Normally when I learn a new skill, I jump in feet first. I pick the final project that I am lusting after and simply go for it. Knitting, however, was different and scared me. It seemed difficult and daunting as I watched my friends knitting hats, toys, and sweaters. I glanced at their patterns and experienced extreme confusion. I was nervous, but ready to dip my toe in the water.
Good Friends and Wine
A few girlfriends and I had a weekly Mom’s Night In where we would enjoy a glass of wine, chat, and work on craft projects. One night I begged them to teach me to knit. I was handed two plastic needles and some scratchy brown yarn. My friend, who has been knitting for a few decades, taught me how to cast on and the basic knit stitch. I sat on the couch and repeated these two skills until I felt comfortable with them. I noticed that the sides of the square I was knitting were growing and beginning to make the piece look like a pyramid. I had been accidentally creating a yarn over and increasing the amount of stitches on my needle when I turned my work. After some giggling, the problem was corrected and I was able to knit.
Joining a Group
I purchased some cotton yarn and began honing my skill by knitting dishcloths. I still use many of these dishcloths to this day. But I felt like I was ready for something more. It was time to learn to purl – basically a knit stitch in reverse. I knew that it was used to create cute patterns inside of the dishcloths I was knitting. My friends and I had joined a group of knitters who met every Monday night at the local Barnes and Noble. The women and men were kind and helpful and enjoyed teaching me. Over a caramel latte, a friend from the group showed me how easy it was to purl and it took me just a few tries and I had it perfected.
Adding to My Skills
Now I was desperate to knit a hat. I knew there was a way to do it (called in the round) where I would not need to sew a seam and was told it was a much quicker process. I was intrigued and nervous. My circular needles were connected by a wire and I remember worrying that my stitches would tighten around the wire and not go back on my needles. I was assured that I was being silly. After talking with my friends and my knitting group, I decided to go to www.knittinghelp.com and watch videos of this process. I watched a few very helpful videos, held my breath, and joined my stitches in the round. It was simple and magical. I also learned about stitch markers (worrying they might get stuck in my knitting) and how to switch to double pointed needles. The videos were very detailed and showed me everything I could want to learn.
In no time at all I was knitting a multi-cabled sweater vest for my son and socks for a friend. It briefly entered my mind that I might get bored of knitting if I learned it all so quickly. That was almost eight years ago and has not proved true. I am still learning new things and trying new patterns. There is a technique to knit two socks at the same time using two sets of circular needles that I am planning to try very soon. Ravelry, a knitting and crochet social network, has kept me knitting and encouraged me to pick up crocheting as well. There are so many things in my queue that I want to knit, and I plan to get to them soon.