Monday, 29 October 2007

One Year On

A year ago today I was on holiday, staying with friends in VA for Halloween, and the urge came over me to learn how to knit. In truth I actually decided I wanted to learn whilst I had been in Kingston, ON the week before, where I had paid a ridiculous amount for a pair of hand knit socks. The socks totally rock and I love them, but I grew up in a house were the watchwords were "I could make that", all cack-handed evidence to the contrary. The opportunity too get to a yarn shop didn't however present itself. All of which is not entirely germane, other than the fact that the fabulous Ms Jenn deserves a mention for having been there from the beginning.

Where was I? Oh yes, I got the urge to knit, so... I went into the Micheal's at Seven Corners in Falls Church and bought 2 balls of Lion Brand boucle because it was pretty and autumnal and nicer than most everything else there, a pair of 5mm needles, and a book. I then sat down and taught myself to cast on. I proceeded to knit 4 miles (ok. ok! 3 metres) of garter stitch scarf. Garter stitch because I couldn't figure out how to purl. No really, I can be that dense. I did it on my own, without talking to people. Mostly because there were no people around who could help, but also partially because I am stubborn like that.

Things I didn't know when I was staring at the pictures trying to figure them out was; a) I can't read, and managed to knit the entire scarf in a twisted knit stitch, going in through the back of the loop, rather than the front. b) tension. c) how to stop. d) any concept of how much yarn you need for a project (I kept going til I could no longer carry the scarf safely without it being a trip hazard. I still had yarn left over). d) that a boucle yarn is a tricky little beast.

All that said, I finished the scarf, and wear it a lot. I LIKE the scarf. It makes me proud and happy.

Since then I have knit, in no particular order;

4 more scarves;
a shawl;
4 bags (2 felted, 2 cotton shoppers);
2 blankets (1 twin & 1 baby);
7 pairs of socks;
2 pairs of felted slipper socks;
1 pair of bed socks;
6 dish cloths/flannels;
a pot holder;
a SG I & SG II;
a jumper;
a baby kimono;
a felted tea cosy;
a felted brooch; and
a cat.

I have started, but not yet finished;

another baby kimono;
a hot wheatie bottle;
a dozen or so knitted Christmas tree ornaments;
a shawl that is destined to be frogged, if I can get the kid silk haze to frog successfully, which I doubt. If not, I'll bind it off and see what happens when I try and felt it; and
2 more pairs of socks which will also be added to the frog pile, not because I don't want them, but because I have lost my place in the pattern, and as a novice knitter, I didn't think to make a note of where I left off. DOH. Oh, Fawkes in Appliance, how I long for thee.

So, a year of over achievement? Possibly. But also a year of massive learning. The wheatie bottle cover is the first piece of colour work I have done, and I find it daunting. Not having someone to talk to about how to knit I rely on what I can glean from reading everyone's blogs (and thank you all for being so generous with your knowledge), and just making it up as I go along. It turns out that in knitting the wheatie cover I have invented intarsia...

It has for the most part been a year of instant-ish gratification, although both the felted bags were exercises in knitting through the stocking stitch pain barrier, the baby blanket I knit for Julia Franco an exercise in colour selection (and how to do it better next time) and blocking, and the afghan scarf a huge exercise in ripping and counting rows and following patterns carefully (to be fair, it was the difficult 2nd project...). The thought of doing an adult sized jumper is also scary, but I have 3 projects that I am desperate to do. Desperate enough to consider test swatching and growing a little patience for.

All in all though I have loved every minute of learning this new craft, and can't imagine being without the skills it has taught me. I get huge satisfaction out of creating things anyway, but love that I can still be creative in what is otherwise be down time. I have also loved being introduced into this community of crafters, and tentatively stepping into the world of craft bloggers, although I feel I have a long way to go before I can consider myself a fully paid up member of that community. All in all this knitting thing is great.

Long live the needles. Long live the yarn.


Knitting Mama said...

You guys have Michaels in the UK?? Not fair!!!! I live in Canada where there is a Michaels in every other province but mine.

Ivywindow said...

No, no. Don't feel hard done by :) I was in the US at the time.

magnusmog said...

What a list! I've only been knitting a few years and my UFO list still way outnumbers the FOs.

Send my your details and a vague colour/mix of colour preference and I will slowly but surely get started on the PIF. I have a plan but these things often go skew-wiff :)