Friday, February 20, 2009
My mom taught me (and my little brother, who right now is making crazy crocheted costumes out at his grad school) how to crochet. I was in college when I learned and went through a spate of crocheting scarves and wonky looking hats and even one very, very embarrassing sweater where I used all leftover yarn and totally made up the pattern and didn't count anything. It's acrylic and horrid and striped and the arms are different shapes, but I digress.
Though knitting seemed painstaking to me, I always loved the look of smartly knit things. I love the tidiness of knitting. The put-together-simpleness. So though knitting seemed like something I'd never take on, I have been lucky enough to know a few knitters in my life.
You would think that with all the hullaballo around knitting these past years I would know more, but I actually only know three true knitters. Knitters that really are serious about their craft, that go beyond making a hat or scarf once a year and really pull out the big needles. They knit sweaters and bags and garments and they amaze me. The best thing about knowing serious knitters is that they sometimes gift you or barter with you for their sweet and tidy creations. I have a favorite black shrug that was knit by a dearest friend and given to me for my birthday. It is perfect for 3 seasons of nights out that have a little nip in the air (or not); it's consistently commented on and very well made. I have a bartered white knit bag that I like to carry around to the point of it getting perhaps a little too well-used looking. I have a new red hat this winter and cute grey fingerless gloves. Knitted gifts are really the best gifts.
So after all this knit love and lust, Ms. Alyssa (the shrug knitter) decided to teach me how to knit.
The first attempt she made laid the groundwork, but unfortunately didn't take right away. A year ago I knit a cell phone case. The stitches vary in size and the whole thing is way too big and though she left me with my very own pair of wooden needles, they were left in my big basket of fiber project stuff for, oh, the rest of the year.
Then some bug bit. It may be that cliched old thing about pregnant women picking up knitting to make baby things, I dunno, but suddenly I wanted to try again.
A has one of the aforementioned wonky hats from my crochet days. A little too pointy on top, and a crappy blend before I knew any better than to just buy cheap yarn; overall he's been a saint for wearing it all these winters with no complaints. So I decided that for my first real knitting project, I'd knit him a new winter hat.
Lyss was kind enough to jog my knitting memories one day while I was over at her place making marmalade.
Funny thing: I found out that knitting can be almost as free form, make-it-up-as-you-go as crocheting. I am not a real knitter, and I only know knit and purl, but still the possibilities are clear. AND, as any new knitter can tell you, it's kind of addictive.
So I knit A this hat in just a few days. Knitting while watching the daily show online, while listening to radiolab, while in the plane to visit A' s folks. While still on our trip, the knitting itch continued and so thought I'd try to make a matching hat for The Bean. I didn't really know what I was doing, and am accustomed to just making stuff up and trying it out, (sometimes failing miserably, of course) so I thought I'd just try 1/2-ing the stitches (for what will be a much smaller newborn noggin). Those few stitches were too small for the circular needles so I knit it straight with intent to sew it together on a seam. Turned out too small, so I knit a smaller section and kinda grafted it on.
I guess I'm back to my old fudging-it crochet tricks. It's not perfect, and after a few projects I know that knitting is not my true calling. I likely will forever be a one or two projects a year kind a knitter. A hat knitter. A scarf knitter. A knit and purl simple-stuff kind of knitter (but a happy knitter). And that's why I feel so lucky to know the knitters I DO know, who kindly send their knit love my way, and I rejoice.