07 April 2008

I have become the kind of person who knits

I've been holding off on making this post until C. is back on a ship, where he doesn't have access to blogs - he's been ashore in Guam and was catching up on his internet-ing, and was checking out my Flickr, etc.

A while ago we saw this amazing hat linked on BoingBoing, and ever since we have been joking about me learning to knit for the sole purpose of making one for him. The other day I was at the store and I randomly saw knitting needles on the cheap and I thought - Why don't I actually learn to knit?

So, I'm DOING IT. It's been kind of intense. Here's what I have been doing since last week:

Monday - Bought needles. I picked size 10 because... that seems OK? I have no idea. Went home and harnessed the power of The Internet to learn basic stitches, using some scrap yarn I had laying around. Knitting was going to be easy! I start thinking about how I am going to blog about knitting... before I even tell him this, my friend Cornwell anticipates it, and ghostwrites my first entry: "Dear diary: So far I have one small blue square. Soon, though... soon."

Tuesday - More knitting with scrap yarn. I have knit and purl stitches down, I learned how to switch between two different colors, I'm drunk with power. I feel like I am ready to tackle the real project, but I don't have my yarn yet.

Wednesday - I go back to the store to return the needles, because they are the wrong size and also just straight needles - I need circulars! I am dismayed to find no circular needles! I leave the store with NOTHING. I spend the rest of the day reading up on knitting on the internet so I don't lose the skills I have acquired over the past two days.

Thursday - More reading about knitting. I find a lot of helpful websites with pictures of how stitches should look, and how to deal with problems such as gauge and how to create a jogless join. I feel very Zen about the fact that I am learning to knit... without needles. I'm just visualizing everything very hard at this point... but I feel confident and ready. I am a caged tiger, waiting to knit.

Friday - I head to a fabric outlet store and purchase my materials - needles and yarn. I feel kind of creepy as I rub a lot of yarn on my face discretely, before I settle on one that is cozy-feeling and not itchy. When I get home and settle in to start knitting for real - I choke a little bit at the beginning. What if I'm not ready? What if my 4 days of training weren't enough? But then I start, and it's easy! I'm knitting along at a brisk pace. I realize that in my readings from the past few days, I have managed to teach myself stranded knitting without ever having actually done it. This involves using two colors at once, which the pattern does not call for (but it is mentioned by the author). I visualize it making the finished product look neater - so I do it. I feel like some kind of knitting savant.

Saturday - The hat is looking pretty great, but I start to realize that my knitting is becoming overly ham-handed and aggressive. I feel like I am fighting with the stitches at times, unable to loosen them. I look closely at what I am doing, and compare it to examples online - and I discover I have been twisting every stitch. Every single stitch. Since they are all twisted in the same way, it looks uniform and not terribly noticeable, but it has made the size of the hat smaller than anticipated, Also, I am kind of a perfectionist about this kind of work and so... I rip it all out. I once again find myself with no hat, just two ball of yarn.

Sunday - Knitting knitting knitting. Doing it right this time! Pictures to follow...

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