Is anyone interesting in my knitting story? Does it matter?
The picture above is my first pair of knitting needles.
It belonged to my elder sister. She attended a convent girls’ school that expected her to be a lady. This included knitting. To say she has no talent is an understatement. Her lack of talent aside, she was asked to knit, of all things, a pair of baby booties. How can a pair of booties be the right project for a beginner?
To cut the long story short, she wanted nothing to do with the needles after that year and so, I inherited it.
Learning to Knit
My grandmother knows how to cook, sew, crochet, and macramé. She does not know how to knit.
I have to pick up knitting on my own through reading knitting books (no Internet nor Youtube then). My sources are mostly public libraries and bookstores.
Living in Singapore, a crossroad between the East and the West, meant that I have access to both Asian and Western knitting books. I was exposed early on to the Japanese tradition and they tend to use a lot of charts and symbols. The Chinese knitting books take after the Japanese but with much less information and bad illustrations. Western knitting books have more written instructions and pictures.
I found that the names of the sizes of needles and yarn weights differ between the East and West too. Abbreviations and diagrams in knitting books require “deciphering” too.
Knitting supplies in Singapore can be quite expensive. I used the knitting needles my sister left me and the cheap pink acrylic yarn she bought for the baby booties to practise for a long time.
I finally had enough money to go to my local yarn store to buy enough yarn to make a blouse. I still remember the yarn: it is cotton and orange in colour. My mum was my first “customer“. I knitted a blouse for her using a Japanese pattern with a lace front. My finishing wasn’t very good, I must admit. My mum said she looked fat in it and so it got relegated to the bottom of a cupboard together with the knitting needles and yarn.
In the interim years, I tried out other types of crafts like sewing, crocheting and cross-stitching.
My knitting mojo came back when I stumbled upon Ravelry.com and met some really passionate and knowledgeable people in my vicinity as well as overseas. They introduced me to great yarns, nice needles and beautiful projects. Now, I knit more often. My projects can be seen at my Ravelry profile.
Knitting for the Tropics
I live in Singapore, a little tropical island in Southeast Asia. Winter knitting is not very appropriate or useful to me. I usually pick patterns that can be used in summer hot Singapore.
The Practical Knitter
I consider myself a practical knitter. I like knitting things that are useful, not just ornamental.
A Frogger and Tinker
I find that I frog and tinker a lot at the beginning of a project. I don’t know why I always make mistakes at the start of the project. But there are times that I just wanted to try out different methods to achieve a look I felt I can get.
Understandably, it takes me a much longer time to complete something.
One of the more time-consuming activities of a knitter is looking for knitting patterns to knit. I started compiling and annotating knitting patterns that I come across that I find interesting and may someday knit.
Occupational hazard I guess. I am a librarian after all.
I also make notes of patterns that I have tried and some time I feel the need to re-write or fill in more details to make the instructions easier to follow.
I find WordPress a suitable way to post these compilations, annotations, and designs. So, the Knitting Librarian is born.