Thursday, February 26, 2009

Knitting with Cotton

When I first started knitting, I was pregnant with my first child (19 years ago). I thought it would be nice to knit a baby blanket. I had grown up with a grandmother and a father (yes, that's right, a father) who crocheted. Since I was born in the last half of the 1960s, I was a young child in the 70s. Who remembers ponchos? Macrame? Crocheted bikinis? Daisy afghans? (Still have that one, by the way.) I had this large swing that was made out of macrame and had a homemade clown sitting on it. It hung from the ceiling in the corner of my room on my sister's side. Now, who remembers the movie Poltergeist? Are you following me here? Never in the history of the world has a clown been removed from a child's bedroom faster. I still have nightmares.

Anyhoo, where was I? Oh yes, so because I grew up around crocheting, I didn't particularly like the look of the baby blanket if it was crocheted. To me (in my ultimate 20ish wisdom) knitting looked so much more professional. We had, at that time, gotten through the craft era of the 70's, through the fashion atrocities of the 80's (enough said on that era) and were just squeeking into the 90's when this thought occurred to me. I want to KNIT! I headed off to the nearest craft store and bought a book on knitting along with some yarn. Initially I got stuck and sheepishly walked into a yarn store in Southern California. The wonderful clerks helped me and I was on my way. How was the blanket? Don't know. Never finished it. In fact, I didn't pick up needles again until about 2 years ago. This was after we moved to Utah and I was experiencing my first winter when I realized that reading books (or watching TV) whilst stuffing one's face whilst watching the snow fall outside was not terribly healthy. People don't get depressed because of the winter, they get depressed because in the spring they step on the scale and see the results of all the noshing! I never packed on the freshman 15, I packed on the Utah 20!

Needless to say, I was such a novice back then about this whole knitting thing. I was satisfied with any old yarn and if the project looked reasonably simple and elegant, I was game. It wasn't until I found this Filtura Di Crosa Baby pom pom yarn by Tahki that I started to realize that yarn really mattered when it came to one's projects. This was the crossroads of my knitting existence. And I crossed over, I mean I really crossed over. Living on the planet Yarn Obsession is fun! Stash is a blast! Have you seen the Kleenex commercial where the woman touches everything, until she gets to the tissue and suddenly .... it's FEEEEEEL. Oh yes, the feel of the yarn is essential. It makes you excited to see the final project.

However, knitting with cotton is something different. If you don't have a consistent tension, it ends up looking all wompy (or is it wonky?). I know that's not a Webster's word, but you know what I mean. Here is an example of my first attempt to knit with cotton. Truly humiliating. But, I have finally gotten the hang of it, and yesterday I finished the Gumdrop Sweater for my next door neighbor's little girl. Here it is. I will post pictures of her in it, though. I promise. So since spring and summer are just around the corner, pick up some cotton, or maybe some bamboo/cotton mix. There is so much out there, I just don't have enough time to see it all! And ladies .... use good yarn. You'll be glad you did.

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