Having taught me to knit, my mother could never actually bear to watch me doing it, I was so awkward. She, of course, tucked the pins under her arms, wound the yarn around her little finger and whizz she was off at twenty to the dozen. Meanwhile, I had needles dangling, each row had a different number of stitches and keeping a constant tension was definitely a bridge too far. My dollies' scarves all had 'buttonholes' in them.
Half a century on, I thought I would tackle four pins. Does that sound over-confident? Well, it should! I did have the great good sense to seek advice from a seasoned pro at our local Women's Institute and concentrated really hard when the needles were flashing before my eyes. I nodded sagely throughout and scuttled home to try it out in the privacy of home. There were one or two false starts. I was using four needles allright, but the knitting was still in a straight line! Once I'd sorted out how to go in a circle, I decided my best bet was to use some nobbly yarn to hide the imperfections. Wise move, as it turned out. There was, thankfully, no pattern to follow, so I could increase and decrease with gay abandon, creating my own unique shape.
So why this sudden impulse to revisit my inadequacies in the knitting arena? Well, I was inspired by some knitted vessels in Janet Edmonds' book 'three-dimensional EMBROIDERY'. Janet's are knitted with silk and paper string, and keep their shape and form beautifully. One particularly gorgeous creation looks just like a pomegranate. Unfortunately I was so impatient to admire my own efforts that I cast-off my 'pomegranate' rather too soon and the end result was more like a lumpy satsuma. But, hey, who says that's not what I set out to make! Nothing daunted, I'm at it again, bigger needles, not quite so much manic increasing and decreasing. But I can already see some little 'buttonholes' appearing .... thank goodness my mum can't see me!