Last night I went to my first and long awaited knitting class.
I was exceedingly nervous about it. I have never been known for my crafting ability. My mother was an absolute whiz at everything craft related when I was a child. She could have run rings round a Blue Peter presenter, even without any sticky back plastic. Knitting, sewing, embroidery, tapestry, doll making, etc. She could also draw and paint, garden, cook and build small sheds. It was, frankly, daunting. It was a bit like living with the crafting equivalent of Ray Mears.
Uncle Robber and I had a go at all these things as we grew up but it is fair to say that neither of us shone, and there were a fair number of spectacular disasters which meant that we both eschewed crafting and indeed any form of domesticity with a firm hand for a good number of years.
So, setting forth last night after another traumatic trip to the V E T with Derek, who it turns out is as healthy as a healthy thing and was merely spoofing us all just to raise my blood pressure and cause me to grind my teeth, I was feeling massively pessimistic.
My friend and I went to Knit One, which is a wonderful, jewel of a knitting shop on Queen’s Road in Leicester, for our lessons. Knit One gives the lie to the whole scratchy vests and evil Christmas jumpers images of knitting, which is what I grew up with.
When you walk into Knit One you realise that knitting is actually quite sexy. There is an entire wall of cubby holes filled with the most stunning skeins of wool in every colour, fibre and texture you could ever want. It is a rainbow cornucopia, and there is no sign of navy acrylic evilness to be found. They even have llama wool. I have not mentioned this to Tilly yet. The squeaking will know no bounds.
Five of us sat round a scrubbed pine kitchen table with our incredibly patient teacher. We learned to cast on using a slip knot and cable stitch method, and then we learned the first stitch, which is the knit stitch.
It was companionable and unpressured. Because it was a beginner’s class there was nobody sneering in a corner knitting a scale model of the guillotine and cackling into baskets as we failed and unravelled and tried again until we got it right.
It was actually incredibly enjoyable once I had managed to shout down the voice in my head that was going: ‘Oooh! Scary, scary knitting! Oooh! You’re going to mess it up!’ etc. Given the fact that no apocalypse in the world was ever caused by a dropped stitch or a failure to cast on properly I managed to sit firmly on that small, persistent voice by jabbing it with an imaginary knitting needle.
I came home with about six rows of competent knitting, entirely my own work. It’s not exactly Shirin Guild, but it’s a start.