Thursday, April 30, 2009

Knitting Socks

I will admit to being too ignorant to not know better when it came to my specific knitting abilities. I would see a pattern I liked, and always giving myself the benefit of the doubt, thought, "I can knit that." Now, nine times out of ten, I was able to accomplish the task. However, I always kept the rules - meaning I used the yarn that was suggested and I NEVER changed the pattern in any way to "suit me." However, I have been fairly successful.

But socks were an altogether different matter. I am afraid of knitting socks. They truly intimidate me. The whole short row and heel turn thing, is relatively frightening. But I realize that if I ever want to open my own yarn store (which would be the ultimate ecstasy for a yarn-a-holic like me), I need to learn to knit socks. So I have broken down. I am starting my first pair. I will update you and let you see photos. Pray for me!!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Confidence in Knitting

I recently picked up a copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's (aka Yarn Harlot) book Free-Range Knitter and have realized something about knitting that I had never considered before. Well, actually what I am about to say, I am sure many of you will read it, read it again, and think, "Well, duh..." or "Is she really that dense?" But if you will just humor me for a minute, I have been in the lone and dreary world of knitting all by myself for quite a while, and it was not until I moved to Utah that acceptance and even embracing of my passion was acquired.

As an example, my step-mother lives in Southern California and is an avid quilter. She made a trip up here this last weekend and, of course, the first thing she wanted to do was shop at every quilt store I could find to help her with her stash. When I inquired about this desire, nay, even primal drive to shop for fabric, she informed me that three quilt shops that were even remotely near her home had recently closed. Ergo, "Utah is the crafting capital of the world," she proclaimed. Really? But then I thought back to the time I had lived in Southern California too.

The first time I entered a yarn shop, as you know I was pregnant with my first child. It was in Sherman Oaks, and the shop was small, but bright and friendly. The staff was all too eager to show me the two basic stitches of knitting: knit and purl. From then on I was on my own. I developed my own style of knitting and learned from books, while only when extremely frustrated, entering a yarn store to ask a question so I may receive clarification. I became a closet knitter.

The next time I seriously picked up the needles again, I was living in the Inland Empire (hotter than Hades there, I might add). I went to the only store I could find (which was 30 minutes from my home) and inquired about some classes. Gleefully signing up and paying my money, as I exited the store I was walking on clouds and couldn't wait for the class to start. I envisioned finally rubbing elbows with other knitters and commiserating over patterns and yarn. I arrived at the designated time, opened my carry-all and sat down to knit. I noticed tiny snickers and twittering, and out of the corner of my eye saw some strange glances. One brazen women looked me in the eye and proclaimed: "You are totally knitting the wrong way." Did she help me with the "right" way? No. So, mortified, I slinked from the shop never to enter the establishment again. I sadly put away my needles and forced my burgeoning passion to the back of my mind.

Fast forward to moving to Utah. I found a store, and with not a small amount of trepidation entered the portal to the Land of Yarnia. This time the girls in the shop was friendly, kind and extremely personable. I timidly relayed my experience in California and the owner of the shop asked me to show her how I knit. She too began to laugh, but for a completely different reason. She said I knit in the Continental Style and then she said to me in the kindest voice, "Oh, honey, there is no right way to knit. If the stitches aren't twisted, then how they get there doesn't matter." Whew! Well, now I was mad. Do you know how much time I wasted without nary a knit stitch in sight? Do you know how many moments my kids would have fallen on their knees and thanked the heavens that mom didn't kill them for something they had done? Why? If I had been knitting, I would have been calm, serene, yea, even the very model of saintly patience. But did my children receive this treatment? No!!! Why? Because I believed some impudent, ignorant woman whose shop I most fervently hope has perished into the vast wasteland of the California recession.

So, here is my point. ANYONE can learn to knit. Whatever makes you feel comfortable, is the right way. As long as the stitches look right, who cares? I learned to crochet first, so holding the yarn in my right hand is uncomfortable and completely useless. I might as well try knitting with my feet to hold the yarn this way. When I purl, I still hold the yarn in my left hand, but then I kind of "throw" the yarn anyway. Why? I don't know. It's just how I do it. All knitters are each uniquely and profoundly different from each other. So, put your needles in the air and proclaim: "I can knit! I can create! I am worthy!" Ha-ha-ha-ha (evil cackle)!!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Light Bulb

If you haven't read my blog from the beginning, then you don't know how I got into this obsession that now encompasses my whole world ... knitting. I picked up my first pair of knitting needles about 19 years ago when I was pregnant with my first child. Never finishing a project and sporadically knitting more off than on over the next 17 years, I let life take me along on my thoroughly busy and sometimes chaotic journey of husband, kids and other such cables and bobbles of life.

I guess I must digress at this point to let you know that although not technically diagnosed as ADD, I might be what other people would call a "flibbertygibbet", perhaps, flighty, interested in everything, unable to finish anything, you know what I'm getting at. Now as for me, I like to think that my personality stems from being born under the astrological sign of Aquarius. The main features of this sign are more along of the lines of "independent", "creative" and "free-spirited". Now, doesn't that sound better? I know it makes me feel good.

So, back to the matter at hand. As my children have grown and become somewhat more independent, I have reached out to find something that is uniquely "me". I love to read, but my husband hates it, because when I get involved in a book, everything else around me fades to black. So the word unresponsive here is more than applicable. I've tried various sports, because my husband is very athletic, but let's just say that the hand/eye coordination thing is non-functional in me. So, in order to prevent myself from stuffing my face with food when I am in bed at night, I turned to knitting, because, as you well know, it takes two hands to knit, and two busy hands knitting cannot also be putting food in your mouth. Problem solved! Well, not really. While food is no longer an obsession, yarn and knitting is.

The main issue with all of this knitting and how it has encompassed my life is my family has now confirmed to themselves that I am certifiable. My kids don't understand it, my husband doesn't understand it, but because this is the only thing I have stuck with, he supports me in this obsession. So over the last two years, can you imagine the amount of books and magazines that have made their way (very stealthily, I may add) into my home? Last week, my husband was in his (ah-hemm) "office" and picked up a copy of Vogue Knitting. Hence, the "light bulb" moment. My husband finally gets it! Not only is he excited about my yarn stash and knitting abilities, but he is encouraging me to teach others to knit, and "while you're at it, why don't you start an on-line store or sell yarn to your friends?" Could my ears be deceiving me? Did I hear him right? Oh the joys! The ecstasy! I can hear the angelic strains from on high!

I must go now. I have to start looking for new yarns............