Friday, November 12, 2010

Adventures of a Prodigal Knitter - Part 1

Why the prodigal knitter? Well, I returned to knitting in 2007 after a 20 year absence. The story of how that happened is discussed in my blog post, The Slowest Knitter in History. To quickly recap, I found a knitting bag with knitting in it that had been lost and abandoned 20 years ago, misplaced during a move, and finally rediscovered. I obtained a copy of the original pattern on eBay, and continued to knit the sweater, completing it one month later, 20 years after it was first cast on.
What I learned: Knitting is timeless, and muscle memory really exists.

So, buoyed by my success, I wondered what to knit next. An online friend had just started knitting for the first time, and she was knitting socks.
Socks were scary – those little pointy needles, that mysterious way they curve at the heel – no way was a beginner like her tackling socks! Well, the long-dormant competitive streak in me emerged. If she could do it, then I certainly could!
She kindly emailed me links to instructions on using 2 circular needles, a free basic sock pattern, and an article called Sock Anxiety. I ordered my 2 circs, and away I went.
I am a totally self-taught knitter, so I was fine to roll up my sleeves and embark on this new challenge. The mystery of turning the heel revealed itself to me, and my first socks turned out OK, although the colors were awfully bright…
What I learned: Knitting socks isn’t that hard, if you can follow instructions.

The bright self striping yarn in green, teal blue, purple, and hot pink was fun to knit with, but kind of bright in the finished product – the kind of socks a circus clown would use to complete his outfit.
What I learned: Just because you can knit something, doesn’t mean you should knit it.
Luckily my sister was happy to take them off my hands.

From there, I was hooked and turned out many more pairs of socks – top-down, toe-up, 2-at-a-time, even some off-the-wall Cat Bordhi designs. There was:
- A nice pair in mauve, pink, and beige, which turned out too big, so I gave them to my son.
- Another pair was also in self patterning yarn, and I chose a lace pattern.
Yes, you guessed it – the lace pattern and the self striping sock yarn were fighting it out. And I don’t know which was the winner.
What I learned: Not every sock yarn goes with every sock pattern. There’s actually an art to matching the right yarn to the right pattern.

Around this time, a friend told me about felting – a whole new adventure !! So I turned out a bunch of large and small felted bags in different styles and with various embellishments. They made great gifts.

What I learned: All that loose fuzz can damage your washing machine. I decided to slow down on the felting projects before the machine broke down in protest.

(to be continued)

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