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.

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Day 3 – Lost in Nostalgia

Today I got distracted when searching for the type of cotton yarn they gave to us in school back when I was first learning. I was wondering if there are still stores that sell yarn that is not very cool, 100 % natural, utterly beautiful but extremely expensive?

Yes, there are. I found a beautiful small shop, family owned since 1891 – 122 years. They have a webshop, where they are selling Durable cotton in every imaginable colour at € 2.60 for 50 grams only !

Het Kleine Winkeltje in Millingen.

het kleine winkeltje in millingen

They are selling underwear as well, solid, white, cotton underwear and old-fashioned pyjamas!

The pathway to perfection

This picture is from the book: “Vivilore: The Pathway to Mental and Physical Perfection” – 1904

The caption was: “Busy and Happy.”

Day two of building & blogging

Breien_in_lagere_school_in_woonwagenkamp

Day 2: I learned about the content of the kitchen sink button which enabled me to insert headings. I learned that I shouldn’t just copy and paste from Word, very important! And I learned how to link the posts to facebook, which I did to a small group of friends. I hope you appreciate this. The blog itself is public now, no need to restrict access, but until the self-hosted site goes live, no need for wider sharing yet.

Hip

Knitting is hip again! Wool and knitting stores are popping up across Amsterdam. Norwegian designers are creating home-knitted christmas decorations, knitting artists are wrapping lamp-posts in colorful knitted fabrics, throughout the country knitting cafes are abounding and on the internet you can get literally get lost in knitting blogs:

Sustainable

Knitting is okay! You can make your own clothing without involving underpaid textile workers locked in factories that are a fire hazard. It is sustainable due to the quality of self-made clothes, which is far superior to the  stuff you buy at shops like H&M for a few Euros. Knitting yarn can be re-used, you can make fun things out of leftovers. And if you use natural materials from an ecological source you can’t get any greener!