Saturday, January 28, 2006

3 years of knitting

Last month marked a 3 year anniversary between me and my knitting obsession. I originally learned to knit while in grad school for Library Science as a way to control stress. Now that I'm out of school and have a real grown-up job as a librarian, I still use it for this purpose and consider it a form of meditation.

I honestly don't know what I did with my time before
I taught myself to knit. Although in many
ways, I'm still very much a beginner, I have been think a lot about how much I've learned during the past three years. The pictures, I hope, illustrate some sort of growth. Taken right outside our front door, these two scarves retain their own unique place in my knitting history. The grey, white, and tan scarf was one of my very first projects, knit in December '02. It's a garter-stitched pattern using cheap acrylic yarn--no frills. I didn't even know how to purl at the time of it's creation (though that skill came with my next project).

The lace scarf, created in the Fall of '05 was also a first for me: this is the very first project knit from wool I had spun and dyed myself. The wool comes from Bart the sheep, who lives in the pasture shown in the background. Before spinning, I dyed the wool with Kool-Aid and, amazingly enough, got all of these subtle earthy tones, rather than the neon greens and yellows one would expect from Kool-Aid. If you want to know more about knitting with this substance, there are many sites available online. The Fall '02 issue of discusses it nicely (although I didn't follow this exact method). If you do decide to try out Kool-Aid dying, remember, Kool-Aid makes a great and simple-to-use dye, but it is disgusting, non-the-less. It is best not to ingest it, in any form. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT breath in when opening the packages. I speak from experience. The dust is deadly, and you will smell fabricated grape fragrance wherever you go for days. Same rules apply to contact with skin.

The lace shawl is an alteration of a pattern from VOGUEknitting Fall '05 issue. Lace is still difficult for me as it entails remaining mindful all of the time, and my attention span leaves something to be desired. Hence, many rows had to be ripped out and redone. But it was worth the headaches. Although I have a long way to go until I can say with assurance that I'm an expert knitter, I feel like my progression over the past three years at least shows that I've started on the path.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Mom gets a hat

I sent my mom, who's back in Wisconsin, one of my clotche hat creations. Doesn't she look great?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Drew's Hat

At long last, Drew surprised me by glancing at a hat pattern in a magazine and actually exclaiming that he liked what he saw. His choice was not what I expected, but as I have wanted to make him a hat for quite a while, I went with it. The pattern is from the fall/winter 05 issue of Knitscene magazine. The Earflap Hat is a great, super-easy and quick, versatile pattern worked from the top down. Drew even said he wanted the 4 pom-poms, though I've told him since that I can always remove them (they do tend to knock around quite a bit when he moves). Since I really wanted him to like the finished product, I insisted that he pick out the yarn. That Saturday, we headed to my fabulous local yarn store, Churchmouse Yarns & Teas, and he selected his yarn. Unfortunately, the brand escapes me, and I've already lost the tag, but it is a soft wool and the green matches his eyes perfectly. That night, I knit the hat, and he was wearing it the very next day! A success! Maybe some day I'll be brave enough to make him a sweater.

I have been neglecting my blog, but not my knitting for the past month. I am mostly finished with the work for the Master Knitting Level I course. I had intended to finish over winter break, but decided it wasn't worth stressing out over. The knitting assignments went fast, but the written work has been dragging by. Every answer given must be referenced, which is as it should be, but it has slowed me down. At the same time, I've been learning a lot more than I thought I would. Particularly, I've learned how much I don't know. Because I'm self-taught and lazy, I tend to stick with learning one particular cast on, one increasing technique, etc., instead of branching out and learning which techniques are the best for particular situations. I have a feeling that this fact will result in the instructors asking me to redo a few swatches. It makes me a little nervous at the thought of them closely scrutinizing my work, but it's certainly what I need to truly improve.

Over the past month, I've also completed a couple additional projects, besides the 16 swatches for Level I and Drew's hat: A baby sweater and hat, two hats for my niece and nephew, a ribbon scarf, and a sweater for myself, knit in the round from bottom up with a yoke (my first attempt at creating my own sweater pattern as I knit it and my first time knitting a yoke).

Last month marked my 3 year "knitting anniversary." More on that in my next entry... Coming soon!