Wednesday, September 20, 2006 ______________________________________________________________________________

It's That Time of the Year Again! 

Every year, when the weather is giving us a preview of full-blown winter, I get the urge to take up knitting again. I crochet, which is great for hats and decorative, lacy scarves but not really for sweaters, garments and mittens. Not to mention you can't avoid bumping into all the great knitting patterns out there on the internet while looking through the paltry crochet resources. Plus, knitting is so much more complex, so much more versatile, so much more beautiful.

So every year I buy a new pair of knitting needles (because inevitably there's only one needle left of previous pairs I've bought - and the singles don't match each other), a ball of yarn and try to learn to knit. Every year I find knitting impossibly slow, finicky and Not Worth the Effort. I put away the needles and turn the yarn into a crochet hat. Which is stupid, because I don't wear hats.

For my birthday this year, I asked for knitting lessons because a particularly arresting project caught my attention. I really wanted it. I started to become obsessed with it. I knew that on my own, there was no way I would learn to knit. I mean the best way to predict the future is to look to the past right? Having painfully knit two incredibly ugly scarves it was clear that I had the basics right but that I was doing something wrong. That being the case, I wasn't easily classifiable into either a "beginner" or an "advanced" class. Private lessons were expensive. What if I just failed again? Finally, I decided to ask the person who runs my LYS what course of action she thinks I should take. She offers to show me how to knit up front and go from there.

So she picks up these GIANT needles and rope-like yarn and starts to knit really slowly. -Hey wait! I don't knit like that! What the hell?!- Turns out, I was knitting into the back loop, instead of doing a plain ol' knit stitch. Knitting into the back loop produces a very tight stitch, which explains why knitting was so frustrating for me. Tight stitches = hard to slide stitches off needles = non-fluid movement + occassionally pulling too hard and yanking more than one stitch off the needle dropping them all. I bought a pair of needles, three balls of yarn and kicked off my annual ritual. For extra insurance, I also picked up a copy of the The Knitter's Handbook (a Stitch 'n Bitch book by Debbie Stoller). I figured I could return it in the event of another failure. Besides, my employee discount made it a very reasonable purchase.

For this endeavour I decided to use the series of dishcloth patterns in this issue of Knitty. These 7 patterns are arranged in order starting with the easiest to the hardest - perfect for a learner!

Ladies and Gentlemen: I can knit - and I happen to be damn good at it.










Purty innit?


posted by Joie! at 7:50 PM

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