Who taught you to knit?

Nancy Haught of the Oregonian (local paper) featured Larissa Brown’s “My Grandmother’s Knitting” book in a recent newspaper article and blog post. She interviewed several local designers including Brown, Kristin Spurklund, Leigh Radford, and Chrissy Gardiner about who taught them to knit.

I sent in a comment about my Aunt Rose teaching me to knit, and it ended up being in Nancy’s next blog post.

(Aunt Rose shopping at Twisted on a visit to Portland)

Who taught you to knit? Have you thanked them lately?

17 responses to “Who taught you to knit?

  1. My algebra teacher taught me to knit. There were three of us–my archenemy, me, and our mutual best friend. (Don’t ask how that happened.) I desperately would love to thank her, but she passed away from cancer almost a decade ago. Every year around her birthday I have thought about getting in touch with her husband to share my fond memories, but never did. When I looked again for his information this year, I learned that he too had passed away. Very sad.

  2. I am self-taught via books and youtube videos…and I thank myself every time I buy extra fabulous yarn!

  3. My late grandmother taught me how to knit when I was 7. I’ve been knitting off and on for 40 years, but unfortunately she passed away 9 years ago before I got really serious about it. I like to think she’d get a kick out of the knitting that I (and my mother, her daughter) do these days.

  4. My “aunt” Shirley taught me to knit. I’ve honored her a couple of times with a blog post. Sadly she is no longer with us.

  5. linda gaylord

    my maternal grandmother and my mother both played a hand in teaching me to knit when i was a little girl.my grandmother lived with us and she passed away when i was 9yrs old.my mother just passed away this past monday,and i have inherited what remains of her needles,books and yarn.i wasn’t able to teach my daughter how to knit.she couldn’t master it.and she gave me two grandsons.my son is getting married this weekend,and i am hoping for future granddaughters so that i have a chance to pass on my skills!!

  6. Oh that’s wonderful! Yes, I always think about who taught me to knit. The wonderful “old” lady who lived behind my house. She was my friend’s grandmother. We’d cut through the yard to sit in her kitchen where she taught us to knit and crochet and fix our mistakes. I don’t think I ever finished a project, but years later I did! It was a special time growing up – with endless summers and best friends on my street. Sadly, my friend (whose grandma taught us) died at age 17 of a rare epileptic seizure. It was so unexpected…so I think of both of these special people when I knit.

  7. A friend taught me the simple knit and purl stitch over a cup of coffee. Other than that, I am self-taught.

  8. Wait a minute: your FIRST knitting project was a sweater in the round?!? Mine was a lumpy scarf that widened and narrowed all by itself and had “eyelets” from dropped stitches…

  9. Reading these posts was very reflective & inspiring; I sat here & thought about how little I knew ‘back then’ that knitting & crocheting would be such a character builder for me & a link to connect with others . . .wow! I learned to knit & become a yarn fan when I was 8 years old, well over 40 years ago now; I was left-handed so my mother would sit on the bed & I would sit opposite her & follow her motions. I love the feeling of knitting & where it takes me to . . .a warm memory.

  10. Thanks for sharing your knitting stories! Even if you’re self-taught, it’s so nice to have knitting buddies to hang out with.

  11. My mother was talented in all the needle arts. She sewed exquisite evening dresses for herself, bed spreads and curtains the the house and she made lots of clothes for us kids. She was also skilled in quilting, cross stitch and crewel. Her biggest talent however was knitting and needlepoint. She always had something in her hands. She knit constantly for us 5 kids when we were young and of course for my dad and herself. She learned her needlepoint skills from Shay Pendray who owned a needlepoint studio near our house and our house was literally filled with pillows, chair covers, and wall hangings all made with the finest silks, wools and cotton yarns. My mom, of course taught me and my four older brothers all to knit, sew and needlepoint. I learned when I was extremely young, probably 4 or 5 years of age. I can’t even remember her actually teaching me. I still have the red plastic needles that I knit with when I was a kid. I just remember having balls of yarns that I would knit up and rip out and start again. My first project was a hat and scarf I knit for my cat (!) made out of red and yellow acrylic yarn. I made that poor cat where that lovely ensemble. I didn’t actually knit a garment until I was in college. I came home one summer and announced I wanted to knit a sweater. My mom promptly took me to a yarn shop and got me set up to make a cotton tank top. After that top, I made a beaded wool sweater using two different yarns. I was off and running and haven’t stopped since! When my brother was in college in the 70s he took a couple terms off school to go backpacking in Maine (we lived in Michigan). Because my mom had taught us all of these skills, my brother sewed his own down jacket and sleeping bag, knitting himself a pair of mittens and needlepointed a one inch wide band for his fedora. Impressive for a young 20 year old boy! My mom is 85 now and can’t knit and needlepoint much any more. When we moved her out of her home recently she had boxes and boxes of needlepoint and sweaters, many dating back to the 40s and 50s. She also had closets and boxes full of unfinished projects. It was painful, but we had to get rid of a lot of it. Knitting is the best, most satisfying and relaxing activity I know and I so appreciate my mom’s patience in teaching me all the crafts she taught me when I was young.

  12. I taught myself to knit, but my grandma provided the diy base. She taught me to sew, and we did all kinds of crafty projects. Knitting was just something else to do with bits of yarn. I miss her.

  13. My mom taught me to knit years ago. I would do stuff off and on as I got older, but it wasn’t until about 4 years ago that I really started knitting all the time.

  14. So interesting to read all these stories. I rarely read the paper, but did see that particular article, too! I think my aunt deserves credit for being the one to teach me how to knit, but it didn’t stick. I learned again 21 years ago from Julie at Island Wools in Friday Harbor, WA. It stuck. I was lucky enough to be able to show my aunt some of the projects I had completed before she passed away, I think she was pleased!