are too stupid to figure it out for yourself?'. I think that was when I ran. The negative reaction was too much. Other than the lady I learned from in Brownies, I had never seen any person in the place I lived actively knitting. I was alone, and deeply insecure about my ability. I put the needles away, and decided that I only crocheted.
I quit and anything I knit was remembered and viewed as a memory of a failing.
I was charmed back into knitting by some good friends, the Yarn Harlot, and a stuck Internet connection. That was when I became a knitter. I count this as the beginning whenever I am asked. I may have to rethink that.
I've always remembered the cabling in my past, but I did not remember this. It seems I did some colourwork. I did some fair isle. I did a sort of intarsia, not correctly, but I did it. I thought I had embroidered these on in duplicate stitch.
The white stocking is the first because it's toe is about an inch and a half longer than I wanted it to be. I just tucked the excess inside the toe and called it good. The colourwork is really not very good. The stitches are a little uneven and there is a pretty clear difference to the quality of the work on the green sock. I'm pretty sure I did the green sock last because it is the only one where the stitches don't bind in the colour work bands. I even did a cable on the ribbings.
I had no pattern and I made them a way I knew I could knit. They are not gracious, they are not particularly fine, and yet, looking at them with they eyes of a knitter, I would not judge that much younger me so harshly.
I would give her some grace, admire her sense of adventure, and applaud her need to know. I would put my hands over hers on the needles and show her the things she did not understand, and tell her that learning knitting would be a lifetime process. I would point out that she did intarsia and colourwork without any instructions at all, and I would pat her on the back and let her know she did a great job for a first timer. I would make sure she understood that knitting was not lost to her, and that she didn't knit wrong, just different.
And since I work in a yarn store, I would also show her the Harrisville yarns and a book full of perrie patterns.
Without my friend and a joke about bad knitting we have done, these sorry looking Christmas stockings would have just stayed a little joke between me, Christmas, and some really bad needles. Without my friend, I would never have seen that even then, there lurked within me the soul of a knitter.
I am so thankful that knitting brought me such a wonderful, warm and funny friend. You teach me to see with better eyes.