Rustic knitting, we hear, is making yet another revival. Anecdotally, there is the clickety-clack of needles on the London, U.K. Circle line underground trains, (very apt) that stop at places like Westminster – the station for The Houses of Parliament – and various parts of up-market and fashionable Kensington. What are we to make of this? That perhaps, some of our parliamentarians and their cohort of support staff are preparing for austerity. Are they leading the way for the fashionistas who alight at the other stations on the line?

As a seven year old, I was put through the torture of girls’ classes to learn to knit. Sitting at a wooden desk, small as I was, using over-sized needles, a well used ball of wine red wool, was a clumsy and unproductive affair. There were loops on one needle, whether they reduced or grew I cannot relate. Even producing a red dishcloth with holes in it would have been an achievement. It was a relief when the class ended and the next one began.

Then, there was the bunny-making craft afternoon for girls. A significant group of girls were on the periphery of the activity, improving our running stitching skills without harming a bunny in the making, or at least, that’s what we were led to believe. The girls who were producing the prized toy sat smug and secure in their glory and in the light of the window. Thinking back, I wonder if some payment had to come from home to make bunnies. It was certain, that amongst those of us not making the toy, there were quite good, fairly small even stitchers. And,we were practising this eye-straining activity with white stitching yarn on well-worn white rags. Mercifully, I have no recollection of the size of the sewing needles, if, or, how many times someone may have pricked themselves.

I admit these early craft experiences were akin to an aversion therapy. Necessity though, meant I had to challenge that Armageddon. The current rise of interest in knitting and other crafts does not stir me into action now. I have already satisfied that perverse urge, I can do it if I want to.



  1. Very interesting! I grew up on a small island where all the women went around knitting all the time, because it was the only way to get socks and jumpers. They knitted as they walked, and as they rode side-saddle on donkeys. The only day they didn’t knit was Sunday! So I grew up taking it for granted that knitting was normal. I liked knitting socks on 4 needles – less likelihood of making a mistake – but I never mastered ‘turning’ the heel. Haven’t knitted for years though, and can’t see myself going back to it.

  2. Two ladies, now passed on, individually made bed socks and gloves without patterns. I have one or two pairs of the gloves. the bed socks were well used. The socks were a two needle affair till the heel was turned, then four came into use. The gloves were always knitted in the round till the ‘fingers’ and ‘thumbs’ were produced at stitch level. I cannot recall what happened from then on, although I think double ended needles may have been used.

    After I took myself to hand knitting, I became interested in the ‘in the round’ knitting and started to use the form.

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