Who Taught You How to Knit?

Grandmother/ Mother
26% (72 votes)
Grandfather/ Father
1% (2 votes)
Brother/ Male relative
0% (1 vote)
Sister/ Female relative
3% (9 votes)
Male Friend
3% (7 votes)
Female Friend
16% (43 votes)
Significant Other
3% (9 votes)
Books, Internet tutorials
37% (102 votes)
I joined a knitting club/ class before I started knitting.
5% (13 votes)
I swear, I didn't have any training at all. I picked up a pair of needles and tada, a sweater spun out.
6% (16 votes)
Total votes: 274


MMario's picture

I'd like to see the split between grandmother and mother...
MMario - ambiguity is cultivated, it doesn't happen in a vacuum!

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

i almost split it up! i was going to split up the grandmother/mother grandfather/father categories, but i thought it'd be too detailed.

aferriols's picture

I bugged my grandma about it and thankfully she relented. She said she held out because boys don't knit. Bless her heart.

rjcb3's picture

My grandmother started ALL the grandchildren out at 5. I was just lucky enough to be raised by her and be around her so she can help me out if I got a snag or so -- which there were many.

Turns out that of all of the grandchildren, eight girls and five boys, I'm the ONLY one that continued knitting (and other crafting!)


ManMadeKnits's picture

You left out "Japanese woman who is friend to my host mom and mother of the boy who didn't go to school until he found out there was going to be a big white guy teaching English."

"The only sin is mediocrity." --Martha Graham

I so wanted to use this one:

I swear, I didn't have any training at all. I picked up a pair of needles and tada, a sweater spun out.

But alas, that would be a fib! Self taught all the way. I found a local shop that is new that may be offering classes.

ann g's picture

Actually I learnt it at school, while the boys had to learn something else (can't remember what)...

bearknit's picture

A male friend got me started, but after posting a question to an AOL Knitting board, I started corresponding with a lady from Colorado. Before we actually met in NYC, we sent IMs and photos back and forth for over 2 years. She gave me many pointers over the "Interknit."

It was a joint venture between my mom and my dad, but my dad and I are both left handed, so the lion's share of the teaching fell to him. It didn't work so well, then many years later, my fiance taught me again. So, now I knit right handed, the way she taught me.


murfpapa's picture

I was curious watching my aunt Agnes (who could be Hyacinth of "Keeping Up Appearances") winding balls of yarn and casting on without even looking at the yarn or needles. She was working MAGIC! Grandma had a few plastic needles and a few balls of yarn in the bottom of her china cabinet and I was sorely tempted to take a few but I didn't.
Instead, after kite flying season, I'd go gather the mass of tangled kite string from the field down by the high school and spend weeks untangling it and winding it up into balls. Then in the kitchen I found metal turkey trusses in the silverware drawer, those spiky metal needles with the circular hoop at one end and point on the other, and stashed them in my sock drawer. I taught myself how to pull a loop up, then another through that (chain stitch ala crochet but with a needle, not a hook). That eventually became a series of twisted loops on one truss-needle that begat a series of loops with other loops springing from them more like knitting but with a really flimsy edge.
Then, at about 12 years of age I abandoned all needle craft after my little brother found my "stash" and brought it to the parents' attention. After discussion what was proper for boys and for girls, I let mom have the trusses back (after all, they WERE for cooking) and put away the string and yarn (though we still unwrapped golf balls, but that's another story).
Then in 1973 I got married to a gal who was great at making her own clothes (sewing) but needed help with putting in zippers. Analytical fool that I am, I read the directions and showed her how it all fit together, then she took up crocheting (a really hideous thick rug if I recollect). Again, she had some questions so for once, I read directions on crocheting then started checking out books from the library on knitting and crocheting and it just progressed from there. I wasn't heavily into it though until I gave up smoking in 1997 and I needed to find something to keep my hands busy instead of reaching for a cigarette so yarn work and other crafts became the solution.
Despite the gender role talk the parents gave me, Mom was very pleased to get for Christmas one year, an afghan done in the afghan stitch with counted cross stitch violets all over it. She was proud of it and showed it to all the family, even to disapproving Aunt Agnes (who later made the comment to mom that HER son was NORMAL! That was on the way to the funeral of their oldest sister and I'm proud to say after mom launched into Aunt Agnes from the back seat with both hands flailing, dear Auntie arrived at the funeral with her hair mussed and a few spots of it were missing entirely, lol. Mom was half the size of Auntie but a spitfire).
From that point on, I ceased caring what people thought and take my knitting or crocheting anywhere I go, be it on trips, an airplane (haven't flown in a while so I don't know how that's changed after 911) and just 3 weeks ago I got a lot done waiting in my doctor's office ( 3 appointments in one day in the same hospital running from 7 am to 4:30 pm). So, basically, self-taught but inspired by many people along the way and still a lot to learn.

steve_c's picture

Thanks to a flatmate I was introduced to knitting. I had just moved into a share apartment and she was knitting a jumper made out of VERY thick wool (read: just short of being classified as rope - I wish I could remember the ply) using very big needles (read: add flat bits to the ends and you could row a boat with them). The pattern involved ribs and cables. My none-to-subtle hints at encouraging her to make one for me resulted one day in her walking me into the wool shop, shoving the pattern card into my hand, pushing me to the counter and walking out of the shop. The man who ran the shop assumed that I was wanting to make the jumper and asked me all sorts of questions about it to determine what yarn / needles etc I wanted. He may as well have been speaking Swahili, so I would answer to the affirmative if I thought he wanted me to say yes and vice versa. The upshot was that I went home and my flatmate showed me how to knit, purl, cast on and cast off ( I have since tried in vain to show her the many OTHER ways of the latter). The rest was up to me. At the time I was doing some home care work for people who were ill and had a client where my shift went from 9pm till 7am. It was perfect for sitting and working out how to do this thing called knitting. Being so thick, the wool was also perfect for seeing what the yarn was doing so I could correct mistakes etc. I finished my jumper before my flatmate finished hers.

Darrel's picture

Maw-maw taught me how to crochet when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. A couple of years later, my Aunt Nora taught me how to do needlepoint. A few years after that, my Aunt Jackie taught me cross-stitch, which led to crewel. And then... computers, computers, computers.

Fast-forward about 15 years or so. I was in Macy's and becoming very displeased that every sweater I liked was exceedingly plain and around $400. I knew there must be a better way!

I walked across Union Square to Borders and picked up a horrid book whose name I can't even remember, but there were errors in the illustrations on how to do the knit stitch – I believe fig. 2 and fig. 3 were identical. I then stumbled upon KnittingHelp.com, realized my mistakes, and finally started making some progress!

RareSteek's picture

I am, for the most part, a self taught knitter (with a lot of help, of course, over the years). It begin when I was doing a 40 day retreat in silence and was advised to bring a quiet, contemplative type craft to work at from time to time. I brought needles, yarn, a good 'how to' book, and a sweater pattern. I still have the cable sweater I made those 22 years ago. Hardly worn. lol



Self taught using a terrible little magazine from the local JoAnns by my college, and random websites.

Sadly, there is no option for

Self taught, THEN taught my mother!

Paz y Respeto

Paz y Respeto

crmartin's picture

We had a live in housekeeper/sitter when i was about 7-8 yrs old. She was a very prolific crocheter and knitter and she taught me. When I was a little older I would knit and crochet doll clothes for my sisters barbies and my dad would take them to work and sell them. I had more orders than I could handle. I continued making small projects for several years and just stopped all of a sudden about 15 years ago. I am now just getting back into it. I bought a knitting machine and have been experimenting with that. I also just started a pair of socks by hand using the single circular needle method. So far I am really enjoying knitting again. I found an excellent video on youtube of continental knitting and am in the process of learning that.


My maternal grandmother taught me to knit and my paternal granmother taught me to crochet. After many years, I still like to do both and feel good about carrying on this heritage. Interestingly, I don't know of any of my many cousins learning to do either craft.

DutchJan's picture

My mother taught me in the late 70's knitting in secret ,because my father didn't like when boys were doing 'girly" things in our family from 3 brothers and no sisters. Maybe he was afraid that I would become gay of enjoying the textileworld. I studied social studies and during that time we all knitted in the classroom during lessons and talked about patterns etc. I had my coming out (yes Dad, I am gay but not because of that knitting ;-)during the last year of my study. After that I studied Fashion Desing at artschool and was fascinated by all apects of textiles. I didn't do knitting in my final collection but things like embroidery, dying, macrame were in it.
My mother passed away alsmost 7 years ago but I am still gratefull that she has taught me all knit and purl actions


I spent $4.00 when I was 12 and bought the book, set of #8 Boye needles and a skein of yarn (over 40 years ago) and taught myself the English method. Parents were abusive and I would hide from them and practice knitting. It would shut them up when they saw me doing something "constructive." I went to a fibre retreat in Missouri 5 years ago and had an elderly lady teach me Continental because arthritis in my shoulders would flare up on the English method. Continental cut my sock knitting time in half.

Cosmo's picture

Five minutes online.... that's all I usually ever need ;)

My Wife

My wife kept on looking at sweaters and shawls and saying that would be nice but in this color. Or "That's to expensive!" So I learned so that I can give her those things!!

gre8dean's picture

I wear a tee shirt that says: "Man enough to knit. Strong enough to purl." That says it all.

I wear a tee shirt that says: "Man enough to knit. Strong enough to purl." That says it all.

KoiPondJD's picture

I was inspired to crochet and knit from the beautiful blankets created by my Grandmother and Aunt. Inspiration didn’t come with 1:1 lessons from these talented women but from books I purchased when I was about 12. Crocheting was easy and I started with granny squares. One wouldn’t expect a son to teach his mother how to crochet but I did. I crocheted several afghans in a variety of patterns before taking a 25 year hiatus from the craft. I got a renewed interest in early 2007 from the DIY Network “Knitty Gritty”. I didn’t find knitting as easy as crocheting but after arming myself with several new books and the Internet I’m knitting with ease! I first started throwing but quickly transitioned to Continental: I craved a faster rhythm and consistent gage between knits and purls and this method delivered both for me. I must say, however, I now can do both concurrently. I knit lots of cotton dishcloths which I use daily. I completed an afghan earlier this year and recently a couple pair of socks. I’ve never knitted or crocheted a scarf but will eventually I suppose. I seem to be a needle and yarn whore but there are worse vices. It’s been a good 2007.

garyhrx's picture

Gary Humphrey- I'm all man and I love to knit and crochet.

I am mostly self taught but I had watched my grandmother for years. My mother had recently taken up knitting again and after crocheting a scarf for my recent San Fran/Yosemite trip. I asked her for pointers. Next I went on the internet and found great instructions on You Tube. I have recently found a knitting circle in St Petersburg thanks to 2 MWK members Brent and Sean.

garyhrx's picture

Gary Humphrey- I'm all man and I love to knit and crochet.

I am mostly self taught but I had watched my grandmother for years. My mother had recently taken up knitting again and after crocheting a scarf for my recent San Fran/Yosemite trip. I asked her for pointers. Next I went on the internet and found great instructions on You Tube. I have recently found a knitting circle in St Petersburg thanks to 2 MWK members Brent and Sean.

I think my story is a little different, in that I was actually taught to knit in hospital by a psychiatric nurse... :)

Long, and to be honest, quite dull story, but I've had mental health issues pretty much all my life (I'm bipolar). One time, when it was noted that I hated the normal art-therapy things to do - painting, drawing, making phallic objects with clay - one of the nurses (Sandra) deemed I was no longer a threat to myself with pointy sticks and let me do some knitting. I was particularly pleased to assist, as I fancied the *@?! off her anyway...

And lo. been in love with yarn and stiks ever since.

wesley's picture


I've worked in psychiatric hospitals and have thought that knitting or crocheting would be good therapy. It is relatively cheap, and is something anyone can do at home (how many have a kiln?) Plus, and I thingk this is important, it enables one to make gifts for others. So there is a purpose to it.
thanks for telling us


i started with my grandmother,the rule was quiet! my grandfather was ill with TB ,so it was reading,knitting.jacks ,drawing pick up sticks. & getting in trouble.it was structured and here i am knitting.

Thomasknits's picture

So I had this middle school girlfriend...then I broke up with her because I figured out I was gay...she didn't talk to me for 2 years...now we're real close friends. Anyway, she's the one that taught me to knit.


Jaredsfa2004's picture

My Great Aunt Taught me Crochet. For about a good 15 years I crocheted. And about a year ago, I decided I'd try to figure out how to knit... I never realized how easy it was. Plus, I found Continental to be just for me, being I was left handed anyway.

daveballarat's picture

My great aunt lived with my grandmother, Aunty Bet knitted all day, Nanna crochet all day. It must have been at the end of my mother's pregnancy with my youngest sister that I stayed with the oldies for a while. To keep me occupied, I learnt to knit. Just knit and pearl, a small navy blue scarf.
I didn't continue with it. But about 15 years later, I cycled the Outer Hebrides of Scotland with my girlfriend, we saw lots of aron wool, she taught me how to knit on the train on the way back to London.
I knitted a few jumpers after that then put the needles down for about 20 years... and just picked them up again last year.
So last year I started again when I arrived in Istanbul Turkey, it was cold, I'd just come from Asia and so had no warm clothes. I could find no hand knits. So decided to knit. I've done a few hats and a scarf, now finishing a jumper.
Istanbul, Turkey


kindablue's picture

A woman named Elizabeth Hall waaaaaaaay back when I was about 11 years old. My mother crocheted and eventually taught me and I thought it was a lot easier than knit. 38 years later I picked up some needles and a book called "A Field Guide to Knitting" and now I'm absolutely smitten!