Svenna Yildirim joins the LK blog to share how knitting has joined her family together across generations.
I am not sure what eventually made me take up knitting. My mother is an avid knitter, and I remember her trying to teach me when I was young. I knitted so tight she couldn’t get the needles into my stitches. Not the most patient teacher, she soon came out with an exasperated: “Just tell me what you want, I’ll make it for you!”
But I don’t think I wanted her to knit anything for me, I wanted to do it myself!
It took several years until, in my early twenties and 500 miles away from home, I finally bought some yarn, needles, and a beginner’s knitting book. The first things turned out very small (still a tight knitter, you see).
I made a hat for my now-husband, who didn’t wear any hats then and still doesn’t wear any now. I made a sleeveless jumper for myself and when I sewed up the seams, I sewed the neck opening shut, too. I knitted cardigans that were too ambitious, and shawls that I soon got bored of.
As a remedy to the latter, I started knitting baby clothes for a quick fix and instant satisfaction. Years and years before I had my oldest son, he had his little knitted wardrobe ready and waiting. I feared this was a bit strange until my mother-in-law showed me the drawer of baby things that she had been making for years!
Now I knit hats and cardigans, shawls and baby dungarees, for myself, others, to sell, and for my children. All right, I admit that my 5-year-old doesn’t think Mama-made handknits are quite cool enough anymore, but I’m sure he’ll get round to it again. I can be perseverant.
When I go home to Germany now, my mum and I spend our evenings knitting side by side. We share patterns and pore over yarn colour combinations. We talk on Skype once a week, and guess what we’re usually doing? It’s like our own little virtual knitting group.
I love how knitting bonds generations together. It’s an ageless passion and a craft that so many mothers have taught their children (even if I learned it from a book). My aunties, my grandmother, all of them are knitters. My great-great-grandmother is said to always have had her knitting in the pocket of her apron so that she could take it out and knit a few rows between stirring her pots. Maybe I should take up wearing aprons when I cook? Now there’s a thought. I am sure you know the feeling of stealing a little moment of knitting time, like a little breather from the rush of everyday life.
For me, knitting is about the process, not the finished product. That’s why I love giving my family handmade presents. Giving someone something you knitted is giving them the time you spent making it, time spent thinking of them, with your good wishes woven in between the stitches so they can wear a little bit of your love.
But the process of knitting also includes choosing a pattern, and yarn, and colours – I love every bit of it. From the first idea to actually sitting and knitting while the children play, or on the sofa in the evening, or while you have a coffee morning – all the while seeing something completely new take shape, one stitch at a time.
Knitting keeps me sane and my fingers busy so my mind can dream and wander. Isn’t it amazing what a bit of yarn and two sticks can do for you?
Read more of Svenna’s knitting adventures at stitchandpurl.wordpress.com