Saturday, October 21, 2006

My History of the Knit (because I'm not at Rhinebeck, boo)

It was the loudest bit of muppet pelt I had ever seen lying around her neck. But it was also the dead of winter in more ways than one and returning to a new semester of sitting in a halogen-lit classroom was not a promising start. The scarf, however, was. Somehow over winter break, my nursing class president had found a little time to knit herself up a Crystal Palace eyelash-yarn scarf. As opposed to the 'Fun Fur' garbage you can find at any Walmart today, this stuff was soft, had a beautiful sheen, and I wanted one.

I begged her to tell me where she found the yarn. "Oh, I went to the Yarn Barn to get it." and that cinched it. I had little money but that afternoon I shelled out cash for a pair of size 17 bamboo needles and a skein of amethyst shaded novelty yarn heaven.

It didn't go very well. I could barely remember how to cast on from when I had learned in sixth grade after school, my little sister not too far. I had liked it then, enough to raid my mother's knitting needles for some circulars and find and lose the matching sibling of almost all her straights. But my memory was rusty, the yarn was terribly slippery, and the bamboo needles were about as elegant as a pair of broom handles. I had enough. But instead of giving up, I went to my resource, the one place that knew nearly every answer to every question I had. Admittedly, I didn't do this until after I was pinned as an LPN, which is probably a blessing because there were one or two of the three professors that I had who would have been graciously greeted on-stage with a size 2 DPN in the eye if I had the option. As it was, they got a cold-fish handshake and a silent "may our paths never cross again, foul nemesis" instead. Except for Ginny, the pumpkin-headed fireball with a marvelous sense of humor. I love Ginny and her wise words still accompany me into almost all situations in life.

After the fiasco with the Crystal Palace yarn (that is still sitting in my stash to this very day), I turned to what I figured was 'better' stuff. Which meant Lion Bran Homespun. I embarassed myself unwittingly by asking for it at the Yarn Barn. The dears gave me a blank look and said that they didn't even know what that was, let alone carry it. That should've been a hint. I finally found some at Hobby Lobby, made some scarves, even made a friend a stole out of some and then I found a group of online friends with a sharp edge to their humor and a decent head on their shoulders.

I also moved to Utah then where my aunt kept the thermostat at a chilling 70 degrees no matter the weather. My first Rogue was born through the late summer months as I shivered at my desk and pursued my RN. It was made out of Cascade 220. I've since sold or given away all my acrylic save for a ball of blue Red Heart that I keep for stitch-holding.

I've followed a lot of fads since then, and I've realized that though nothing is impossible when it comes to knitting, to life, there is always something left to learn. This following year, as I my 3rd year as an official knitstress, I hope to tackle intarsia and fair isle. I also want to try Continental knitting, though I've gotten really fast with the English (I once got a giggle out of people when they asked me what kind of knitting I do and I replied that I was a 'tosser'. There's a double meaning in that, so to speak). I don't knit everywhere I go but I do always have a project with me, just in case I end up stuck in a line somewhere, waiting for someone (Godot? I bet that book would be far more interesting if the characters in it took up knitting--not that I've actually read it).

And finally I have learned that as much as I want to do, as much yarn as I want to (and do, sometimes) buy, the limit lies in my speed and in my skill. Too bad, I did want to make a few more hats for myself this year.

1 comment:

  1. The socks are *absolutely* beautiful, I know seasoned knitters who really did not want to finish them,(and didn't), congrats. And no, I've gotten as far as printing off the pattern, yep, that's it.
    I still have a 'bigO'bag' of Lion Homespun (don't most people?) waaaay back in the spare closet, the thing is...I do like some of the colours, and it is soft, and being acrylic would probably wear like iron (I did make a sweater and hat for my grandson and he absolutely loved it, has outgrown it of course). I figure maybe someday I'll haul it out and make some kind of blankie...for my husband, he likes it...he doesn't knit either.;)

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