My mother taught me to knit when I was about four years old. That was during rationing time so some of the wool was obtained from unravelling jumpers etc. donated by kindly relatives. Most of the wool was 2 or 3 ply, so didn’t grow very fast!

My mother was an expert knitter and was the person the extended family turned to when they wanted a complicated pattern made up, and pattern was made by fairisle or series of different stitches.

When wool came off ration the makers started introducing more variety in colours and thicknesses and what were called “novelty” wools. These might be random dyed or have silk twisted into them, but you still had to use a variety of stitches to give a different texture. Every neighbourhood had at least one wool shop and most department stores had its own wool dept. (usually presided over by a keen knitter, who could tell you how much wool you would need and give general knitting advice).

 All the women’s magazines had at least one knitting pattern in their pages and periodically gave a pull out supplement of patterns. 

I used to knit quite a lot and increased my versatility when I lived in Norway and knitted fairisle sweaters with oiled wool on circular needles.

Over the years, as sweaters and cardigans became cheaper (due to imports) and wool shops became harder to find I did less and less. In recent years I have done very little, just the odd jumper or hat for my grandsons.

My daughter, Jennie, is a keen knitter and has occasionally tried to waken my interest in it. Recently I went with her to a craft shop and was amazed at the huge variety of yarns available now. They truly are “novelty” yarns now, with shiny bits, knobbly bits and fringes all twisted into the yarn, so that even stocking stitch produces an interesting texture.

When I couldn’t find the little bolero type jacket I was picturing, to wear with evening dress on the cruise, (at my age upper arms need to be covered!), she suggested I should make one and then proceeded to find a site on line which sold all the well known brands at discount prices. I have just started to knit it and find it very strange. I am using “Firefly”, which is composed of two thin fibres with silky bits held between them. The knitting needed is simple and grows quite quickly, but it is very difficult to count the stitches and rows, so I have to concentrate more on it and can’t read at the same time.

 I am having to resort to marking each row on a bit of paper, but at least it is just knit and purl.

I don’t know what my Mum would have thought of these yarns, but I guess she would have taken it in her stride and put me to shame.:)