On the morning of the workshop I felt excited, but also quite nervous. What if I was all fingers and thumbs, and it was like using chopsticks? I’m shamefully bad at using chopsticks…
I was the last to arrive, and took my seat around the table with six other ladies. My session was run by Natalie, whose hands you may have seen in many of Wool & The Gang’s online video tutorials, and whom I met for the first time at The New Craft House kit launch party last year.
Natalie gave us a cup of tea and a biscuit alongside a reassuring introduction to knitting and what we’d be covering in the session. Over the course of two and a half hours, Natalie taught us how to cast-on, cast-off, and how to knit three basic stitches – knit stitch, purl stitch and rib stitch.
In case you’re not sure of the difference (and who would blame you), knit stitch looks like a ‘V’, purl stitch looks like a ‘bump’, and rib stitch (a combination of knit and purl) creates columns. In fact, all knitting patterns (garter, stockinette, moss) are a combination of knit and purl stitches.
Many people in the group had done knitting before, albeit it many moons ago, so it came back to them pretty quickly after a few prompts. It certainly took me a bit longer – I had to really fight my brain to learn a new muscle memory (possibly going out the night before was not a huge help…)
By the end of the session we were supposed to have a knitted square, comprised of three different stitches. I was so slow getting my head around the first stitch, that I only managed a few lines of this. As a result, my ‘square’ looked a bit like a birthday cake (I might pretend that I did that on purpose).
As well as learning a new hand-eye coordination skill, my brain learnt a new language. Before Tea and Crafting, ‘cast off’ meant to push a boat away from the shore; ‘Pearls’ were worn on a lace around a neck. I even left with the ability to have whole new conversations – “Can you purl?”
Natalie warned us that we might forget some of what we’d learnt if we weren’t able to do it often, so advised that we watch YouTube videos to prompt us; Tea & Crafting have a channel here.
As well as taking away our finished ‘squares’, we got to take home our knitting needles and thread, so we can continue practising. As with any craft, practice makes perfect! *fingers crossed*
It may seem daft, but I decided to frame my knitted ‘birthday cake’ and put it on the wall. Hopefully one day I can look back at it, and remember how far I’ve come. It makes me think of that old proverb – “From small seeds grow mighty trees.” Maybe one day my cake will be a scarf!
Overall, I had a fantastic time and urge any wannabe-knitters to head to this class. It’s a great way to meet new people, learn to knit, and train your brain, and they offer more advanced classes too.
The beginner’s workshop costs £40 for 2.5 hours, and though it felt like a lot of money to part with at the time of booking, it was well worth every penny, thanks to Jane and the team!
If you, like me, are keen to try a new craft, why not join in with the latest #CraftBlogClub resolution challenge? You don’t have to end up with a finished item – a work in progress also counts!
Finally, I leave you with one question, “Can you purl?“