Friday, October 26, 2007
Chicken Little and Knitting
Sorry to be a Chicken Little! It's not THREE weeks til Thanksgiving, which I obviously gave the impression of. It's FOUR weeks (minus a day). In my previous post I said we were flying back to Texas in three weeks, and we are. We're flying in a week ahead to spend time with the kids who we thought we would be missing, before my rush to Texas trip where we were under each others feet for ten days, but we're still going anyway because we're family and it's okay to drive each other a little crazy, especially around the holidays, right? We're also going to spend some time with a realtor checking out the area we want to retire at. And the tickets were much cheaper flying in a week early and staying afterwards, because of course that defies the whole 'flying in for the holiday' thing when you go for ten days to celebrate one. So, sorry about that - the sky is not falling and you all have a good 3.9 weeks left to get that turkey bought, frozen, then thawed in the bathtub.

Second on the agenda that I didn't think I'd have - knitting. I seriously considered posting more about this new thing I've fallen head over heels in love with, but this isn't a knitting blog - I've never been able to gather my thoughts so much as to come up with a theme, but if I did knitting wouldn't be it. I didn't want to bore any of you out there who could care less about yarn and fabric and sewing machines, blah blah blah. So I was surprised to get some emails asking me how to get started knitting. Surprised since I'm as brand new as you can get. I've been a knitter FOR A WEEK. That's SEVEN DAYS. So you must be desperate to ask me! Seriously, I wouldn't ask me.

But being unqualified has never stopped me from anything before, so I'll give it a shot. Most of you wanted to know how I got started, all of seven days ago. So I'll share with you what I have, and maybe when Sarah gets bored, she can chime in and give her two cents worth, since she can actually knit things beyond a funny looking scarf that is five inches long, which is my current level of ability and experience.

First, Sarah sat and oh so patiently taught me. She showed me. She'd show me how to hold my hands, then when I couldn't, she'd take the yarn, hold it, then hand it back. She did that over and over. When I got frustrated she wouldn't let me quit trying. I'd say, "I can't." She'd say, "Yes you can." So I'd say if you can find a living breathing person to show you, that's great. Sarah taught me the Continental style, there are two, and Continental is supposed to be much easier to learn, easier to do for longer years in your life, easier on arthritic hands, easier to tolerate in tight spaces like airplane seats, etc. It's easier on your neck, back, etc. But there is a different version, so you have to start with deciding which method to learn. If you have a breathing human teach you, you will learn the way they do it, then you have to decide if you want to switch or not.

Second, as soon as I'd get one thing barely figured out, she'd push me to do the next step. I had one week to learn, and didn't want to forget as soon as I got back home, so she just kept nudging me along. After a week I can cast on, knit, purl, yarn over, sort of decrease and increase, and sort of bind off and read a pattern enough to know if it's doable or too hard. Not bad for a week. Most books teach you to cast on and then knit, the garter stitch it's called when that's all there is, and you begin to do a project. You may want to do the non-rushed method. You can make a lot of cute things with that one stitch. I started with a project that uses both stitches so I won't forget them now that my personal knitting coach is 1200 miles away.

Third, I bought the knitting kit at Hobby Lobby for something like $15, and it had everything I needed to get started except yarn, and a crochet hook to fix mistakes. Pray against those. When they happen anyway, you will need a crochet hook. I already had that.

Fourth, I ordered several books, okay more than several. I'm a book kind of girl. I love them more than shoes or purses or jewelry, so I ordered about six. Sarah suggested most of them, not that I buy them all, but she suggested them, told me they were clear, easy to follow, etc. Here's the several I'd recommend and I found all of mine on Amazon:

How to Knit: The Definitive Knitting Course Complete with Step-by-Step Techniques, Stitch Library, and Projects for Your Home and Family by Debbie Bliss; Hardcover; $5.74 (Amazon price!)

"The Knitting Answer Book: Solutions to Every Problem You'll Ever Face; Answers to Every Question You'll Ever Ask"Margaret Radcliffe; Paperback; $10.17 (Amazon price!)

1 of: 1-2-3 Knit: Beginner's Guide (Leisure Arts #4337) [Paperback] by Better Homes and Gardens. (Don't remember exact price but something like $5.00 at Amazon.)

The first one listed, I ordered Sarah a copy too and hers arrived today. She said it's fabulous. It's like a course in knitting, literally takes you through projects and teaches you as you go. The projects increase in difficulty as you build skills. Mine has not arrived yet, but Zeke the mailman should start ringing the bell next week! Oh the anticipation!

The second one is fabulous - a must have. This one is specifically for those questions you will have. A small pretty lime green book. I would buy it just because it's so cute. This one will stay in my knitting bag that I now of course have.

The third one does not show the Continental style, but if I ignore the hand positions it should still be good. Some books show hand position, some just needle and yarn position. Just be careful after you choose your knitting style to see what the book you're following is teaching, or you could pull your hair out. Or curse. Or both.

Then I Tivo'd Knitty Gritty, a show Sarah told me about. It's on daily, 30 minutes long on DIY and she has yet to take a class outside her home, but rather watches this and said she has picked up great tips on it. I haven't yet told my husband that I told the Tivo to record every single showing. He's going to love that!

Next to last, (can you believe there are this many steps in just a week of experience?!) you can go to many websites and watch their videos, there are umpteen knitting blogs to follow also. Here are a few Sarah told me about ( knitting blog with great sidebar - I found this one,there are many others!)

Last, I visited the local yarn shop today. They have beginning knitting classes two hours long for $25 and the ratio is no more than 6 students to one teacher. She said they usually have 3-4, and I'm taking one next week. I cannot wait. They have open knitting one night a week and I plan to sit in on those here and there. I imagine I'll learn a lot just watching other knitters.

So pretty much gone are the days when you sat at your grandmother's knee and learned to knit. That doesn't mean an old dog can't learn new tricks, and I plan to do just that. I've already seen that it's the perfect pasttime - I knitted on the plane, waiting for my connection, last night during the World Series, and today at the hospital where my husband was having a procedure done. I've heard that women who've knitted for years can sit in the dark and knit during a movie - apparently your fingers actually begin to memorize the motions.

But girls, I've been a knitter for SEVEN DAYS, so I'm not quite there yet. And I'm also not willing to give up that saturated fat soaked popcorn either. I don't love it that much yet! It's lights on knitting for me at this point.

I need another hobby like I need a hole in the head, but knitting seems to me to be the perfect one, seriously. It's not expensive unless you want it to be, it's oh so portable, you can keep it simple or make it more complicated, and it's bound to be a great place to meet nice ladies when we move from here in less than two years. By then, I should be a bit more skilled. If I'm not, it won't be for lack of enthusiasm on my part. I rarely lack enthusiasm for anything. Sarah did correct me when I said I was a lousy knitter. She told me I am a novice knitter - that sounds so much nicer, don't you think?

And again, repeat after me - "Thanksgiving is 3.9 weeks away." You have time to learn to knit between now and then. Think of all the red scarves you can make for Christmas gifts!


  posted at 5:42 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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