Thursday, November 10, 2011

Taming the Beast: Versus the Knitting Needles

I am the type of person to whom sewing came easy. Within a month of sewing, I was drafting my own patterns, and looking for a higher-quality machine to work on a long scale. To this day sewing remains the one skill I have that I have the most confidence in. Despite being a general crafter, when people as me what I do, my response is always the same: “I sew.”

However, knowing how to knit is something that opens design doors, and would allow me to expand on the things I make. Unfortunately, where sewing, bookbinding, and various other crafts came easy, knitting is something I just don't grasp.

When I first picked up a basic knitting kit three or so years ago I thought it would be easy. Two needles, one thing of yarn, lets do this thing! Then I actually tried. My stitches were a mess, and forget about gauges and designs. Please! I was hopeless, and not to mention in pain.  (It took a better part of the past three years to realize I need to relax while knitting, and only use wooden needles.)

Since then, once a year, when the weather gets cold I break out the knitting needles and struggle through a week or month of Trying To Knit, before giving up completely.

And Trying To Knit was quite the ritual.  It generally came out with the snow, when other past-times like skating and hula-hooping outdoors got bothersome, and before I realize that Netflix just updated their entire Instant Watch catalog with some obscure television show that I will spend the next few months engrossed in with never-ending cups of hot chocolate.  It involved cursing, and ripping out stitches, and unraveling everything I had done only to redo it, unravel, redo, unravel in a never-ending series of frustration and a scarf only ten inches long before I QUIT.

This year, however, I've noticed something: for all my complaining, sore fingers, and confusion, I'm getting better.

Which is a good thing because this is also the year I opted to knit some Christmas gifts. Go figure, right? But what I've learned is this:  If I weren't knitting things for Christmas, I never would have learned.

For me, knitting was never a real challenge because I never had a reason to do it. Scarves are the traditional beginner's project, but I don't need no stinkin' scarves (no, really: I already own a number, most of which I use to tie back my hair, and my one knit scarf does the job just fine in winter). Socks, however? Adorable knit octopodes? These are the thing I need in my life. Or, rather: the lives of my friends who will be receiving them.

And, really: knitting is fun.

Who knew?

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