About three years ago, a friend (Miss Mardi), her girls and her momma came to stay with us for Thanksgiving. I saw that her mom was knitting dishcloths and I said that I had always wanted to learn how to knit. Before she left she showed me how to cast on and knit stitch. She left me a lovely pair of bamboo needles from her set. For about three weeks I knitted swatch after swatch over and over, ripping it out and started again because once I reached the end of my swatch I didn’t know what to do. I even let my step-mom attempt to teach me what she knew.
Needless to say that idea didn’t last very long and I put the needles away.
Then right before this Thanksgiving, I got the notion in my head that I’d like to try my hand at knitting again and so I hunted down the needles that Momma Irene left me except I could only find one of them. I got a little too fixated on finding the missing needle and tore the house apart. Still no needle. Well I couldn’t very well knit with one needle right (turns out I’m wrong about that but whatever) so I made my way to Pat Catans (the best craft mega store ever) and picked up a very inexpensive set of bamboo needles. You know, in case I lost interest yet again.
The next step was to find a place where I could learn. A task that I learned would be harder than I thought.
You’d think that living out where I’d do there would be a few knitting clubs or at least lessons at my local library right? Wrong! The closest one that I could find was almost 40 minutes from home at two county libraries. The next two that I found offered classes at $50 a class not including you buy their needles and yarn… My budget said no to that.
I remembered seeing a little yarn shop in Lodi (a mere 12 minutes from home) and I needed a reason to check it out so one night (right before Brian left to go hunting) Bebe and I took a trip to Black Locust Farms Fine Yarns.
I met Cathy (the owner) and found out that for the price of a set of needles and a skein of yarn, she’d teach me the basics. I picked up a set of Brittany size 8’s and two skeins of Plymouth 100 percent wool yarn. I was going to start out making a scarf for myself. I’ve been back twice since that day to knit with Cathy and some of the other ladies that are regulars at her store.
I’m not sure I’ve found “my place” in the knitting community just yet (I’m still on the hunt for knitters more… *ahem* my age) but I’m having fun learning. In between knitting with Cathy, I made a small place for myself at Ravelry.com (I’m nicholes… pretty easy to find me if you’re a member there too).
That was just over three weeks ago. Since then I frogged my scarf and had to start over but see how far I’ve come!?
I’ve learned three different ways to cast on, how to knit “continental (which is more comfortable for me I found and keeps my tension from looking like a knotted cat), the knit stitch, the purl, and a combination of both called the “seed stitch” which I’m using in the scarf. Cathy has been great and patient with me. I’m hoping to move on to dishcloths, pot holders (probably should have started with those huh?), hats, socks and eventually blankets, ponchos and shawls.
The most amazing things I’ve learned about knitting is that it’s not as hard as I’d thought. It’s therapeutic; it calms me and forces me block out the world around me. I have to focus and concentrate. I’m hoping that I can translate that level of focus to other aspects of my life and work.
A few other things I’ve learned is that yarn can be expensive (either that or I have expensive tastes). Wooden (either birch or bamboo) needles feel 10 times better in my hands than metal, there is a difference in yarn, (I had no clue. Thought all yarn was the same!) and how easy it is for me to say, “I’m just going to finish this row…” and then knit three more rows after that.
I don’t consider myself an “old dog” learning new tricks and I’m sure someone that I know is going to tell that knitting is for old people but here’s my thought… I want to learn this so that I can pass it to my daughter and maybe a granddaughter or daughter in law some day. It would be nice to have something more tangible than a blog url to leave behind to my children. My grandmothers (all of them) never lived long enough to teach me or for me to take an interest in learning how to knit or crochet. I’m hoping to do for them what they couldn’t do for me… I think it would be nice to look down from the heavens and see my granddaughters knitting for their own children one day and know that I taught them that.
OK enough of the sentiments… back to the needles!