Caution: Dangerous with Needles.

When I first went to high school, I'd like to think I was pretty cluey about my studies. I loved to read, I loved to write and I enjoyed learning about things I was interested in, particularly anything to do with history. But when it came to anything practical, I was a little like Hermione Granger without a spellbook: nervous, antsy and paranoid. Unlike dear Hermione though, who eventually managed to be brilliant in all areas, I really WAS hopeless. Cooking class? Oh dear. Woodwork class? Ha! Metalwork class? Don't even get me started on that one.

If there was one thing I learned from my seventh grade Textiles class (that we were forced to take, I might add) it was that I have the skill of a toddler when it comes to anything needlework. I remember one of our assessment items was to create a pencilcase out of fabric, the fussiest part being attaching the zipper using a sewing machine. It was fairly simple to most of my classmates, even those who hadn't sewn before. But to my horror and embarrassment, I was completely awful at it. I don't even remember what the final product looked like, but you can bet that it was a shocker. Am sure that my Textiles teacher graded me with much amusement.

I simply cannot sew. Or knit. Or even hold a needle and thread properly.

Most people think I'm exaggerating when I say I can't do these things. Haven't I ever stitched a button on a coat before? The answer is yes, however it wasn't done very well. I could barely even thread a sewing needle, and my idea of stitching on a button was to just keep looping the thread through the holes enough to make sure it wouldn't fall off again anytime soon. As for knitting? Let's just say I won't be creating any woolen masterpieces any time soon.

Since my grandma has been staying up here for the weekend after a short stint in hospital, I decided to make use of her domestic skills and have her teach me how to knit. Unlike her clutzy granddaughter, nanna is a whiz with needles. I'm sad I didn't get those genes from her and am hoping they will be passed down to the next generation of kids in our family, should I ever have them. I'd hate for them to be stuck with me trying to teach them, poor things.

Having agreed to help out, I got my trusty "learn to knit" kit out and joined her on the lounge. My first knitting project was to knit a scarf some kids booties a fancy jumper a really tiny square. That's it. A puny little square, nothing fancy. 'Pah!' I says to myself. 'A square! I can do that. No worries.'

Nan proceeded to give me a walk through of how to cast on to the needle and where to go next. She did that again. And again. And a few times more, after watching me stare blankly at the knitting needles. Eventually I moved on to doing some myself, but because I am a fussy wee thing, I'd unravel it all and start over if it got messy. And let's face it, it got messy fairly quickly. And that was only with 12 stitches!

After ditching my attempts for a few hours, I brought out the needles again to settle in for a night of keeping my grandma company. I figured it would be nice and companionable; me knitting my square (!), nan doing some crochet work, and the television blaring away in the background. It didn't quite turn out that way though. Replace the companionable silence with exclamations like 'Bugger!', 'Crap! I lost it again!', 'Bloody wool!' and 'Nan ... help!' and you'd have a fairly good idea of what was going on in my lounge room. Good times were had by all.

I do have a nice mini square now, though it isn't exactly symmetrical. It's also a little frayed at the edges, due to my frequent habit of ripping it all off and starting again. But you know what? It's a square all the same. A square that I knitted, all mostly by myself. If only my Textiles teacher could see me now . . .

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Erin said...

My mom was always trying to teach me to sew, knit, or crochet when I was little. A couple of years ago I decided to give knitting a try. It was tricky for a while, but now that I've (mostly) got the hang of it, I really enjoy it. I highly recommended checking out the book Stitch 'n Bitch. It helped me get the hang of all the stitches and has really cute patterns!

Kelly said...

Sewing, I can do. I can fix holes, add buttons and even use the sewing machine!
Knitting? No way. My mum tried to teach me once, but we gave up pretty quick. Why? She's right-handed, I'm left-handed. She'd show me something, and then I'd try and do it backwards. Just didn't work.
The same went with shoelaces. I wore velcro shoes for years, because nobody could teach me. Eventually, I figured it out for myself, at the ripe old age of 12.
A knitter I will never be!

Britt said...

I just started learning how to knit last weekend. My grandma taught me. I don't get it. I was just trying to do 10 stitches for practice. Somehow, after knitting for two hours straight, I'd picked up an extra 16 stitches. Congrats on your square. Mine turned out to be more of a triangle (Scotty said he's going to use it to make a G string-I told him not to unless he likes the idea of the dyed yarn rubbing on his parts and turning them blue).

Britt said...

Oh no! I just read that last sentence of my comment. Please don't confuse the mention of blue balls with "blue balls." Am I allowed to say blue balls? Ok. Seriously. I didn't mean to bring it up at all. It's not my fault that my grandma gave me blue yarn.

kirby said...

I actually snapped the knitting needles the first time I tried it. Needless to say, I did not recieve that Brownie Merit Badge, and was whole-heartedly upset. I'm Ok at it now. I've got.. nearly three squares to hopefully make a blanket out of. I figure squares are easiest. It has, however, taken me about three weeks to get this far.

Lady M said...

I'm great at emergency repair (costumes, wedding dresses, etc), but not so good at detail work. It requires too much concentration for a long time. Good luck with the needles - I haven't been brave enough to tackle knitting!

Leslie said...

I can't knit, sew or crochet. I can sew a button so that it stays on for life, but it looks like total crap. I have a sewing machine and at one time knew how at least hem something, but I'm not so sure that I would remember how to put a bobbin of thread on the blasted thing.

Kristabella said...

Ack! I'm the same way. I sucked at woodshop. When we did the sewing thing in home ecomnomics, we had to make pillows. Mine was not even square (yet was supposed to be.)

My Gram tried to teach me how to crochet too. But she got fed up and kicked my ass out for my stupidity. It's why I'm such a sports nut. :)

Laurel said...

I'm not very dexterous, either. I do know how to knit, but my specialty is: scarves, blankets, potholders. Anything that doesn't require precision or careful shaping.

Although I have managed to create two baby hats. THAT was an accomplishment.

Operation Pink Herring said...

I suck at domestic trades too. I am getting better at cooking, but sewing just isn't in my genes. I tried to sew a button on Joel's pants and my placement was a little off -- now he can't button them at all. I told him he needs to lose 20lbs because I'm not sewing that button on again.

Now I just pay the $5 at the tailor when buttons pop off. It's so much better for everyone involved.

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