Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Knitting Journey

I learned to knit when I was either 12 or 13. I was a Beehive in Young Women's and one of the combined YW activities was learning to knit a wash cloth. I remember I was in seventh grade because I worked on that wash cloth during the judging of our science fair projects.

The project was simple and I learned the knit stitch and yarn overs. I lost the pattern before the decreases, so I "made up" knit two together. It seemed like the most logical way to decrease to me, at least. And I learned to cast off. You might think I learned to cast on the project as well, but with only 4 cast on stitches, it didn't really stick in my brain. In fact, it wasn't until a few projects later that I got the hang of casting on. I'm always surprised when I teach someone to cast on and they get it right away. I was not blessed with such knitting prowess.

And that's all I knew how to do for a while. In high school, I received a "How to Knit" book at Christmas that came with some needles and stitch markers and such. From that book, I learned purl, but I didn't realize that I was twisted my purl stitches for years. It wasn't until I learned continental that I realized I had been purling wrong.

In high school I made mostly scarves and simple projects. I learned that if you knit something for a boy, he will leave you. I also started my first sweater in high school using double strands of Red Heart. I never finished it because I remember my dad saying something negative about it. It was ugly, but I did want to knit a sweater. I have yet to knit myself a sweater, though I've done a few baby sweaters.

I went to college. My parents didn't "let me" bring my knitting needles because they thought I wouldn't study. It was only later that I realized, "Hey, I'm an adult and who said that my knitting falls under their domain?" I gained my voice too late. I didn't knit much until I met McKay. I knit myself my temple slippers and some hideous mittens for a roommate. I also tried knitting socks for the first time and learned short rows.

In 2007, I decided I wanted to learn continental because English was too slow for me. Starting over was hard. You have to go back to doing each stitch deliberately and trying to get the tension right was hard! But I kept at it knowing that if I could master continental, I would be able to knit faster and get more projects done.

This summer I took my first knitting class. I really enjoyed it even though my project still needs finishing.

I knit because I like it. I knit out of necessity (soakers for my baby). I knit out of learning new techniques like intarsia or stranded knitting. I still have yet to do lace that needs wet blocking (I have the yarn for it, but it needs to be wound into balls!). And I should get around to doing a sweater for myself some day.

With the few knit graffiti projects I've done, I can use knitting for art and to make a statement. I always wanted to be an artist, but I wasn't encouraged to do much outside of school and piano. Knitting lets me fill that need to create. It's also wonderfully anonymous and sneaky. All of my graffiti projects were designed to brighten someone's day.

Ravelry might be the best thing that has happened to knitting since sheep. I love Ravelry because I can see what inspirations other people have knit. Sometimes I'm still trying to find my knitting "groove." But I'm only 24. I have a few more decades of knitting ahead of me.


Miss E said...

I admire your passion for knitting! Unfortunately, it seems not many young people knit these days.. i'm 23 and am struggling to find people my age who knit. Your knitted items look lovely, keep it up!

TopHat said...

Miss E,
I'm 24, so I'm your age! I highly recommend Ravelry. You'll find lots of young people there!