Friday, 30 September 2011

How I Became a Knitter: An Ode to My Eight Year Old Self

When I was about 8 years old my mother taught me how to knit. She started me with a scarf and I feverishly worked away in garter stitch with a blue acrylic yarn and plastic needles. I was dedicated, and that’s saying a lot for a child with a wandering attention span. When the scarf was finally completed it had giant holes in it and was about 2 times longer at one end than the other. I decided this knitting thing was a total frustrating waste of time and then threw away the needles. 

Over the years my Mom and Nan tried to get me back into knitting. We tried another scarf. Same result. We tried squares. I was bored. Dishcloths. Bored. They finally gave up and decided that it just wasn't for me.

Then when I was in university, the knitting fad hit my university residence. A bunch of girls from my dorm started working on projects so I went out and bought better yarn and learned how to purl. Again, my project of choice was a scarf. My mom had hope, and praised me for my ability to knit about 2 inches without a major mistake. I knit about 1/3 of its length and then got distracted by exams and the politics of spring formal so the project got stuck in a drawer and later tossed out in my end of semester purge. 

In the spring of 2010, E&L began helping some blind women do fiber crafts as our workplace. At this time they decided to learn how to crochet. I got hooked, so to speak. The three of us took a class and my love of using a hook and needles really began to take shape. By the end of the first class I had gone from indifference to obsession: making piles of granny squares and star dishcloths. It took a while to get me back into knitting; I was still traumatized from the first disappointing scarf 20 years ago. But E gently coaxed me back into it with a basic flat-knit hat in a rib pattern and showed me how to correct mistakes.

One hat turned into two, then three, then the yarn started breeding in my apartment. As I grew more confident, I started taking classes. I learned to knit on circulars, knit on dpns, how to make cables, colourwork. I was (and still am) addicted with learning as many techniques as possible. I knit a cowl, socks, and finally was bold enough to knit another scarf. When the scarf was finished and the two ends were the same width, I knew I was a knitter. I started ditching the acrylic yarn and started on the good stuff. Merino, silk, angora, cashmere, and then I discovered alpaca. Ah, alpaca. My first true fiber love.  Now I am unstoppable. Really. I know that E, L, L and my guy have considered an intervention. 

My first scarf that was the same size at both ends! This is a dropped stitch pattern with Wooly Bully yarn. 

My mom is always shocked when she sees my finished projects. She can't believe that that child who was so annoyed by that scarf in 1991 has become an obsessional knitter. As I sat by the Christmas tree last year, tongue sticking out, teaching my self how to make a cabled cowl, she just shook her head. Now I am the one trying to teach her new techniques and she gets irked and goes back to making dishcloths. Oh, the irony. 

My short attention span has not really improved that much over the years, and just like my 8-year old self I have about 10 projects on the go at anytime. Every now and again I get super frustrated with myself and have a weekend of finishing and all of a sudden I have 5 finished projects that have been sitting in the WIP (work in progress) bin for months.

Unfortunately, this is not one of these times… A recap of my WIPs

1. A thrummed mitten KAL (knit-a-long) that I am working on with E
2 & 3. A baby vest in need of seaming, and a baby sweater in need of sleeves
4 & 5. Two shawls. One that I started in July, the other is my Citron that I have talked about before on the blog.
6. My grandmother’s birthday socks (her birthday was Sept 23)
7. A monster of my own design for my office.
8. Beaded napkin rings made from knitted wire.
9.  A beaded cowl for my grandmother (K’s mom) for Christmas
10. A sweater for my mom that I started in April.

Plus, two cowls in need of buttons and a baby sweater and snuggle sack needing their ends weaved in.

Now one would think, after committing that list to paper, I would be horrified with myself and would want to finish something. I would pull out the needle and start weaving in ends. I would block something. I would finish poor Nan’s birthday socks so her feet aren’t cold. That would be the sensible thing to do. The practical thing would not be to get out the swift, wind a ball of Dream in Colour Classy and cast on baby socks. That would just be silly.

Making these with my favourite Dream in Colour Classy. 

Err…. Yeah…. So how is your day?


1 comment:

  1. Hi Mo!

    I saw that you posted links to your blog on FB, so I just wanted to leave you a comment to say that I'm reading your posts! It's nice to be able to read your thoughts and get updates. :)

    Talk soon,