I learned to knit as a child. My mother taught me. I knitted through my teenage years and into university. Then, I put my needles down. I’m not sure why: maybe it was my job with its long hours, shift pattern and UK-wide travelling. When I next picked up my needles, much had changed: modern circulars; interchangeables; independent local yarn shops; YouTube tutorials; and Ravelry! Hats, scarfs and mitts flew off my new single-pointed needles but I lacked the skills or knowledge to progress further.
So, on the day of returning from a family holiday touring round northern Portugal, I dropped my bags and headed out the door to travel up to Stirling for a one-day Finishing Techniques course run by Carol Meldrum at McArees. Saturday 10th August 2013 was one of those pivotal days that come along in life occasionally. I learned to pick up stitches with precision accuracy, to sew up seams with seemingly invisible yarn, and to create flawless buttonholes! More importantly, Carol’s knowledge, enthusiasm and endless patience were inspiring. Knitting which previously had been a casual aquaintence, within the space of a day became a very close friend! Carol encouraged us to take notes during the course. I hadn’t brought a proper notebook so on the train back to Edinburgh that evening, I started thinking about what sort of notebook I wanted: A5, hard cover, square paper, and an elastic band to close the book. A pocket of some sort would be a bonus! After trawling the Internet, I found it: the Habana Graph Notebook A5 from Quo Vadis.
And so it started. First page was copied notes from Carol’s class. Second page was a stuck-in photocopy of a sleeveless pullover pattern from one of my knitting books. Then I thought, why not add details of yarns and needles used, and the project start date. It snowballed: yarn samples, pattern amendments, and finally a photo of the finished article were added. Washi tape started to play a big part in my life! That Museum of Modern Art tape purchased on a previous trip to New York suddenly found a use. Other multicoloured, patterned or pastel Washi tapes followed.
The notebook had surreptitiously slipped from a few course notes and patterns, to a chronological documentation of my knitting projects and progress. When the first notebook was full, a second and now nearly a third have been filled.
And, always in the back pocket I keep my most treasured class and workshop notes: Carol’s Finishing Techniques; Clare Devine’s Kitchener Stitch picture tutorial; and Tom of Holland’s notes on darning.