This summer while I take my break I asked other bloggers to answer the question “What does your knitting mean to you?” Answering today is designer and teacher Louise Tilbrook. Louise specialises in socks (and rather stunning ones at that!) find out more about her on her blog on or visit her designer page on Ravelry. In this post she talks about her knitting memories and how we show love by knitting.
Over to Louise:
Like many people, my formative years as a knitter were spent with my beloved Nana. Squished together in her comfy armchair she patiently spent many hours teaching my eight year old self to knit. The chunky red plastic needles and the squeaky cream acrylic yarn entranced me as I learnt to make small scarves and slightly mis-shapen squares whose purpose was unknown. My Nana was also an auxillary nurse and had a wonderful array of bandages and gauze which could be pressed into action on wounded bears. My ‘blankets’ were important too in this rather alternative version of a teddy bears picnic.
Thinking back, knitting was an important way for my Nana to express her love for me and my sister. Every year would come the consultation for what colour cardigan we would like (I don’t recall being offered a choice in anything else – it was always a cardigan). Every year in the autumn my sister and I would spend a few days in Blackpool with my grandparents – seeing the Lights (aka the Illuminations), the Zoo and the Tower. And every year, we would make the trip on the train each proudly wearing a new handknit cardigan.
My Christmas present one year I remember being a Ladybird ‘Learn to Knit’ book along with more of the ubiquitous squeaky acrylic yarn and I learnt to ‘go it alone’ with simple sweater patterns. I was strictly a process knitter then, and whilst I remember many hours making ‘things’ I have very few recollections of actually wearing any of them.
As a teenager in the 80s sweaters were boxy, loud and colourful and I cringe at memories of a particularly vivid blue mohair batwing jumper. Thankfully in those pre-Facebook days no photographic evidence remains. I took up knitting again some 15 years later when, as a young mum, I was struggling to cope with the demands of a young family. This time, knitting was less about ‘making things’ and more about community. The rise of Ravelry has enabled knitters to share their love of the craft in new ways and has encouraged people to think beyond the traditional knits to learn new technqiues and skills.
For me though, knitting has and always will be an expression of love. Knitting for oneself is wonderful but nothing beats the joy of knitting for someone else and having it become a treasured possession. Knitting for babies has to be my favourite thing in the world – welcoming a new arrival into the world with a knitted blanket and watching that blanket become a treasured ‘blankie’ never fails to bring a warm glow to this knitters heart.
Thanks so much Louise for sharing your memories.
Do you show your love by knitting? DO you have any heirloom knits made for you by someone special?
And remember, if you have an interesting answer to the question “what does your knitting mean to you?” do get in touch via the contact page.