How Knitting Has Become a Big Part of My Life in My 60s
I can remember learning to knit as a small child and being delighted when I produced a hideous scarf, full of holes and dropped stitches and strangely wider at one end than the other.
Can You Recall Learning to Knit, or Your First Knitting Project?
My real passion for knitting began when I was about 14, and Twiggy was the style icon of the day. She was photographed in a short Shetland wool sweater and every teenager wanted one.
Luckily, a pattern was available, and along with a group of friends, we started our projects. We used bright colours of beautifully soft Shetland, double knitting, and we would smuggle our knitting bags into school so we could knit and natter during our lunch break.
Whilst most of my friends gave up after that flurry of activity, I have continued to enjoy knitting to this day.
After the Twiggy inspired sweater came a huge and colourful cardigan for my would-be husband, copied from one worn on the TV series Starsky & Hutch. It was, if I am honest, a terrible fashion mistake, but it did get a bit of wear before disappearing to the bottom of the cupboard.
Then came a useful cricket jumper for the same lucky man, knitted whilst flying to the USA, when knitting needles were still permitted in the cabin.
Knitting for the Family
Marriage and babies came next, and I was in my element making delicate lacy jackets and shawls, followed all too swiftly by hand knit school sweaters and chunky arans for weekend wear.
If I could persuade my husband to mind the children, I would slip off to the local wool shop and browse the pattern books for hours on end.
To be without a project was like being deprived a cigarette (I imagine!) as I hated to have a pair of idle hands and loved to knit whilst watching TV or listening to the radio.
But before long, my girls had minds of their own, and their tastes didn’t run to hand made anything. So, I turned back to myself.
Oddly, nearly everything I make for me never seems to turn out right and goes to the charity shop. I stuck to baby clothes for a while, using much loved patterns. A favourite pattern was for a blanket that would wrap around a new-born when in a car or carry seat. I must have knitted dozens.
Do you find yourself going back to old favourites that you know will turn out well, or do you prefer to experiment with new projects?
When my mother died, I kept her knitting needles and patterns – some patterns going back in time to my childhood. When you start to look at old patterns, you realise nothing much has changed in style – just a wider range of yarns and colours are available now.
I have been fascinated by the craze for ‘colour bombing.’ This is an art form where a town is transformed by knitters decorating railings, gates and lampposts with pieces of knitting in order to cheer up everyone.
I joined a colour bomb challenge in my home town. We knitted strips to wrap around a model replica of our famous ‘Beachy Head Lighthouse’ and raised money for charity.
Have you come across ‘colour bombing’? Maybe your town would benefit from some knitted decorations!
Inevitably, over the years, all my projects resulted in a huge stash of left over wool – just bits and pieces and oddments. Nothing of much use, or so I thought.
Now that we have the Internet, the days of lingering in the local wool shop are long gone. I went online for ideas for unwanted wool and found two projects that caught my interest.
One used all my baby wool leftovers – knitting little hats for premature babies. Many of our hospital prem units are crying out for these in a variety of colours and styles as each baby keeps their own hat, and they are only used once.
The second project is knitting ‘twiddle muffs’ for people with dementia. I had never heard of them before, but after some online research I found a pattern and am looking forward to getting stuck in.
The idea is that the patient can put their hands in the muff and fiddle with all the embellishments that I will add. Dementia patients are soothed by touch so adding ribbons, beads, knitted flowers etc. all give interest.
A knitted pocket can be useful for small items such as a hanky. This is a project where you can let your imagination run away with you!
I shall carry on knitting for as long as I can, and I intend to use my stash of wool before I buy anymore!
How important is knitting in your life? Have you come across any knitting for charity projects that you have enjoyed? Please share any exciting knitting projects you have created!
Sally Dowling has had a long and exciting career in the travel industry and now enjoys freelance travel writing and guest blogging. She is a regular contributor to Silver Travel Advisor, a popular travel and review website for the over 50’s. Sally likes to seek out lesser known areas of popular destinations and to stay in small family run hotels. Please check out Sally’s website here.