Day 1: What was your first finished project?
I first learned to knit when I was much younger. My grandmother made a brief attempt when I was in elementary school, and I had my first formal lesson from her when I was in junior high.
My grandparents liked to take my brother and I on summer and fall vacations to Door County. Either we’d stay in their fancy camper trailer or they’d rent a cabin or a suite of bedrooms in a hotel, and we’d spend a few days up there. My uncle Chris lived with my grandparents, as he was mentally disabled, so was there, too.
We’d eat at certain restaurants–like Al Johnson’s with the goats grazing on the grass roof–or we’d stop at Wilson’s for chocolate sodas (something my Nana used to do with her father when she was a child). There were several attempts at fishing, usually without catching any fish. Nana and I browsed antique stores and tourist gift shops.
My grandparents were very good at planning for road trips and vacations in a way that prevented boredom. They had lots of experience making sure that my uncle was entertained and enjoying the family’s trip. When we were dropped off at their house by our parents, there would be books, puzzles, magazines, markers, snacks, and all sorts of small amusements already separated into easy-to-carry bags or containers–one for each of “the kids,” which included my uncle as well. It was arranged so that you would have things to do in the car, things to do with others at the destination, and things to keep yourself amused with at the destination.
On one particular trip, my bag of travel goodies contained the Boye “I Taught Myself Knitting” kit and a skein of acrylic yarn. At the cabin, learning to knit was my one-on-one activity with Nana when my grandfather, uncle, and brother were out on a chartered boat going fishing. With the aid of the book and her own experience knitting, she taught me how to make a garter-stitch scarf. That first scarf was full of beginner’s mistakes, but I finished it shortly after the trip.
Unfortunately, I don’t remember what it looked like–not sure of the colour or the texture, or anything other than the fact that I knit it on the size 8 straight metal needles included in the Boye kit. I think I gave it to another relative as a holiday gift when it was complete.
The first finished project that I remember and was really excited to make was the Lion Brand “pocket scarf” from their Chenille Thick & Quick yarn. It was the pattern featured on the back of some of the ball bands. I loved that concept. A scarf with pockets for your hands–that way, you didn’t need to wear gloves or mittens but your hands would still be warm!!! It was genius!!!! (If you were me, and 11.)
I finished that scarf and wore it until the chenille was worming so badly that there were all kinds of holes and it had shed fluff and fiber all over my winter coats and fall sweaters. 😀 So even though it wasn’t my first project, that scarf was the first thing I made that I was really proud to have completed. I went on to make several other scarves to give as gifts from that chenille yarn despite its chenille-y tendencies.