How to knit

The book I referred to earlier – Useful handicraft – arrived in the mail and so did the scanner. Now I am able to show some of the stuff I have been taught as a little girl. The 10th edition copy I got is from 1965 and the year I learned knitting must have been 1968. The book only addresses girls, and the teacher was obviously female as well. While we were doing needlework, the boys were taught how to play chess!

There was no such thing as You Tube in those days, so this is how the teacher was supposed to teach us:

Casting on

We will start now with learning how to cast on. The teacher has two thick wooden needles and very thick wool. Each girl has a ball of cotton plus two needles.  For the time being we don’t need needles, as the children first need to properly master how to wrap the thread around their fingers. The teacher first demonstrates a few times and then lets the girls go along as follows:

Opzetten - Casting on

De Nuttige Handwerken, Wolters, Groningen, 1965

  1. Measure a length of yarn and hold this point between thumb and index finger of the right hand.
  2. Put he index finger of the left hand under the thread, which is on the side of the ball of yarn, put middle finger and ring finger on top and the pink under again.
  3. The thread that we are still holding in our right hand, should be wrapped around our thumb and then we place it between ring finger and pink, over the pink. We keep our hand slightly bent, the loops on thumb and index finger over the first phalanx, thumb and index finger almost together.

Naaldenboekje - Needle booklet

Are you still there? No wonder so many of the girls developed a dislike of knitting. The projects we embarked on weren’t all that exciting either. In my memory my first product was an egg warmer – a little hat to keep you egg warm :-).

The book’s first project is this must-have needle booklet:

And here below the notorious doll’s dress. I asked my teacher if I was allowed to adjust the measurements as this one wouldn’t fit any of my dolls: not the Barbie nor the baby doll. But she wouldn’t hear of it. So it got buried in my little suitcase with useless projects.

nuttige handwerken-poppenjurkje

The YouTube way

For an easier way to learn knitting -besides following a course or workshop – here are a few really easy-to-follow instruction videos by Twirre, owner of  crafts store Handmade Heaven in Amsterdam-East.  It is all in Dutch but the images are self-explanatory.

And here are the links to  the next three classes.  Besides binding off these are all the basic techniques you need, everything else is just  different combinations of these four.

Another way of casting on, even knitting, and purling.

breien in amsterdam – knitting in amsterdam

Dear all,

As you know – or don’t know – I am going to develop a knitting course, to be given this fall in the East part of Amsterdam and I created this blog to practice making the website for this course: breieninoost.nl

This post is my very first attempt to publish something on-line. I am going through the WordPress instruction video, but am a little impatient and want to see results!

I think I also prefer learning by trial & error instead of going through all the instructions. I guess it will have to be a combination of both..

While I practice, I will keep a record of my experiences in this blog – until the real website goes live. There are a lot of new things to learn. I have made a start with collecting materials for my site:

  • images of self-made knitted materials
  • other types of illustrations
  • text for the site, in English and in Dutch
  • links to woolshops, other knitting courses and social knitting media

One illustration sample:

de nuttige handwerken

Useful handicrafts

This was the book that teachers used for handcrafts classes in primary school: “Useful Handicrafts”. Although I went to school in the sixties, the style and content of teaching was totally fifties – very old-fashioned. I found and ordered a copy of this book on internet and can’t wait to hear it drop in my mailbox! It will bring back memories of dropped stitches, sweaty needles and a mean teacher.

Related articles