I was 7 or 8 years old when I received a knitting kit for Christmas. I don't have any recollection of the actual event, or the person who gifted me said kit, but I do remember the lightness of the flimsy cardboard box and its contents being indiscernible to me. I'd never seen anyone knitting and didn't really know what it was.

It was probably several months later when I asked my mother to unravel the cryptic directions included in the kit. I'd grown tired of fondling the short, yellow plastic needles and holding the scratchy hot pink ball of yarn. There had already been several failed attempts at following the directions for the knitting loom and in childish impatience, I'm sure I was ready to give up. That's when mom came in and showed me the ropes.

Odd how some memories remain so clear and others so blurry. I can recall the precise way that the sun rays came through the old Victorian style windows and formed geometric patterns on the sage green carpet. The door to the enclosed porch in front of our corner house was open and the smell of aging books drifted in with the scent of fresh floor paint. There was probably snow outside, but the biting cold didn't touch us in our cozy living room.

I sat in my mother's lap while she manipulated the yarn around the bendable needles. I think she had to remember herself how to cast on before she could show me. At some point she had about 15 stitches on the needle and she started the process of creating fabric. I was mesmerized. I was hooked from the very moment I saw the fabric form off the needle and go from a single strand of twisted fibers to a thing of substance and stability.

My small hands struggled desperately to mimic my mother's movements, to catch the yarn and slip it off the needle in a perfect little stitch. After much trial and error I did succeed and went up to my room to practice. Days later the whole teaching process began again as I tried to continue my work after I'd already forgotten the steps.

One thing my mother failed to teach me was how to bind off, so all my "projects" ended with a strand of yarn sewn through the live stitches and knotted. The only thing I ever completed around that time was knitting an entire ball of variegated red/green/white Christmas yarn into a six-stitch-wide flat rope about 8 feet long. Every weekend when my brother and I would stay at my grandparents' home and sleep on an open sleeping bag next to their bed, my grandma would ask me, "What are you knitting?" I'd lie and say it was a secret. In reality I had no idea what I was knitting, I was knitting for the simple act of just making something. I loved watching the long strip of fabric grow and stretching it out over the floor. A few years down the road I wound the rope around itself, sewed it securely into a potholder and gave it to my father as a gift. It was my first FO (finished object).

Many years went by before I made anything else. It's funny to look back and remember even then having a yarn stash... even though I didn't know what to do with my stash or my new found skill with knitting needles. After I made the move back to Germany and had my own apartment I found my desire to knit springing up again. That week I found Knitting Help, learned the provisional cast on method (aka the long-tail cast on), bought my first metal needles and some yarn...

What ensued after that was knitting madness as I wiled away the empty hours at work and at home, often knitting with my best friend who kept me hopped up on black Turkish tea far into the wee hours of morning.

Oddly enough, that second FO was a very long blanket that again became a gift to my father.

Thanks to Nessa Knits for the inspiration to blog about my first knitting experiences.

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