Knitting and poetry do go together, as I found out earlier this week when I led my first ever knitting workshop, combining it with some poems of my own about knitting and sewing.
I began by talking briefly about my own knitting practice. I learned to knit aged four, when my mum taught me. I made a cardigan for my big doll, which she wore for years. It was in yellow garter stitch, and by the time I had finished it, it was grey from all the times it has been undone and fixed by mum. When she died, I felt compelled to finish her knitting project: a deep turquoise cardigan.
I’ve had a passion for knitting ever since, and have always knitted, apart from a break during my teaching years when I just had too much marking to do. I have a fund more stories about my early efforts. I adapt and even invent patterns, love cable, lace and Fair Isle, and rejoice in lovely yarns and wooden needles, which are lovely to knit with. The scarf pictured here, I made from two balls of alpaca bought at a car boot sale for £1 each. I used a lace pattern I already knew how to do. I love the wavy edge it creates.
Knitting is a lot like poetry. Each piece is unique and the pleasure of finishing each piece gives me a buzz. I am always planning what I am going to make next and often have a queue of ideas and several projects on the go at the same time. That is exactly how I work with my poems too.
Knitting can even be a subversive activity. A trend for knitted external pockets I started in school ended up being so popular it was banned!