In quiet times when I knit alone I find my mind wanders back into my past and folk I have spent time with.   This got me to thinking that we all share a love of crafting with wool, and how little we really know about each other in general.

I thought it would be fun to create this space on the forum for us to share a little about ourselves, as if we were sitting around a table with a hot drink, cake and biscuits creating together and chatting.

For example: - how long have you wool crafted and who inspired you to learn...?

What was the first item you completed....?

Have you any triumph or catastrophy stories...?

Where is your happy place to knit/crochet and what does time doing this mean to you....?

Share as much or as little as you feel.  I'm sure we'll have some happy and interesting stories to share.........

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Ha ha - I'm the nosey one in the middle reading the magazine with the dolly pegs on my apron, and full basket packed with bits and pieces, and you're surely the lady in the pink aran cardigan (as Aran is your wool of choice it seems!).   Class picture of us isn't it........?

Yes we are! I wonder what Patricia is finding so interesting in that magazine??

Cheeky!!

I laughed so much when I read your comment, Chris. It has cheered me up today.

Today, 13th June is the annual Knit in Public Day, alas in 2020 :

Still, KAS members will carry on regardless whether in private or in the open!

 This really made me grin ❤️

What an terrific discussion!  Thank you, Karen, for creating this space for us to pull up a chair and get to know each other better. 

I have enjoyed ‘meeting’ you ladies and hearing about your introduction to knitting and crocheting.  I’m feeling like the ‘oldster’ here.  I will be 72 this year.  I have two younger brothers, a younger sister and 3 older brothers, one of whom we lost in ’97.  I must admit that I am enjoying growing old.  No, I don’t like the added aches and pains, the new reasons for visiting my doctor, and my diminished hearing and eyesight, but I feel very fortunate to be given the opportunity to grow old :)  It is a privilege denied to so many …

I learned to knit and crochet so long ago that I can hardly remember what year that was.  Crochet was my first craft.  My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was quite young - perhaps 9 or 10 years old.  I remember sitting beside her as she very patiently showed me how to make stitches.  I also remember one evening, with just a small lamp turned on beside us, she said to me, “My dear, I don’t know how you can see your stitches!”  At that time, I didn’t quite understand why she was having a hard time seeing her stitches.  I must say now though, “Grandma, I know what you meant.” … hahaha

The first thing I made was this doily.  It's made using Aunt Lydia's Crochet Thread.  As you can see, it’s far from perfect but I was pleased with it - probably more because I actually finished it.  I've used it for years and I keep it to remind me that I didn’t always know how to crochet :)

My mother taught me to knit a year or so later.  She was an incredibly talented knitter, crocheter, tatter, Tunisian Crocheter, and seamstress.  I tried to learn tatting, but just didn’t seem to have the same knack for it - or perhaps it was lack of patience?  I still have some beautiful pieces that my mother and my grandmother made.

Over the years I have knit or crochet sweaters, sleeveless tops, more afghans than I care to count, curtains, dishcloths, hand towels, baby sets, little girl’s dresses, shawls, scarves and hats … the list goes on.   I never mastered socks or mittens, although I have made some that pass in a pinch.  When my two sons were young, I had very little time to devote to crafting and it sort of sat on the back burner until I retired and found my hands laying idle in my lap.  They didn’t stay there for long though, as I found such pleasure in connecting stitches.

Once I picked it up again, I began making everything I could think of.  I had so many knitted and crocheted items that I began giving them away to friends.  The last time I tried to offer something to a friend, she stopped me before I could get all the words out.  She said, “NO!  It’s gorgeous but I don’t need anything else!  You should be knitting for charity.” 

So I did some research and … well … here I am :)  I love our Square Circle Forum and the many KAS friends I have made here.  I am constantly learning new things from all of you and I appreciate the links, ideas, lessons, tips and tricks you share with us all.  Thank you :)

I am able to stay connected during winter, but summers are more difficult.  We spend a lot of that time at our cottage and since we have no Internet there, and since the library and other places I used to go to get connected are closed just now due to COVID-19, I lose touch until I can get back online either at a hotspot or when I am home for something - as I am at the moment ...

Gloria thank you so much for joining our chatting area.   I was beginning to feel there might only be 4 of us willing to open up and swap stories about our pasts'.   Your history is indeed vast and very interesting, and I notice the doily lies flat and to my eye looks great!   Something to treasure as you say..........

I've been really enjoying getting to know a little more about some of my 'sisters', especially at this time when we can't get to see our friends and family, and hoping more would join in with this great idea. So then I felt guilty - perhaps I should add my own contribution - so here goes:

I'm 73 (ahead of you there, Gloria), and come originally from the north-east of England (Karen, I love some of your 'northern-isms', even when they make me feel homesick!)  I came to South Africa in 2007, to marry my second husband - we met originally back in the 1960s, but that's a whole other story! We live in the southern suburbs of Cape Town.  I have one son and two grandsons, aged 6 and 8, who live in Derbyshire in the UK.  The worst aspect of the Covid 19 situation for me has been not being able to visit them, as I try to do every year.

My mother was a keen knitter, and I remember neighbours commenting on the lovely knits my brother and I always wore.  She taught us both to knit, but I was hopeless at it, and as I couldn't keep up with my brother who was way better than me, I more or less gave up for a long time.  Eventually I sorted out my fingers and thumbs, and by the time my son was born I was never without knitting on the go - couldn't sit down without needles in my hands.  Between my mother and me, my son always had a great variety of jumpers!

I continued to knit down the years (Aran sweaters became my particular passion), but eventually reached that point where we really didn't need any more pullovers, sweaters, cardigans ........ It's a great disappointment to me that my grandsons are hot little bodies who don't wear knitted jumpers, as I really love making children's clothes, and I had looked forward to keeping them supplied!

So I was ready for a new challenge when I came across Knit-a-Square in 2016 - I can't recall how I did so, but I do remember that I was instantly captivated, and immediately started knitting squares.  When my husband remarked on how much I was obviously enjoying what I was doing, I heard myself say, "I feel useful again" - I hadn't realised until that moment just how important KAS had become to me, and how much I was gaining from making a contribution.  I was also deeply touched by the warm welcome I received into the 'sisterhood', of which I immediately felt a part.

I had never learned to crochet (yes, my brother had got there first!), but had been cruising crochet sites on the internet, particularly Lucy at Attic 24, who I believe some of you are familiar with, and loved what I was seeing. KAS now gave me a reason to learn, and I surprised myself by how quickly I picked it up - I was so thrilled when I produced my first squares!  Now I always have three or four projects on the go, and must admit I prefer crochet to knitting. 

I'm often envious of the phenomenal output of some of my fellow-KASers, and wish I could make one or two blankets a month (there are so many patterns, etc, that I want to try), but I have to remind myself that it's not a competition, and 'every little helps'.

Finally, I just love being part of KAS, and feel both humble and proud to be a very small cog in this amazing wheel.  Living in South Africa, I see first-hand the dire conditions in which so many children are growing up, and knowing we are doing what we can to help is very special.

Karen, thank you for thinking of this topic. I have enjoyed reading the different accounts, and it's fun to get to know more about the names we see regularly on the Square Circle.

I'll be 75 in one month. That is my body age. The mind is more like 15; I hope that I never grow up.I was born in Cheshire, and lived in Shropshire, Kent and London, and Wales.  I now live in France, having met, fallen in love with and married a Frenchman 51 years ago. His mother was French and his father of Polish origin. We have a daughter who was born in Canada, where we lived for a while. At various times I lived in Malawi, Libya and Italy. But now I'm very happy to live in a beautiful part of France, in the countryside, with hubby and 2 cats. My daughter lives in the South of France.

My father was quite intellectually inclined, and I get my love of reading from him. But he also enjoyed gardening and DIY. My mother was very manual. She loved cooking knitting, crocheting and making stuffed animals. She tried to teach me to knit, but I never really enjoyed it. She was a dressmaker by training and made beautiful clothes. I treasured the stories she told of the war time constrictions. Her sister was married during the war and Mum made her a wedding dress from parachute silk.

At school we had cooking and sewing lessons. I hated both. One year I had 0% on my sewing exam. We had to make a pair of miniature rompers complete with bias binding around the leg and armholes. I just sewed everything together in a lump. Mum was so mad at me that she told me to find some material I liked and a pattern and she said that if I wanted I nice summer dress, I had to make it myself and that she would show me how. I did just that and was so proud once the dress was finished that I went on to be quite a good seamstress. This was a great help when I went on to university and had very little money. I bought lots of clothes in jumble sales and adapted them. It was fun. I also outfitted my daughter when she was a child.

Mum used to knit squares for charity, but I don't know what charity it was. She was 93 when she died and had gone blind a couple of years before. She went to a school for people with deficient vision so that she could go on knitting her squares.

I had been taught embroidery at primary school and I kept it up all through my life. It was the one thing that Mum didn't really like to do, although she would probably have been really good if she had wanted.

I am so grateful for the love of crafting that my mother passed on to me. I am rarely, if ever, bored. I took up crochet at the age of around 30. I thought it might be as bad as knitting, but, on the contrary, found it fascinating. Over the years crochet has been one of my great stress relievers. I always have a crochet hook and some yarn wherever I go. I had to have MRI scan one time and the wait was really long. By the time I'd had the scan, then waited to see if it had been satisfactory, I had crocheted 10 squares.

I still embroider a lot, although my eyes don't appreciate it and I'm due for a cataract op some time in the future.

I didn't know what to do after I retired and had made multiple afghans for all our beds and sofas. Luckily, I discovered KAS in 2012 through reading a cozy mystery which was centred around a knitting group. The ladies were knitting for charity. At the end of the book, there was a list of charities that needed knitted goods. KAS was one of them. I looked it up and was really hooked (pun intended!) by the story of Ronda and her family who founded KAS. I love being part of this and getting to know so many people all round the world.

I love reading the storys about each member!Ever so interesting!

Thank you Gloria, Lesley, and Valerie for your fascinating accounts. I thought this was such a good idea of Karen's so I'm really pleased more people are joining in. Lesley - I've now got to adjust your accent from South African to Geordie (or similar)!

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