Back in 2005 and 2006, I started getting really interested in the world of fiber crafts. I was interested… LOL, like it was something I would be fine just observing and moving on from. This is a understatement, it was an obsession.
I wanted to learn how to spin, weave, knit and prep my own fiber. (Look at me using all of those fancy words!) I had been crocheting since I was about 6, with the help of my Grandma Meryl. She didn’t have much patience with me but was tired of me messing with her yarn, cutting her Barbies hair off and stealing her golf balls. What can I say, I was a active child, my own children don’t get their boundless energy anywhere strange.
I took to hooking like a fish to water. I loved it! Before that time I had been cross stitching with my mom. (Does anyone remember the Creative Circle home parties? Man I used to LOVE those things, so many colors, so many ways to hurt yourself) I also had one of those little loop looms, you know the ones where you take the little slices of multi colored panty hose, put them on the square loom and then weave another color into that, and finish it by crocheting the edges. My mom had a drawer full of my magical little pot holders.
My poor grandma, I was sort of a dark child, I liked black and navy blue, it was my dream to paint my bedroom red and black like my 4 years older cousin Carrie. That never happened! Unicorns were my lot. Which now as an adult I think is totally awesome!
Teaching a overactive child to crochet, when you’re in your 70’s and she insists on using black yarn wasn’t the easiest, especially living in AZ where we cover our windows in what amounts to bulletproof blankets to keep the heat out. She persevered though and before long I was a crocheting fool! I made more potholders, scarves, hats that would fall apart and Barbie clothes that could double as fishnets.
Fast forward to 2006, I had a hoard of yarn from when my grandmother passed on, a second hoard of knitting needles from the $.10 bin at Savers, and an abundance of time, due to working nights.
I asked around to see if anyone knew what I should do next. No response, none of my friends were knitters and I was unaware of yarn stores. I googled, and found a lot of written ‘how tos’ but not so many pictures or any real help in a way that I could follow along. The library and bookstores (you know the places I lived in before kids) were also a miss for me.
Luckily I found the blossoming Ravelry and created an account but they couldn’t help me either. Friendships, and some amazing groups are available, tons of inspiration and patterns galore, even in the early days were available there.
Finally YouTube saved the day. Being the brilliant mind I am today I typed in ‘knitting 101’ and had 4 or 5, pretty poor quality videos pop up and my life saver. How to Cast On by Pretty Creative If she ever reads this, THANK YOU!!! Casting on is the biggest knitting challenge I have ever faced in my life. It may seem so simple to some of you but I’m sure anyone who’s tried to knit has been stuck, at least once by not knowing how to cast on!
So now I’ve joined Ravelry, met the lovely LSG contingent, learned how to cast on, next was the knit stitch. Which I taught myself from a book in the library, yep I went back and was determined to succeed. Don’t do this. I knit backwards for years!! I don’t mean I knit through the back loop, I wrapped the yarn the wrong way. I struggled, I had a hard time learning to purl because my stitches were backwards and so freaking TIGHT! I literally mean, years, I both knit and purl backwards. My legs didn’t look like other peoples legs. I thought that this was just my knitting lot, my projects were going to be slow, and uneven and it just wasn’t fun.
One day while surfing Ravelry I came across a few people talking about speed knitting. I laughed but watched the video anyhow. Miriam is amazing! I already knit continental, which means you hold the project and your yarn in your left hand. I realized from watching the video several times that I was wrapping the yarn around the needle the wrong way. So I watched a few more knitting videos and slowly, OH so slowly taught myself the correct way to knit. Before I knew it, my stockinette stitches were smoother, more uniform and easier to purl.
Once I learned how to knit properly I started just avoiding patterns with purl stitches, because I was still struggling with my purl. It was slow, mind numbing torture for me. I hated it! My dream, was to knit amazingly squishy socks in every knit pattern imaginable, but I couldn’t just stick to the no-purl monkeys. In a moment of brilliance (believe me these are remarkable moments in my world due to the rareness) I decided to see how everyone else purled. Yep, I was doing it backwards.
O________O Yeah that was pretty much my face because boy did I feel dumb! WooHOO learning to purl changed my life! I could now do lace, I could make shawls, I could go after every single sock pattern out there. And WOOOO are there a lot of subpar sock patterns to wade through. So I started knitting, not just collecting yarn and knitting needles. I had finished objects for once. Real, true wearable items (as long as I didn’t try to wash them, my laundry prowess is a new development) that brought in complements and comments of all kinds. I made my now 7 year old knit pants, and hats, my almost 5 year old got more pants, and hats and the cutest little almost flip flop things. My 2 year old….. well he gets to wear his sisters hand me downs, cause really, I have 4 kids. If I knit for one, I need to knit for all of them and I can barely find my keys most mornings, it’s just not happening right now.
Are you local to me? Do you want to learn to knit? I’ll teach you!! If you’re not local, please learn from my trial and error and either pay for classes at your local yarn store, or marvel at the wonder that is You Tube. I even got you started over < there with knitting 101 videos.
What are my favorite knitting needles? Without a doubt Chiagoo Red Lace needles. Choosing needles is a personal experience for everyone but I love the cables on these and the super sharp tips. Want a set for yourself? Click the link below. This is an affiliate link so while I won’t be getting rich from your purchase I may make a few cents.