Sometimes I get asked whether I still have the First Thing I have ever knitted. Definitely not! In fact I have no idea what that thing even was, since I would have been around 4 years old at the time. Funny, because I have vivid memories of knitting at a young age, but only very vague memories of what it was that I actually knitted. Possibly just squares to keep me busy, or bits of doll clothing, or little mini scarf things? Well. Whatever it was, it is long gone by now, as are all the objects that followed in later years until my hiatus from knitting around the end of high school.
But! What I do still have is the very first thing I knitted after that hiatus ended. That would have been 10 years ago now (wow, time does fly). I was living in New England and it was nearing winter, when I got the sudden urge to knit again. So I walked into a yarn shop, bought an inexpensive skein of cream coloured wool and a set of straight needles, and knitted this.
I had no advance plan or idea of what it was I actually wanted to knit. Was not even entirely sure that I still remembered how. But as soon as I picked up the needles, it came back to me. I cast on a random number of stitches, and began.
As it happened, that random number of stitches was divisible by 4, and I ended up working in 2x2 moss stitch - mindlessly knitting in that pattern in the flat, until my 50g skein ran out. I was then left with an awkwardly shaped rectangle of waffly fabric not nearly long enough to be a scarf.
Now what? Well, I folded the thing in half and connected it to make a tube.
What technique I used to do this I do not remember, and for the life of me cannot figure out by studying the seam - which looks very improvised (read: terrible!) and unlike any grafting/sewing/bindoff method I am aware of. But no matter: It was finished!
At the time I had not heard the term 'cowl,' so I called my thing a neck warmer. And I wore it. And then I bought more yarn and made 3 other things in the months to come. Then I discovered circular knitting, and made even more things. I wore those too, and then made still more things for family and friends. There have been ebbs and flows, but I never stopped knitting since.
I do not have too many things from these early days of my return to knitting. Mostly because they were bulky to store and were inevitably given away during one move or another (Vienna-Boston-Ireland...). But I do still have - and wear - this cowl. I have no idea what breed or brand the wool is, but it is very soft and feels like a DK merino, and is lovely to wear against my neck. The weird seam does make me cringe every time I notice it, only because the rest of the cowl has no mistakes in it and - while simple - does not necessarily look like the work of someone who is re-discovering knitting in her late 20s after a 10 year hiatus. But the seam makes it look like exactly that.
So.. Ugh. Yet I haven't the heart to re-do it. It's the closest to a First Thing I've got, and it tells a story. That I still wear it is only a happy bonus.