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Crafty! Knitting project #1

February 2, 2010

I have been a sewer, a quilter, a cross-stitcher, and generally crafty person for years. But I only learned how to knit recently. Now I can’t get enough of it. My latest quilting project sits abandoned in a box, and has for years now. But my first real knitting project is finally done!

My grandmother was an avid knitter. She would knit in the car. In the dark. In the car in the dark. My mom has drawers full of her gifted projects stowed away for my future progeny. Which is actually quite heartwarming, despite my current indecisiveness about becoming a mother.

My mom is also a knitter, though she, too, only recently picked it up in earnest. She has spent the last few years becoming quite proficient at quilting, which supplements her general sewing skills. Thank goodness for moms who still pass on these skills! Home Ec class was a total bummer in school, but I really think these skills are vital. And not just for girls. I feel lucky that my mom is a good sewer and a good cook, and that she taught me early. I can mend my clothes, sew on buttons, hem my own pants, even make simple alterations. But I absolutely love the act of creation.

Making something homemade is a completely different type of creation than I experience when I’m singing, which is also an act of creation. But music does not last. It may stay in the hearts and minds of the audience, but it is by definition ephemeral, which is one of the things I love about that type of creation. Knitting or quilting something by hand creates a THING. It will last because it will be well-made and well-cared for. It may even last several generations if it becomes an heirloom. I’m not materialistic in the traditional sense, but I have a great respect for things that last. And things that last made with care by people for people they care about are particularly special.

I had tried a few socks about a year ago, but once I got finished with one, I wanted to move on to a new project. The trouble with socks is that you need two of them to be finished with the project. And they are supposed to match and look the same. My first two socks made for good practice, but I got my hands on some new books and wanted to try something different. I got some new yarn for Christmas, and wanted to try a more complicated stitch pattern. I am pretty happy with the stitch pattern, though I followed the pattern based on the width of my foot at its widest point, which turned out to be larger than I would like. I also guessed wrong at the number of pattern repeats I needed for the length of the foot, so they are a bit long. Live and learn. I know they are just socks, but they are my first, and I am proud that I persevered and completed them.

I’ve done a little looking around since finishing them, and I certainly have a lot to learn still, but the knitting community is pretty awesome. There are some people making really beautiful things and sharing them online. I’m a lot like my mom in the way that she does really solid, beautiful work, but isn’t the most fashion-forward or gutsy when it comes to color choices. I have a hard time imagining a pattern in a different color than the version pictured, and I’m nowhere near good enough to begin modifying patterns to my taste. I’m not artistic or fashionable in that way. I’m sure I can become a very technically proficient knitter quite quickly, but I will probably always tend towards safe color choices and classic patterns. Which I’m OK with for now, because I’m still kind of impressed with myself anyway.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Bates permalink
    February 10, 2010 11:04 am

    I’ve always treasured your patience at learning crafty skills. I think the cross stitch you did of the seasons and home is heart warming! I cuddled up under an afghan made by my grandmother the other day. It’s still in great shape. I can imagine passing it on to another generation. My attempts are haphazard and clumsy, but I do get into the process. I think I’ll spend some hours on Toby’s scrapbook today. We’re certainly not going any where in this blizzard! Hugs. Julia

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