Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The first pair

You're looking at the very first pair of knitting needles I ever owned. Size 7 aluminum needles, approximately 12 inches long. I purchased them at the local Woolworth's when I was in seventh grade. I won't say how long ago that was, except since Woolworth's was still around, you can surmise it was a while ago.

When I was in seventh grade my teacher taught everyone in the class to knit. For weeks boys and girls alike could be seen on the playground with balls of yarn and pairs of needles. I am sure many a life-long knitter was made that year.

With these needles I knit slippers for everyone in my family, from a pattern given to me by my teacher -- which I still have. I then learned to knit mittens and devised a pattern of my own for doll-sized mittens, to which I attached a string and sold for 25 cents each to classmates. For weeks in the fall of 8th grade practically every girl in school wore one of those little mittens around her neck. We kept quarters in them.

I made a tidy profit and used the money to buy more yarn.

I seldom use these needles anymore. They're too short for large projects and too big a gauge for most of the small projects I've tackled lately. They would be nice for a scarf, I think. Of some funky, fun yarn. Even if I never use them again, I smile every time I look at them.

I'd like to thank my teacher, whereever she is today. The sad thing is, I cannot remember her name. That was a traumatic year for me and I have lost large parts of it -- including the dear lady's name.

Thank goodness I didn't forget the knitting.


Blogger Ana said...

That is great! I'm a long time knitter too and when my son was in elementary school I would teach knitting too. It never occured to me that perhaps some of them became life long knitters.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Cindi, I loved your story! I started knitting as a child as well--my grandmother taught me, and now I use her needles. I have a pair of straight 8s that I wouldn't give up for love or money. I don't use them, but I knit my first sweater on them and they hold such meaning.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Fran Baker said...

Even if you can't remember the teacher's name, Cindi, you've honored her today.

12:37 PM  
Blogger Jamie Denton said...

Cindi - What a great story! I didn't start knitting until my 20's, but I do have that first pair of needles I'd bought, size 6's, to make sweaters for the two younger boys. One was a bright Christmas green, the other an equally obnoxious Christmas red.

Any guesses when they wore them?

1:07 PM  
Blogger Dallas Schulze said...

Cindi - How nice that you remember who taught you to knit and think of her fondly. That's a kind of immortality. I think I probably learned for a Coats & Clark booklet. Nice but nothing to give anyone a warm, fuzzy feeling.

2:19 PM  
Blogger Nancy Herkness said...

I've never heard of learning to knit in school. What a wonderful activity for children!

My mother taught me to knit. I was inspired because she was knitting my sister a stuffed bunny rabbit and I wanted to do one for myself. I wish I had kept that rabbit, even though he was a hideous sort of irridescent blue. However, I suspect he fell apart fairly rapidly since my garter stitch wasn't entirely stable back then.

9:46 PM  
Blogger Barbara Bretton said...

I have no specific memory of actually learning to knit or crochet or embroider. To be honest, I don't remember learning to read either. It seems that I just somehow started doing those things as easily as slipping into a warm bath. Now that may or may not be the way things actually happened, but I do know that I was reading before I turned 3 and maybe doing rudimentary needlework at around 6. (If I've had the skills for so long can someone tell me why some of my current stuff looks like my old 6 year old self made it??)

12:37 PM  
Blogger LauraP said...

Cindi - Wonderful story! My grandmother taught me the basics of knitting, and until this summer I had a pair of aluminum 7's from her tools stash. I thought it fitting that I teach my niece to knit on them, then sent them home with her. It's odd how much I miss seeing those needles in the bin, too.

4:58 PM  

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