Wednesday, November 2, 2011

October is my Knitting Anniversary

The first thing I ever knit...

Is it funny that I can tell you the exact day I "became a knitter?"  I can.

October 18, 2008.

It's a long story and I like to tell it so I guess I'll back up a bit

I took two trips out to visit my Mom and Dad over two subsequent summers (it must have been during the Summer of 2007 and the Summer of 2008) and my mom kept TRYING to show me how to knit.  During the lesson in 2007, Mom showed me the knit stitch… I just did not get it.  It was awkward, I was all thumbs, I thought I'd NEVER get it, I was not all that interested, and I never thought knitting would be "my thing". 

During the second session in 2008, Mom showed me the knit stitch and the purl stitch. This time around, I was a little more intrigued and interested; she gave me a kit to make a scarf which included some plastic/acrylic needles and yarn, as well as a pattern.  I remember jotting some verbal cues on a scrap of paper to help me to remember where to insert the needle (if knitting or purling), when to have the yarn in the front or the back, etc., but it was just so awkward.  My mom is left handed but she does lots of things right handed. She was teaching me to knit with the yarn in my right hand and the motion of wrapping the yarn around the left needle with my right hand seemed ridiculously cumbersome to me.  I felt like each time I went to wrap the yarn, I had to shift my hands all around, resulting in lots of fumbling and no good tension on the work.  I also remember having the hardest time pushing my work up the needles as I got farther into the row.  It was a struggle, but I was determined to give it an effort because... after all... my mom had given me the kit to make an actual project!  I had everything I needed in my great kit!

My folks dropped me off at the airport after our visit and, as I was waiting for the plane, I sat there trying like mad to remember what she had JUST taught me. I really struggled.  I could look at the basic knitting instructions in the pattern, but the two dimensional drawings just did not bring it to life for me.  No help!

Several weeks later (October 18, 2008), I was at my son's football game; a beautiful Autumn day in Colorado!  Another family we knew showed up to watch a later game, and Dawn parked herself next to me in a lawn chair and proceeded to cast on the cutest baby sweater in a fine, soft white yarn - a gift for someone who was expecting.  I sat there mesmerized as I watched Dawn cast on using the long tail cast on method!  I was captivated... I had to ask,"What is that?"; I had NEVER seen anything like THAT before.  It was this amazing cast on technique.  I was sold.  I said to myself, "I have GOT to learn how to do THAT?"

October 18, 2008, was memorable for another reason.  Within about an our of Dawn sitting down next to me and casting on the baby sweater, one of my son's team mates was seriously injured when he was tackled in the football game.  Initially it seemed like he was okay but he began to have a seizure on the sidelines.  He was rushed to a local hospital and then later rushed by helicopter to a hospital in Denver for emergency neurosurgery (bleeding in the brain, severe swelling and trauma).  It was an incredibly scary time for the family.  The other families on the football team rallied together, providing meals for the family, providing transportation for the family... we had bake sales, pizza party fundraisers at the middle school, a sloppy joe supper at the Elks Lodge.  One family on the team had us come to their house to harvest their wine grapes and all the proceeds went to help the family of the injured boy.  Never in all my life had I felt such a strong sense of community and unity... it was small town living in America at it's very best.  Thankfully the injured boy recovered; he's still one of my son's classmates and all is well.  So my desire to learn to knit and this scary incident will forever be linked.

After this big day in October 2008, I remembered my mom had given me another knitting instructional kit years prior (I did not even have a DVD player at the time). This kit contained two DVDs of video knitting instruction.  I sat down with my yarn and needles in front of the computer... play, pause, rewind, play, pause, rewind... over and over.   I was hooked!  I haven’t stopped knitting ever since.  Look what you started, Mom! See… Mothers do know best!

The videos helped me learn the long tail cast on... so very cool!  I still find the look of the long tail cast on to be rather hypnotic.  The lady in the video taught knitting using the Continental method where you hold the yarn in your left hand (if you are right handed).  I never did figure out how to wrap the yarn around the fingers on my left hand, as traditional Continental knitters do, but having been a crocheter for years, I found myself throwing the yarn over the right needle with my left hand just like I throw the yarn over a crochet hook when crocheting.  It's all wrong but it works!  Through October and November 2008, our family was busy with fund raisers for the injured boy's family, but when I went to football practice or otherwise had some time to relax, I sat there with my yarn and needles and eventually ended up with a scarf-shaped object. I stopped when when I ran out of yarn.  The scarf rolled something awful when it was done; I crocheted a border in single crochet around the perimeter of the project. 

So there you have it... the story of how I became a knitter three years ago.  And I don't think I'll ever stop.  More than any other hobby I've ever had, it feels to me as if knitting is endless.  I never stop learning new things in my knitting and I continue to find new things I love about knitting.  I had a brief, fleeting moment just a few weeks ago where, for the first time, I recall getting the slightest bit frustrated and... dare I say... disenchanted! with my knitting... but for the life of me, I can't now remember why that was.  I love knitting... I love everything about it.  So many great patterns, so many beautiful yarns, so many things I want to make, so many challenges ahead... and I will continue to share it all with you right here.

Thank you for joining me on my journey ADVENTURE!

1 comment:

Gecika said...

That's an amazing story for your first time, and an even better memory I'm sure :)

Amazing first project, I was only taught how to do a knit stitch when I was 8. Never finished that scarf.

I learned how to purl about 3 years ago, and haven't looked back.

Good for you!