Recently I’ve taken up knitting. Anyone who knew me in primary school and witnessed my epic battles with a pair of plastic needles and a ball of cheap wool would no doubt be horrified.
I was a dreadful knitter. I despised it. Many a night I spent in mute misery not being able to sleep from the sheer terror of knowing tomorrow morning I’d have to uncover my efforts from inspection. None of the neat, careful rows of pretty woollen squares carefully folded up in the tidy, sweet-smelling old Quality Street tins of my classmates for me, mine was a tear-stained, grime-smeared, twisted and tortured rag of knots stuffed in a Dunnes Stores bag.
The needles were that foul ‘bathroom’ shade of pink with large knobbly tops which I used to chew so much that the top part had faded to a milky white. They also made excellent accessories for cat poking and were covered in scratches. I’m ashamed to admit I still chewed them even after the cat had.
The wool was justifiably cheap – anything else would’ve been sacrilege in my paws. There were two colours, a ‘school paint bottle’ red (remember how that smelled?) and a dull navy. And yes, I chose them myself. I believe the plan was to knit a scarf for a doll or something equally basic but I simply never could get the hang of it. The woman with the unhappy job of teaching me was a lady by the name of Mrs Shannon and a kinder, more motherly woman may never have entered the teaching profession before or since, but nevertheless those Wednesday afternoons were torturous. Every week she would take up my knitting in amazement, sigh and with a gentle admonishment of ‘But how on earth did it get like THIS, Jude’ would calmly riiiiiiiiiiip back and ‘start me again’.
Years later while careering into adulthood, I joyfully set about putting my knitting needles and childish ways behind me. But somewhere along the line something changed and I found myself inexplicably looking at the delightfully goodie crammed craft shops with more than a little interest. And then one summer, the combination of being unemployed and laughably cash-strapped resulted in my actually completing a wildly coloured, extraordinarily long if slighted wonky scarf.
But odder still was the realisation that not only could I remember the stitches with relative ease, finish the project without abandoning it in an almighty huff, I was actually enjoying knitting.
Recent attempts at double point knitting (woolly sock time!) have been slow, but slowly successful having roped in my mother to teach me the basics. The poor woman gave up an entire weekend to teach me to turn a heel. And in glorious biting-off-more-than-I-can-chew form I’m slightly worried at just how many people I’ve promised to make socks for.
I’m still only learning, have monstrous problems following a pattern and am constantly undoing something I’ve worked on for an entire month but stick on Coronation St, hand me my needles and wool and I’m a happy girl. I don’t understand what exactly has fallen into place for me to enjoy knitting, but am heartedly glad something’s ‘clicked’ into place.
Oh yes, I did just go there.