Thursday, May 3, 2007

Have To Start Somewhere

OK, I’ve got a blog…

Now what?

A little about me, I suppose. I love to read, I love to bake, I love to knit. And I do mean love… in the most obsessive way. Stalking the mailman, dreaming about yarn, getting up in the middle of the night to browse patterns, try stitches, cast on projects, read my technique books.

It’s a sickness… I don’t care.

Let me tell you the story of the black sweater…

My aunt used to knit quite a bit when I was a wee small lass. I thought it looked cool, and sometimes I’d play with her yarn. I didn’t think it was cool enough to actually learn it though. I was more interested in trying to keep up with my brother while he climbed trees and rode his motorcycle. I didn’t learn to knit from my aunt.

Fast forward several years and my aunt had taken up knitting again after stopping for a few years. She asked me one year what I’d like to have for Christmas. I told her I’d like to have a hand knit sweater. A black one. I think I got jewelry that year. The next year I probably got CD’s, and then books.

Getting the picture? It took me a long time, years and years and years, but I finally figured it out. My aunt was never going to knit me a black sweater. It took me a few more years before I figured out that if I wanted handknit sweaters, black or any other color, I should learn how to make them myself.

I was starting to look at yarn and needles and books, trying to figure out how I was going to teach myself to knit. A friend of mine told me that there was an ad in the local alternative weekly that a student group was offering to teach people to knit; they’d provide all the materials.

Off I went.

I was the worst knitter on the face of the planet. It took me 10 minutes to cast on 20 stitches. And then they were so tight that I couldn’t knit into one of them without pulling three of them off at a time. In two hours I never managed to knit an entire row, never mind turning and working back. The poor kids who were trying to teach me felt awful. I was philosophical. Somebody had to be the worst knitter in the world. That day was my turn, and with any luck at all it would be somebody else’s turn the next day.

I didn’t give up. I bought a book; I bought some Red Heart and some plastic needles. I knit garter stitch trapezoids in sage green. I bought better needles. I knit garter stitch trapezoids in sage green. I read my book again. I knit garter stitch squares in sage green. I learned how to purl. I knit stockinet trapezoids in sage green. They curled... a lot. I learned to knit. I may never touch sage green yarn again.

Eventually my projects got more ambitious. I made a purple and blue teddy bear sweater, which my teddy bear is very proud of. I made a lace scarf out of double-stranded sock yarn. It’s taller than I am and it weighs a ton. I made a slip-stitch baby blanket for a friend who was having a baby, and I even managed to get it done before the birth. I’ve become addicted to sock yarn, but let’s save that for another post.

I found a wonderful website, Knitting Help. There are videos and a forum where you can post questions and show off your work. It’s a great place, and I’ve made some amazing friends there.

When the Winter 06 Interweave Knits came out, I fell in love with the Refined Raglan. I just happened to have a great bunch of Berocco Softwist I’d bought from a friend. It’s black. Pretty soon I’m going to have my black sweater…

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