Monday, December 12, 2005

The beginning (my first scarf)

A few months ago, on a train headed upstate, Emily gave me a lesson on knitting. It felt funny to me, coming as I do from a line of women in which each generation is successively less gifted in the "domestic arts," to be holding knitting needles. Nevertheless, I managed to grasp the basics and completed several rows of garter stitch on that train ride. After the first few rows my stitches started to tighten drastically, resulting in a very irregularly shaped swatch.

A few days later, I went out to Purl in SoHo and bought some yellow Manos del Uruguay yarn which John picked out, and started my first scarf. Just plain and simple garter stitch, as I had not yet learned to purl. I started with 40 stitches and soon counted 42, but fortunately my mistakes were not too obvious. During my first few knitting sessions I would concentrate so hard that I'd forget to breathe, and I'd get all queasy and headachey. But as I plodded on, my fingers started to memorize the movements, and my breathing fell into step with the rhythm of the stitches. John likes his scarves extra long and wide, so I didn't finish that scarf for another three months.

Since then, knitting, like most things in which I get involved, seems to have become an obsession. I bought myself Stitch 'n Bitch: The Knitter's Handbook and started to get a little more ambitious. I am now halfway through my fourth hat and close to finishing my third scarf. With each new project I have tried to learn something new. I made a scarf for Grandma and learned how to purl, rib, and make stripes. Then I made her a matching hat and learned to follow a pattern, knit in the round with a circular needle and double-pointeds, make baby cables, and decrease. The Kittyville hat I made for John's one-year-old niece taught me to pick up stitches, seed stitch, and make I-cords and pom-poms. And so on and so forth (hopefully more details and pictures to come).

I find myself spending much of the time that I'm not knitting looking at other knitters' web sites. It occurred to me that I really ought to start my own knitting blog, if only to keep track of my projects.

I will try to get pictures of my already completed projects so I can post the backlog, plus there will be lots more in the near future as I am in the process of cramming for the holidays.


John's scarf
Started: July 17, 2005
Finished: Oct. 25, 2005
Yarn: Manos del Uruguay Handspun Semi Solid Goldenrod, 3 skeins
Needles: US 9 bamboo straights

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