My Knitting Journey and Who Taught Me to Knit

So who taught me to knit?  The simple answer to that is my Nana, my maternal grandmother.  She was an amazing woman.  From Rotherham in Yorkshire originally and from a background of being in service.  As is typical for the area she was from, she was an honest, straightforward and incredibly talented woman who had the most wicked sense of humour!

Four Generations of Legendary Women

Four Generations of Ladies

In this amazing photo you can see four generations of ladies.  My sister, Julia is the little girl.  My mum, Marian, is on the left wearing the fetching 1970s print top.  My Nana, her mum, is on the right; she is wearing some fabulous Dame Edna style glasses! Finally you can see and her mum in the middle.

If you look closely you can also see some bold orange and brown soft furnishings in the background!

Unfortunately, the photo was taken before I was born.  But I think my mum might have been pregnant with me.

The Agonizing Early Lessons

I don’t really remember the early days of learning.  The struggling to remember how to knit a stitch.  Or worrying that my stitches would get lost when I had worked them and pushed them off the needle.  And I certainly don’t remember what my first project was.  A scarf that should have been rectangular but was almost certainly I triangle I should imagine.

How Do I Knit Backwards?

What I do remember is being convinced that I could only knit in one direction.  I would hold my knitting in my left hand and then  I would dutifully knit them all onto the right hand needle.

Now I was stumped!  There was no way I could knit backwards and get all those stitches from the right hand needle back on to the left.  I am left handed, so it made sense to me that I could do just this one direction.  Obviously only right-handed people, just like my Nana, could get the stitches to go back on the other needle.

Who taught me to knit like this with two colours?

Stitches on the Needles


I assume my Nana had tried on many occasions to explain to me that I needed to turn my work.  Perhaps I wasn’t listening.  Perhaps I had a mental block.  But in any case, I would work my row and then hand it to my Nana for her to work the next row.  It was a win win for me.  She would sort out my too tight stitches and spot immediately if I had lost or gained any stitches.

You Tricked Me!

What I can clearly remember is sitting on the floor next to my Nana whilst we both worked on our knitting projects.  On one particular day I handed my knitting over as always and after a while it was handed back to me.  I did my row and tried to give it back to my Nana.  This time she smiled and shook her head.  She had worked two rows, not one.  And as I had just worked the wrong side I was now pronounced a knitter and could work forwards and backwards!

Emma Sadler Designs @allneedles a selection of fabulous yarn

Emma Sadler Designs @allneedles a selection of fabulous yarn

And That Was Just the Beginning!

I don’t have any pictures of my early projects  I know I knitted a little blue jumper with a purl effect yacht on the front for my nephew what he was born.  And I will have to tell you about the cabled jumper I made.  But what I do know is that since I learnt how to knit ‘backwards’ the knitting world has been my oyster.  I have never looked back since….

Pathological Fear of Purling

I haven’t really got a fear of the purl stitch.  But I do have to admit I’m not a fan.  Again, I don’t remember learning to purl, but I do know it was my Nana who showed me.  I do have a vague recollection of the awkwardness of the motion.  And to this day I would much rather knit garter flat or stocking stitch in the round.

When I came back to knitting years later I taught myself all kinds of new techniques, including cables and lace.  But that is a story for another day.

Over to you!  

You know who taught me to knit, so tell me.   Who taught you to knit? 

Do you remember how old you were or what your first project was?

Say Hi on Facebook or Instagram I’d love to hear from you.

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