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Name: knitabulous
Location: Mt Keira, New South Wales, Australia

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I learned to knit from and evil bitch who hated me

1 Oct 2006

I've been reading all these beautiful posts about learning to knit at the adoring grandmother's knee and that got me thinking.

As you may know, my mother hates me knitting. It makes her angry to see me doing something that she sees as lazy and indulgent, I should be scrubbing the floor or ironing or binge shopping in the mall - like proper women do. Needless to say she doesn't know how to do it, so I didn't learn from her.

I have often credited my paternal grandmother with teaching me to knit, but I think the reality is that she taught me to crochet as a child. I remember one school holidays when we were staying at her house in far western NSW with my sister and cousins and we were all crocheting these endless granny square blankets. That's what I was doing when I heard Elvis had died.

When I was in year 8 we had an two-day excursion to a place in NSW called Hill End. We panned for gold and generally mucked up. On the first night a few of us did the perfectly natural thing for a bunch of 14 year old girls to do, we had a mock 'levitation session' (obviosly with the skinniest girl), using a made up mantra and a few candles for atmosphere.

Anyway, we were caught in the act by a supervising parent. She went off her nut, calling us 'evil girls' and that we were going straight to hell and that god had forsaken us blah blah blah.

The next morning, this mother had whipped herself up into a frenzy of rosary induced insanity. She walked up to the table I was having breakfast at, looked straight at me and said "I want you to know that what you did last night had the devil in it. And I know you, Ailsa, were at the centre of it". She flounced off.

We all burst into laughter, she was even more furious. She wrote an awful letter to the school about how we should be expelled or exorcised, and there was an enormous brouhaha involving detentions, parental intervention and lots of praying for forgiveness.

The next term I enrolled in a knitting class at school. Who should be the 'teacher' of such class? You guessed it, the same woman who thought I was the spawn of satan. So, armed with my ill-sized needles, little bootie pattern, cheap kmart yarn of incorrect thickness, I struggled through a full term being completely ignored, picking up tips whenever she spoke to one of the other students.

I learned to knit to spite her.

And, in the true and glorious irony of life, her daughter is gay. I wonder how she prays that away?

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