SPEND A DAY LEARNING A NEW SKILL. MINDFUL AND MIND FULL ( IN A GOOD WAY)
‘CAKE OF YARN’, ‘PURL’, ‘garter stitch’ – there are phrases unique to knitting that are as soothing as the pastime itself. What there isn’t, as our group of beginners discusses on a Tuesday night at Tea & Crafting, is a knitting emoji. I can feel a petition coming on… but perhaps I should learn to knit first.
I have tried it before as a child. My Auntie Ruby patiently took me through the basics, back when I was into Nik Kershaw and Clockhouse at C&A. But it’s all a blur, as I pick up the needles and wool provided. There are six of us – all complete beginners – and our tutor Nessa begins by showing us how to cast on (create stitches). With a small group, we can learn at our own pace, and we’re given individual pointers where needed. The aim of the workshop is to create a small patch of knitting – Nessa calls it a ‘Barbie dress’, but I think Barbie would find it wanting (no sleeves, no back). I learn there are two stitches that are my bread and butter: learn to knit and to purl and you can do anything, says Nessa, channelling Julie Andrews’ Do-Re-Mi. I feel empowered.
We manage a few rows of garter stitch (wavy-looking, knit stitches), followed by stocking stitch (arrow-like – knit, then purl), then thankfully it’s time for tea and a chance for my tense fingers to unfurl. Part Two involves learning rib (think cuffs) and moss stitch – both of which use varied combinations of knitting and purling (Nessa was right). My finished Barbie dress looks a little more crocheted than knitted, but I feel inspired to practise until my tension and neatness is scarf-worthy. Even if it means waiting till Christmas 2019…