In Which the Pirate Has a Hero(ine).

3KCBWDAY3 – Your Knitting Or Crochet Hero
Blog about someone in the fibre crafts who truly inspires you. There are not too many guidelines for this, it’s really about introducing your readers to someone who they might not know who is an inspiration to you. It might be a family member or friend, a specific designer or writer, indie dyer or another blogger.

I’d like to dedicate today’s entry to the new knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers. Learning new skills isn’t always easy. While I can’t say that I understand the mindset of being scared of trying a new craft or technique, I know that some people do feel that way and to them I say: Go forth! Be brave! You can do it! Intrepid Knitting!

There is a lot of inspiration to be found in the perseverance of someone who’s learning to get the yarn to tension around their fingers, moving the needles or the hook in just the right motion, drafting the fibre to flow smoothly. It takes quite a bit of patience and focus, calm and deep breaths, and a willingness to try again and again, to accept temporary failure, to throw away a bit of yarn or fibre that’s been tried too many times. I’m an easily distracted sort of person, so to me there’s nothing more inspiring than someone with patience and focus!

The nieceling, now almost five years old, tells me that she loves being an artist. I wonder if she will want me to teach her to knit or crochet or spin in the next few years? I hope so, and I hope I have the patience and focus to teach her. I learned when I was about eight, so I have a few more years before I need to figure out the best way to teach. I am confident with teaching spinning, less so with knitting, and not at all with crochet. We shall see what she asks for!

We forget, sometimes, that what’s now a fun and relaxing hobby used to be dirty, dangerous work. The girl in this 1908 picture is eleven and had been working at the spinning mill, probably long hard hours, for a year. What was it like for her when she was a beginner? Not as pleasant as when my mom taught me to knit, for certain. Unlike me and possibly the nieceling in a few years, this little girl probably had no choice in it, and yet she did it anyway. That’s inspiring in a whole different way.

To read what other people are writing for today’s prompt in Knitting and Crochet Blog Week, search Google for 3KCBWDAY3 or click here.

20 Responses

  1. Pumpkin says:

    I think that many of us who have been knitting or crocheting for a long time forgot how it was to be a beginner, I certainly have. It can be so frustrating, but so exciting at the same time! Oh no, now you have made me want to go out there and teach someone today!

    • Pirate says:

      I’ve taught a few people how to knit, but I’m much more confident teaching people how to spin. I think it’s easier to explain the basics and get someone started with a spindle.

      Even when I learned to crochet last year, I didn’t feel like a super-newbie because I’d been knitting for years and so many of the motions are the same. I didn’t have to learn about the best way to hold the yarn or how to keep the tension just so. But learning to hold one strand in each hand for colourwork… that makes me feel like a beginner all over again!

  2. Agothtale says:

    Intrepid knitting, you’re so right ! It can be scary at the start, but it’s so worth it !
    I hope you’ll teach your niece, teaching knitting must be really interesting, do you feel like you have to re-learn things you thought you knew ?

    • Pirate says:

      While I remember putting off turning my first sock heel for an embarrassingly long time, I admit I have a hard time now understanding how someone can be truly scared of knitting. I try to reassure them that it’s just yarn, a project can always be restarted, lifelines are our friends.

      The interesting thing for me, in teaching someone how to knit, is that I always feel as if I’m going to be a terrible teacher, but then my ‘student’ picks up on it really quickly. So either I’m a better teacher than I think I am, or knitting is actually quite easy. :) I do have to slow down and be much more conscious of the things I’m doing when I’m teaching, like how I tension the yarn through my fingers. Usually I have to do it a couple of times for myself before I can show someone exactly how I do it, because at this point it’s just muscle memory working for me.

  3. Sue says:

    Many of us remember our knitting teacher so fondly. Mine was my college friend Jan, who still inspires me to this day. With pleasure and much patience, I taught Pirate the basics. Now the teacher becomes the student, as I need nelp turning my first sock heel!

    It will be wondeful if our 5 year old takes up knitting when she gets older…that will truly be from l’dor vdor vdor (from generation to generation to generation).

    • Pirate says:

      I would be happy to help you turn the sock heel the next time we get together – you’ll just have to take your attention from your granddaughters for a few moments! :)

  4. Jen says:

    Good post! Yes, hurrah for all of us persevering to learn and get better at our craft. Also, thanks for reminding us of those who stitched for a living, making pairs and pairs of socks and stockings and gloves every week for pittance or working in textile mills. My grandmother worked in a textile mill in the carding room and would come home with cotton in her hair and still she crocheted afghans when she could. We are so lucky to be able to craft at our leisure, but it’s so important to keep it going!

    • Pirate says:

      My dad was in textiles. I used to love to go to “his” mill and see the spinning and weaving. He got a real kick out of seeing my drum carder!

  5. Vivianne says:

    I have a friend like this, I am so proud of her for completing her 1st project, a lovely shrug :-)

  6. Liz says:

    I really hope your niece will keep enjoying art and making things, whether that involves yarn or not :) A few of my friends talk about learning to knit in the future – I wish I could teach them, but we all live so far apart these days we rarely see each other, although we do email a lot!

  7. evelyn says:

    I have two incredible creative and talented adult nieces, one of whom I’m trying to inspire to return to her knitting. One thing that beginners sometimes have a hard time remembering is that it’s a process. If only knitting could be instant gratification, right?

    • Pirate says:

      If only *everything* could be instant gratification… but that sort of takes away from the fun of learning, in a way.

  8. autumngeisha says:

    One of the most challenging and rewarding crafty thing that I have ever done was to teach both of my nieces to knit. I am a thrower and they wanted to learn how to knit continental style, so it was quite a mess in the beginning. Yes, beginners deserve our praise!

    • Pirate says:

      I had the opposite once: I knit Continental, and I taught a friend who couldn’t grasp the concept of holding the yarn in her left hand even though she’d never knit or crocheted before. It just felt more comfortable to her in her right hand. So I muddled through as best I could!

  9. josie says:

    I think it’s so important to remember and honour the women (and men! but likely mostly women!) who came before us – whether they worked with yarns for pleasure or because they had to, at home or in factories…

    And yay for tiny humans and their creativity! I used to live with a miniature artist (she was my housemate’s young daughter), and I helped her learn to knit, too. Her tenacity was inspiring – even when the cast-on was reducing her to tears, she kept coming back to it, refusing to let anybody do it for her so she could get to the good stuff. And when she finally got it… oh, it was just incredible!

    • Pirate says:

      It must have been a great feeling to see her come to the understanding of how to get started with knitting. What a reward for you as the teacher!

  10. Kepanie says:

    Yes, we were all beginners at one time. I’ve been fortunate to be able to teach a couple of ppl. One really got bitten by the knitting bug and is happily knitting garter st scarves, cowls, and blankets.

%d bloggers like this: