Beginning to Knit

I learned to knit when I was a little girl from my grandmother but could never master more than a hole filled scarf. The idea of knitting something has always been very exciting to me. I love having bits of this or that and combining them to make something. Unfortunately because I didn’t know about using two needles to cast-on and I only had one size needle, my stitches were too tight and hard to knit so I dropped them often. What resulted was a badly worked piece of “fabric” that no one would get any use out of. This was frustrating and very discouraging to my instant gratification geared mind. So I put knitting down in favor of other things I could do better. (Better than knitting but not necessarily well.)

I did a lot of cross-stitch, a lot. I did some sewing and I still have an almost finished quilt lying around here somewhere. I tried scrap booking but that didn’t really take either. Clearly I was someone who didn’t like idle hands but hadn’t quite found my “thing” yet.

After my first son was born I was home with him and got a little bit bored (I can’t believe this used to be a problem when I think of how busy I am now) and was spending a lot of time on the internet while he napped. I started reading the blog of a friend of a friend’s. She made so many beautiful things and it just clicked in my brain. I could do this. My husband bought me Charmed Knits for my birthday that year and I was determined to make something. I looked online for a local yarn shop and found one with a group knitting session that you could ask for help.  I took my book and my courage and told the proprietor I wanted to learn to knit properly.  I picked a hat for my first project.  She showed me the trick of casting on with two needles so the stitches weren’t too tight to work that first round.  She showed me how to knit on circular needles and before I knew it I was off.

I only ever went to the one session.  The rest I taught myself.  (There is a lot of information out there on the web, did you know?)  If my understanding of knitting vernacular had been better, maybe I wouldn’t have needed that session at all.  I’m glad I went though, because honestly you have to start somewhere right?  My first hat came out terribly in terms of quality but I was so happy to have a finished object!!  I was totally inspired to do more.  I decided to tackle a sweater next, for my baby boy but a sweater nonetheless.

my first sweater ever

my first sweater ever

I purchased the exact yarn the pattern called for and seriously, intarsia for my first project? I clearly had no clue.  It wasn’t perfect by any means, and I had to redo the bind-off on the collar a few times so it would actually fit over his head, the seaming is atrocious and I had no idea how to weave in ends, but he wore it and so did my daughter and so will my youngest son.  Upon finishing it, I sent an email off to the woman’s blog that I had been reading and thanked her for inspiring me.  Her response was very sweet and I remember it being the first time I felt encouraged by another woman (who wasn’t a friend or family member) and that in itself shifted how I interacted with other women/moms.

I was (and still am) in love with knitting.  I love that when I sit down to knit by the time I stop I have accomplished something, even if I’m ripping something out.  I love how knitting makes me feel better about myself.  On bad days where nothing goes right I can sit with knitting and produce something to be proud of myself for, something that will save the day from being a complete fail.  I love making things for other people (that they may not love receiving them is something I’m coming to terms with).  Knitting is my reward for getting through the really tough days, and a way for me to show someone how much they mean to me.  Knitting keeps me from feeling like a slug when all I want to do is sit and watch TV.  Knitting helps me to be calm when I would otherwise go crazy from impatience.  Knitting is the closest thing I’ll ever come to an actual meditation practice and I don’t know what I would do without it.

I’m looking forward to chronicling my knitting endeavors here.


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