Monday, March 13, 2006

How I Learned to Knit...

Beak Knits! has asked her readers to share their "learning to knit" stories. This is a timely topic for me to reflect upon, as my one year knit-iversary is quickly approaching, April first.
Last year I decided that I was finally going to learn how to knit. I wasn't sure how to approach it, none of my friends knit. My buff's mom has knit forever, but I didn't want to go there, I guess I was too intimidated to ask a master knottier for help. Of course this was before I knew that anyone who knits LOVES to teach others to knit. And BTW, buff's mom has been one of my biggest fans. She goes on about how perfect my stitches are. Thanks Mary, xoxo.
Being a sew-and-sew long before I had that yarn twinkle in my eye, I decided to sign up for a beginning knitting class at my favorite fabric shop. They offer tons of great classes on all kinds of crafty things, the fabric shop has a small but decent selection of yarn. I had never been into a real yarn shop, so I really had nothing to compare it to.

My first scarf
in lion brand woolease

Armed with my supplies list, I chose cascade 220 in a dreamy heathery robins egg blue #9452, and some #7 clovers. On the drive home I kept looking at my new yarn, the class was 2 weeks away, was I really supposed to just stare at it for TWO WEEKS? On the way home I swung by the local book store. I saw "Stitch n' Bitch", and I knew it was for me. I flipped through it, yep, definitely for me. I went home and scoured that book, page by page. Somehow I slept that night, but only to awake at 6 a.m. & attempt to wind that yarn. Using my knees, I eventually managed to wind a pathetic ball of yarn. Then I took it step by step by step, casting on, knit stitch for a dozen rows, then purl a dozen, then bind off. My stitches were super tight at first, and a little wonky. There were unintentional yarnovers, and my bind off was ridiculously tight that the edge was about two inches narrower than the rest of the piece, which wasn't very uniform in width to begin with. I decided that I needed a bit more help, but couldn't wait until the class. I went online. I found lots of great knitting blogs. People were so creative and very generous with their knowledge. I ended up at I wish that I could remember now which blog I was visiting when I discovered it. So to every blogger who has ever mentioned, I eternally thank all of you!

My first hat, first cables, and first attempt at knitting in the round

also lion brand woolease

I spent the next couple of weeks practicing everyday. I was knitting, and it was getting better every hour of each passing day. Fast forward two weeks, I get to class, & after 1/2 an hour, the instructor told me that I really didn't need the class. I had exhausted half of the cascade, ripping it out and re-knitting it a dozen times or more. I decided to practice on something less special to me. So I got a bunch of woolease, went home, and knit, and knit, and then knit some more.Although it was used for all of my first projects, I now use woolease strictly for practicing new stitches/techniques.

My second, or third scarf
lion brand chunky woolease
Incidentally, I still have that half ball of cascade 220. It is safely stashed away in the special golden stash hall of fame. I like the idea of treasuring my first ball of yarn.
I have kept all of my first projects, in a storage bin, I look at them once in awhile, makes me giggle. I began working in a yarn shop last September. Depending on how slow or busy it is, we spend a portion of the day answering quick questions ("I cannot remember how to pick up stitches") to lengthier tutorials with newbies ("How come I cast on 20, but after a few rows I have 26?"). I have taught two people to knit, my guy, and my friend Stephanie. They both picked it up in one day, and continue to enjoy it. I have several other folks who have asked me to teach them, and I am looking forward to it.


  1. I really enjoyed reading your journey into the knitting world. I taught myself to knit 6 years ago while on bedrest with my 4th child. I used every beginner book on knitting from the library- taking a little bit from this one and a little bit from that. I wish I still had my sampler.. I just kept knitting trying new stitches..when I couldn't afford to buy wool yarn I learned to spin my own. now I am knitting, spinning, weaving, and crocheting.. I remember how bored I was pre knitting. I haven't been bored since..:-)

  2. I love it! I think it is grand that you still have that first ball of yarn.

    From all the amazing things you do it is hard to believe you've only been knitting a year!

  3. Ok, first of all, I am COMPLETELY floored that you've only been knitting a year. I would have guessed many more years. You are obviously a naturally gifted knitter! Thanks for sharing your story. :)

  4. You precocious little knitter, you! I'm glad to see you feeling well enough to knit and blog, and happy early knitiversery.

  5. wow, your one year is much more prolific than my entire knitting career! One thing I forgot to mention in my "story" was that my sister-in-law was here from Alaska and had Stich n Bitch, I went on Amazon and voila, I found your blog! That inspired me to start knitting again, thanks!

  6. your second or third scarf looks pretty damned amazing! i think i was still mastering garter stitch at that point...

    ooh... i am definitely coming to california this weekend! i'll be in san jose thursday night and driving up to berkeley either friday night or saturday morning... so maybe you could email me the name of your store and when you'll be around this weekend? I'd love to meet you and see your store.

  7. Man, I can't believe that you just learned to knit less than a year ago. That lovely scarf is quite impressive. Well done!

  8. Cute that you kept half of your first ball of yarn;-)
    It's so incredible how utterly enhancing this whole online knitting community is- all this amazing progress within ONE year!?!

    The green leaves scarf is very pretty- have you finished it yet?
    I really have a thing for leaves...