Monday, 10 September 2007

Baby's first swatch

Today was a lovely day, so I got my camera and started taking pictures of my stash to upload to Ravelry (to the people giggling in the penny section, shut up. I mean it).

The stash is a fearsome thing, and you should go and look at my lovely stash - but I digress. While digging through my stash, I found the first swatch I ever did.

It felt so strange, in my hand, this swatch. It is more than just a piece of knitted cloth, this is the culmination of a yearning to create, to hold colour. It is a true mark of me being here, even when I'm gone.

I don't know if I've ever told you about how I started knitting.

Like many things in my life, it started with Harry Potter.

Harry Potter belonged to Gryffindor house, its colours a blaze of sun and heart, red and gold. I always wanted a Harry Potter scarf, to have my neck warm against the bluster of raw wind that we in Nottingham get from time to time, but the scarves were too thin, too bulky, not gold enough, not red enough, too thin, too thick.

There were a lot of possibly mabyes, but honestly, nos.

I knew I'd get my Harry Potter scarf, it was just a matter of when.

Inspiration struck when I was on the tram one night in December, when I heard a jangle of metal, and saw a girl knitting a scarf. Her needles were shiny pink metallic things, turning a thin piece of string into something substantial, something useful.

She was knitting her boyfriend a scarf, she said, and my divine architect was moved.

"Yes," I remember saying, being charmed by the ease and skill of her craft. "I want to do that, I shall learn to knit a scarf."

There was a John Lewis in the town, and they had yarn, and then I found out that my Spanish friend knew how to knit. I asked her to teach me how - and we bought this yellow yarn (the top colour is accurate) because it was bright - a bit of sun to hold in one's hand- to keep the gloam of winter away.

We also bought 4mm needles. That night was a Friday night, we huddled in a gothic bar, and Maria showed me how to do the long tail cast on.

Then, I struggled through the knit stitches. It was difficult, because Maria didn't know the terms in English (she learnt to do this in Argentina) and her way was awkward. Undeterred, I found a tutor at school (I was doing classes there), and she taught me the knit stitch, then stocking and rib. It was brilliant to know the myriad possibilities with just two sticks, two stitches and a piece of string. Two, it seemed, was the magic number!

After that I got the Stitch and Bitch book and that's all she wrote. I knitted a pink scarf, then a lace scarf and moved on to jumpers. There was so much to learn and so little time and hooyah, see the hill take the hill.

Strangely though, I haven't gotten around to knitting myself a Harry Potter scarf. I knitted one for a friend in the US (a fellow HP fan) but never one for me.
I couldn't knit this scarf in cotton anyway - it wouldn't keep!

And also, I don't think I'm a Gryffindor anyway, thumping on ceremonial drums about my goodness and bravery. I'm interested in how things work, and am insanely loyal to a cause. I veer between Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, but the latter house colours seem much more me.

This swatch tickles me pink, because I can see my progress in the space of two years (it seems I started knitting in 2005) in terms of twisted stitches and uneven tension.

All I know is, this swatch is the reason why I love knitting - you can literally hold time and memories in your hands, like a personal pensieve**.

It's odd, the first swatch. I shan't throw it away at all.

** In the HP books a pensieve is a container that holds your memories for a time (you fish them out of your head/temple with a wand), while you look at them, rather like a three dimensional moving image. There's more to it, but not everyone who reads the blog is an HP fan.
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JayJay said...

Perhaps your swatches could be made into a pillow or a blanket someday? That way you can look at them every day and be reminded.


Perfect work!
Please go on your creative way...OK?
And maybe you'll visit me too???