I first learnt how to knit and crochet when I was 8 years old - my mother taught me, just as her mother taught her. My mother is a patient teacher, but I was not a very patient student, and I could not understand why my stitches were so tight in the middle but loose and loopy on the edges. My Barbie dolls got a few scarves, but that was it.
I picked up the sticks again during highschool for a textiles and design class, and it was the first time that I had seen other people knit. My teacher was confused about my knitting and said I was doing it wrong, so I went home and told my mother “they all knit backwards!” This is when I first found out about different knitting styles! My family knit in the Combined Continental style - the yarn is tensioned around the fingers on your left hand, you enter a knit stitch in the back loop, wrapping the yarn over the right-hand needle, and a purl stitch in the front loop, scooping the yarn backwards through the stitch. My mother sat me down and explained that there is no right or wrong way to do any craft, and that you shouldn’t let anyone tell you that doing something differently is bad.
Around this time, our family friends bought a knitwear store in my home town (Dunedin, New Zealand!) and loved a white lacey mohair hat that I had made so much that they asked me to make a few for the store to sell. I was so nervous and had never made anything for other people, but I made two in white and two in black. They sold out in the first week, so I excitedly made some more to sell! I was (un)officially “a fashion designer”.
Fast forward a few (or… many…) years and I picked up the sticks again, this time after moving back to London. My mother had given me a pile of my mohair yarn (from my time as a crochet hat designer) that I had left at her house. I hadn’t started my new job yet, so I somewhat ambitiously cast on a jumper. I had never knitted an entire garment before, but knew the basics of pattern construction from my sewing days during highschool.
I excitedly knitted away, and seamed up the pieces. I never took a photo of the final sweater, but it was immediately taken off and frogged. I still have a sweater’s worth of peach mohair in my wool cupboard…
From there, things improved - I have knitted for designers and high-street collaborations, worked in pattern development, and taught at knit parties. I knit everywhere - at home, on the London Underground, at the bus stop. And now, I am knitting for you!