My First Knits - Why I Might Have a Short Knitting Attention Span

Saturday, September 13, 2008

As Gabes has so thoughtfully shared her first knits, I thought I should share mine. My first knits for my Barbie. My Gran patiently talked me through them. There was a book at our local library that I might as well have had on permanent loan from ages 8 to 11. I would pore over it for hours each time I got it out. I found it again at a different library and just had to get it out.

The book features the rather diplomatic terms "Teenage Dolls" and “11 1'2” fashion dolls” so I guess you could dress a Sindy too. The knits were largely in 4 ply with size 12 needles. By the time I had finished with it I think I had lost every pair of size 12s my Gran had and was beginning on the 11s.

The first attempt at the Bermuda shorts in homespun were interesting. My counting was a little off and the ribbing very rarely lined up.

Then it was onto the sleeveless vest. I had that pattern memorized and even on occasion made sleeves for it. I desperately wanted to be as well dressed as that Barbie in the picture. I would knit on the bus on the way home from school and could usually get a sweater finished in a day.

My inner geek had watched Mum planning out quilts in a maths book. I wanted one too. Soon my Barbie had carefully planned monogrammed sweaters and even an argyle one. I even went so far as to name each pattern with a pithy pun like in real pattern books. “Diamonds Forever” anyone?

There was one sweater that always took my eye and I figured that one day I would be good enough to try it. I could do fairisle, but the mere thought of 100 stitches had me scared, considering the jerseys only had 20 stitches. When I finally had a big enough stash, or at least enough colours, to give it a try it was the neck that had me confused. Gran kindly pointed out that something for a doll didn't need to be this difficult and suggested I give it a rest. That jersey has rested ever since.

I have never really been one for finishing the larger knitting projects. Baby cardigans are fine, but I still have the remainder of my attempt to knit myself a jersey. About 10 years ago homespun was very cool and I attempted a guernsey. I finished the back and two sleeves during coffee breaks working one summer. A year later Mum saw that I hadn't made any more progress and had someone finish it for me. This was a lovely thought but would have been even more lovely if the knitted realised that I had knitted the back. The jersey with two backs sounds almost Shakespearean in hindsight.

My knitting attention span still hasn't improved since those days, but I still love that book to bits.

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  1. Oh thats fantastic! You know this very minute I have a book from the library....called...Barbie and Me. 45 playful matching designs for knitting. By Nicky Epstein no less. You should look it up lol

  2. Hi there,
    The magazine was Amercan APtchwork and Quilting it is one that is published by Better Homes and Gardens. I am so in love right now and found myself bidding on trade me for more.......My first knits were scarves and then I progressed as a teenager to baby boottees which I sold in a shop. I only started knitting as I was expecting my first born in 99/2000, and Ive only made a few baby jerseys and lots of Ponchos and ballet cardis.

  3. oh that's a wonderful post - I can just picture you speedily whipping up Barbie a new sweater on demand! And the story about your guernsey with two backs - how funny! My first knitting was a mustard scarf that grew wider as it grew longer. Since then, most things started languish in the bags the wool came home in, but the odd thing is finished - only to be passed onto my nanny who whilst supposedly stitching them up for me, actually unravels them and knits them again.


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