When I was pregnant for the first time, I didn’t know much about knitting. They tried to teach me in elementary school, but I hated it. The teacher told me I wouldn’t be able to knit properly because I was left-handed, the same reason she gave for refusing to teach me crochet. I wasn’t really interested anyway. I didn’t like what we had to make and I was very annoyed that the boys of my class got carpentry lessons (that would be so much more fun, I thought). Anyway, my mom wasn’t too much interested in knitting either (I remember a project lying in the bottom of our giant oak closet for years and years), but she helped me to finish the school assignments and that was it for a decade.
My in-laws though, they were much more into knitting. My mother-in-law was raised with knitting socks (no playing or reading before knitting a few rows each day) and though she was never really exited about a project, she always had something on the needles. I watched my sister-in-law knit a cute little sweater for her baby and I loved the idea of making things like that. So when I found out I was pregnant, I decided to knit too.
I photocopied (we’re talking 1991, so no internet) a pattern from a library book and bought a set of needles and some cheap acrylic yarn My plan was to make the babies matching, but not identical, sweaters and trousers. I’m not sure how I managed to read the pattern (nobody taught me) and get started, but I did. Sadly, a few weeks after I cast on, I was rushed off to the hospital for possible early labor and for the rest of my pregnancy I was on medication that helped stop the labor, but also caused very sweaty hands (I was told that was common). That was too much for my newish knitting skills. I also may have reached the harder part of the pattern, I don’t remember. But I do know I deserted my knitting, even though I did bring it with me to the hospital..
Anyway, short story long, I always wonder what would have happened if I had found inspiration on the internet those days. Reading knitting blogs and forums has taught me so much. Why didn’t anyone point out to me that knitting baby blankets would have been a wonderful project for a beginner and why didn’t anyone suggest that thicker needles and better yarn would have been much easier on my sweaty hands? If only someone had cared enough to help me with that, I imagine myself happily knitting myself through four weeks (total) in the hospital and another four (or maybe six? it’s a blur) weeks of not being allowed to do much at home. And oh, those first weeks after the girls were born, when they were still in the hospital and I wasn’t allowed to be with them all day (again: this was 1991). Knitting would have taken the edge off feeling so useless and empty.
Oh well, what’s done is done. You gotta put your behind in your past, as Pumba says in the Lion King (a favorite in our house ever since it came out – we still quote from it).
And right now, here I am, knitting a little blanket for my grandson. It brings back a lot of memories and there are some difficulties knitting it, but I’m trying to focus on visions of a happy, healthy little boy that will be wrapped in it, play on it and sleep under it in just a few months.
And yes, if my daughter (or any mom-to-be) decides she wants to knit something for him I will tell her to start with a simple baby blanket.