Thursday, September 16, 2004


A Knitter Is Born

I've become complete obsessed with knitting. Why now? I taught myself how to knit years ago. I've even retaught myself several times since. Why would I suddenly become obsessed with it now? Have I simply matured into it? Have the stars simply aligned into perfect knitting harmony?

I blame it on Knitty Gritty and Knit One, Purl Two on the DIY network. It was the Chunky Baby Sweater that really got to me at first. My friend was pregnant with her first baby, and I was trying for my own first. This sweater would be perfect for our little ones! But I could scarcely knit a square, let alone think about fronts, backs, sleeves and collars. I had one set of size 10 1/2 knitting needles and 4 skeins of Red Heart yarn that I hadn't chosen myself. Then baby came and I had no time, I was busy with her, then going back to work and school and many other projects as well.

Then came Knitty Gritty. That was a whole new take on knitting. And this was much easier to follow than Edith Eig's heavy accent and inconsistant instruction. This has a Knitty-Cam! I recorded every episode I could get to on my Tivo knockoff and studied them. I'd watch them over and over with ugly acrylic yarn on oversized needles, practicing, rewinding, unraveling, pausing, knitting, replaying again and again. And she was doing wild projects like guitar straps! Not that I needed or wanted a knitted guitar straps, but it started to open my eyes to the possibilities beyond simply scarf and hat.

Then it happened. I deviated from the square.

Using information about how to make gussets (sp?) I learned from Edith's Small Tote Bag how to do these, and then away I went! And from that was born The Ugly Blue Bag, and its successor, The Not-So-Ugly Burgundy Purse, which came about when I impulsively spent $2 on #5 needles at Walmart. But I still had no weaving needle to weave in the ends of the yarn, so the bags remained.

Then one of those oddly serendipitous events occurred. A poster on a FLYlady list happened to mention a pinafore pattern on called "Anouk". "A pinafore?" I wondered to myself, "How ugly is that?" and I decided I had to see for myself. In a single glance, I was completely sold. I had to find out how to make that dress for my newly arrived daughter.

And that's when it started. I was getting sucked into knitting culture. There were message boards, websites, BLOGS! THERE ARE KNITTING BLOGS!! I found political action knitters: Knitters for Kerry and Knitters Against Bush.

I found yarn shops online, and then began to explore the knit shops in my area...KNIT SHOPS! There were places I could go to learn, to share ideas, or just sit and knit and be among my own kind!

Oh Happy Day!

Recently, my mother gave my all of her knitting and crochet needles. I had seen that there were some weaving or tapestry needles in there too, as well as two needles that my mother identified as having been made by my grandmother from palm needles - all of these needles she pulled from the giveaway pack. Still, my grandmother, the coolest of all grandmothers, had just reached an alltime high in my book, despite her having been gone for more than 20 years.

But I digress.

The crux of the story is that I'm broke and have discovered that knitting is not only materials intensive, but those materials are often quite expensive. So I've amassed in my head a list of projects that I intend to plow through before the holidays, in order, as I come up with the cash.

Harry Potter - Griffindore scarf for my friend Brion, whose birthday in mid-August went sans gift because I was flat broke then as now.
Anouk pinafore, likely in a purple and blue colorscheme, possibly with fish on the pockets, for my youngest goddessdaughter, Sara, whose 1st birthday suffered the same fate as Brion's.
Anouk pinafore in black with a white trim (probably using chunky Snowflake, possibly with an white eyelash mixed in) for my own daughter for the holidays
with my own design for an overcoat made from black chenille and trimmed (bottom and cuffs) in the same white snowflake (possibly with fur mixed in).
Two felted handbags, one each for my two oldest goddess daughters. One will likely have a Union Jack on one side, and a plaid pattern on the other, and the other will have either superhero logos (Superman and Batman) or an anime theme.
And, if time and energy permit, I would really like to do the Chunky Baby Sweater for both my daughter, Anya, and for Sara.

I know. I'm ambitious.

But I now love knitting. Despite my limited supplies, I work on swatches of stitches and patterns to see what I can learn and do, so that when I finally get to the real supplies, I can simply run with them.

Maybe I have matured into my knitting. Maybe I didn't have a good enough reason to knit before. No. It's not just one thing. It's all of them at once. I am more secure about who I am, less boxed in about what knitting has to be, and I have four wonderful girls in my life for who I can make wonderful projects, not to mention friends, family AND ME! That's plenty to get creative about. So maybe it's not so much obsession as it is a whole new realm of possibilities!
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