Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Casting on

My first vague memory of knitting was making wash cloths at school, being taught: “bunny goes into his hole, puts on his scarf and then hops out again. Bunny goes into his hole, puts on his scarf and then hops out again” etc. I remember the yarn being quite thick and fluffy and actually more like string than wool, or at least what my understanding of wool was (scratchy and not something I wanted to wear in direct contact with my skin). Casting on was an anathema. I knew it happened, but as it was done by an adult for me (I don’t even remember seeing it happen), it held a certain mystery. My memory was that I dropped more stitches than I knitted, and in the end the person teaching me got bored of picking them up so I had more holes than I did not-holes. Maybe it was my first attempt at lace knitting! I think somewhere around that time, I saw some knitting that my grandmother had done and asking if I could knit some, pretty much to show off my new-found skill. She told me no, as different people knitted in different ways. It made sense at the time but was still a little bit crushing given that I only wanted to knit a few stitches.

Fast forward on to about seven or eight years ago and I took up the needles again, but didn’t feel that I progressed much further than casting on, knitting and purling. To be fair that’s better than I did the first time, and I managed to teach myself quite a lot from Stitch and Bitch, including the bar increase and knit two together decrease. I knitted quite a lot of scarves, some mini hats for Innocent Smoothies, some more scarves and the beginnings of a garter stitch jumper (now been brought out of hibernation). Most of my yarn was acrylic and whilst I saw the lure of ‘proper’ yarn, I also saw its expense. I made a few comfort squares (knitting on the diagonal so I didn’t need to worry about gauge, and even then made the things too big) for a Macmillan Cancer blanket and designed a baby blanket-ish. Again, this needs to be dragged out of hibernation and completed. And maybe properly written down as a pattern.

 Actually, I fib. I also started to teach myself intarsia. The project for that is also, you guessed it, in hibernation. I had a knitting blog around that time, now deleted. I can’t remember what it was called or what I put on it, other than it was hosted at Xanga. I just remember my enthusiasm for blogging got lost with my enthusiasm for knitting. Maybe I gave up because I wasn’t getting quick results like I expected ? Maybe something newer and shinier came along?

 This is what I call my second wave of knitting enthusiasm and I’m determined to make it stick around longer this time. I have a pretty large inherited stash with some quite nice yarns which I have to work my way through. I’m on the tail end of knitting a baby jumper, and have gritted my teeth through all the bits that went wrong. I’m a little better at making good on my mistakes and see how things all fit together. I’ve got ideas on how to make that knitting Olympics jumper actually fit properly which I probably wouldn’t have done then. I’ve discovered Ravelry. I feel it’s all coming together nicely, and I have lots of ideas of things I want to blog about.

 Of course, this renewed enthusiasm may be nothing more than the most massive procrastination from my MA dissertation. But I’d like to kid myself that it’s not.

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