As you may already know, I do all my best work during my Golden Hours, from about 10pm to 2 or 3 am. This includes learning something new, like knitting. As I mentioned before I went on my Okanagan vacation, I’ve been learning how to knit, thanks to my best friend Heather, the excellent site www.knittinghelp.com and the equally excellent, very popular book Stitch ‘N Bitch: The Knitter’s Handbook by BUST goddess Debbie Stoller. They all complement each other very well: Heather got me started, Knitting Help showed me the long tail cast-on (I finally got it, yay!) and Debbie keeps me on track. There is absolutely no way that I could have learned only from a book, though, ’cause of course it’s impossible to see the motion and the action of the whole thing. But for tips and visual aids, it’s definitely good to keep at my side at all times while knitting.
While Josh, Keaton and I were in the Okanagan on our little holiday I became quite knitting obsessed. You know how that is when you’re learning something new, or have just discovered something new, and you just can’t get enough of it? Yep. I had my rolled-up knitting kit on the coffee table the whole time, and I picked up my little swatches at any opportunity to knit a couple more stitches on:
Clockwise, starting in upper left corner: my very first attempt – what I have dubbed My Knitting Creature (maybe I should put googly eyes on it), complete with dropped stitches, etc.; my first proper garter stitch swatch; my attempt at a stockinette stitch swatch, although apparently at some point I forgot what row I was on and started a knit row… oh well.
My tension on these swatches was so insanely tight that the ends of my fingers were sore and developing callouses, like when you first learn to play guitar and your tender little fingers have to toughen up. I hadn’t really figured out yet about bunching up all the stitches on your needle that you’re about to knit, and to not hold the right-hand yarn too tight – Heather set me straight on that! For the past few days I’ve been trying to keep my hands relaxed, and it’s making a big difference.
Even though I’m still a complete and utter novice (I don’t even know how to increase or decrease yet, for chrissakes!), and I still knit painfully slowly, I still see all this as a bit of a breakthrough. I’ve tried learning how to knit on and off for the past eight years, and I just seemed to have a mental block. I absolutely did not get it. But after reading Stitch ‘N Bitch (or Stitch ‘N Botch, as I keep accidentally typing – that title pretty much describes what I’m doing at the moment), I realised that in the past I’d been shown the Continental “picking” style (with the yarn in your left hand), which I found next to impossible and totally confusing. I’m an English-style gal all the way. (Again, thanks Heather!) I love the idea of learning a craft that you can just pick up and work away on while watching TV or a movie, something that doesn’t take up too much room.
It’s kinda cool to see the actual, tangible evidence of how much I’m improved in just a couple of weeks. Here’s my ribbing swatch that I’m practising (maybe I’ll turn it into a little scarf for Keaton):
And I’ve cast on for my first proper project, a thing that I hope to one day wear – albeit a very easy garter stitch one – in this gorgeous yarn that Heather got me:
I’ll just keep going until the ball is done and see what I have – a neck cozy, perhaps. Maybe it’ll even be finished by the time it’s cold enough outside to wear it! (Although at the speed I knit, maybe not…)
Also, can I just add that coffee with a scoop of vanilla ice cream is just about the best thing ever? (Just polished off a cup. Was inspired to make it after Iron Chef Battle Coffee tonight.)
Read Full Post »