This post is my interpretation of the theme for week two of the A Playful Day Love Your Blog Challenge, which is “Beginnings”. You can find out more about the challenge here.
How to begin, when pondering beginnings? One of my favourite beginnings is, ‘Once upon a time…’ So I’ll start with that. Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, there was a small girl. Each day she grew a little and she learned a lot about the world around her. She loved to ask questions and one day she asked her mother, ‘How did I begin?’
‘Now, there’s a question,’ her mother thought, searching for an answer which would be right for such a small person. And she said to her daughter, ‘I made you. I knitted you, stitch by stitch, over many months until you were ready to be born.’
Somehow this answer made sense to the small girl until such time as she was ready for a more scientific answer, and she felt very loved that her mother had made her with so much care.
Despite the story of her knitted beginnings, the small girl did not pick up knitting needles herself for a few years, until, one long summer day, a neighbour taught her how to knit. The girl learned to form the ‘knit’ stitch, and knitted an irregular square of mustard-coloured yarn. Her neighbour cast off the square and the girl sewed it up into an envelope with a button to fasten it – a purse! She proudly filled the purse with coins, which immediately fell through the gaping holes between her rather loose stitches!
At that point, the girl looked at her work and decided that she must be very bad at knitting. She was clearly not a knitter and she did not try to knit again.
I’m sorry. There is no ‘happily ever after’ here. The girl did not follow her apparent knitterly destiny, growing up with needles in her hands and quickly becoming an amazing knitter of immense skill and prowess. Instead, this is a true story, and true stories are often less tidy than made-up ones.
The girl in the story was me. My mum used to tell me that I’d been knitted. I loved that explanation of my beginning, but I look back slightly regretfully at the fact that I didn’t persist with my first childhood knitting experience. I sometimes wish I had been that happily-ever-after, amazing knitter-girl. Maybe I could have been like Annabelle in Mac Barnett’s book Extra Yarn (which is a brilliant story, with beautiful illustrations by Jon Klassen, of a little girl who learns to knit from an ever-replenishing box of yarn).
In real life, by the time I picked up needles for the first time, I had already developed the early stages of a perfectionist streak which I hadn’t yet learned to handle. The disappointment of toiling to create a completely useless purse put me off trying to learn any more. In later years, stubbornness, persistence, and eventually a little more patience with myself would kick in to support that perfectionism, and actually help me to learn when I found things difficult. It was just a shame that THE MUSTARD PURSE OF DOOM happened before that.
Of course, in real life, stories don’t have to have a neat ending, as they often do in made-up story land. That mustard garter-stitch square wasn’t the end of my knitting life, but only a false start. I found my way back to knitting as an adult, and this time I fell under its spell and became an everyday knitter. You can read the story of the true beginning of my knitting life here.
That’s the exciting thing about beginnings: they don’t always have to happen at the beginning and sometimes we get more than one chance. As a late learner, I am not the knitter I would have been if I’d knitted all my life. However, I have had the pleasure of being fully aware of my learning experience and the satisfaction of each new skill. I still have so much to learn and I’m looking forward to each step of the journey.
Knitted arrow from Unravel 2015
How did your knitting journey begin?