Learning to knit....

"knitting makes interesting and mundane things intriguing. The only other thing that does that has the disadvantage of giving you a hangover instead of a pair of socks"
This quote is from the book Knitting Rules by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, http://www.yarnharlot.com/. I love this book. It was a gift from my mother in 2007 just as learning to knit was a gift from my mother in 2001.
My mother has knit for as long as I have been alive, and probably longer. I can't remember her not knitting. When she is frustrated or angry she knits more. My brothers and I can tell when she is going through a big event in her life by the amount of knit projects she starts cranking out in a year. If it's a year where there is not much turmoil she'll probably crank out 10 sweaters ranging from adult sweaters to toddler sweaters. If it's a year of turmoil, where she needs time to think, meditate and focus, that amount can double, and will range from a variety of projects. To top it off, she's a beautiful knitter. I'm glad she signed me up for knitting classes in 2001. However, I really only knit scarves and hats for about 7 years and I wasn't as addicted to it as I am now. What changed? The gift of 'Knitting Rules' by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. All of the sudden it made sense.

With the gift of Knitting rules, I became inspired to learn how to knit socks. I signed up for a sock knitting class in February of 2008 at So Much Yarn, http://www.somuchyarn.com/ and I was off. My niece also noticed me knitting a scarf over Christmas and wanted me to teach her. Well I know where my skills are lacking and I know I can't teach someone to knit, so I signed her and myself up for Begining Knitting at So Much Yarn starting in March 2008. She took to it right away, and even though I wasn't a beginer technically I learned so many new things that it was well worth it to take again. I made my first sweater in that class. After five weeks of begining knitting we signed up for intermediate knitting classes where I knit another sweater, then I learned to crochet grocery bags, I knit baby sweaters, I knit neckwarmers, fingerless gloves, started another sweater that I didn't make proper notes from back to front on and had to rip out half of it and it's still in time out. If you could see the work that went into the sweater you can only imagine the nausea that came over me when I had to rip back not just one side of the front of the vest but both sides half way down. I am hooked now and there is no turning back. I have knit more things in this year than I knit the first seven. I knit a blanket for my husband and by the end of it the thing weighed in between 15 and 20 pounds and I had a blister on one of my fingers from the rubbing of the wooden needles.

Over the summer a friend of mine and I met for happy hour before knitting class. She doesn't knit but she walked with me to the yarn shop before my class started . When she walked in the first words out of her mouth were, 'This must be like a candy store for you!' and it is. If you have never been into a yarn store, a real yarn store, I think you should just walk in, stand there for about 5 minutes, walk around if you can move, feel free to touch the merchandise and I'll bet before you know what's happening, you'll have a ball of yarn, a pair of needles and a receipt in hand for your first knitting class. I could be exaggerating but I rearely walk out of the yarn shop without buying something. My manager at the office went into a LYS for what I think was her first time because she needed to get a gift for her secret santa, she said it was just so overwhelming.

You have no idea what's out there in the world of knitting until you walk into a yarn store. The colors, the fibers, the textures, the samples, the pattern books and best of all, the other knitters. I have yet to walk into a yarn store that doesn't have at least 2 people sitting there working on a project that they need a little help with or just for some friendly conversation. People are happy in their LYS. Good things happen in there. Friendships are formed while knitwear is created. People can sympathize with you when you have to rip back a mistake, people rejoice when a project is finished. When you walk into your LYS you cease being a stranger to all the other knitters in the shop. Everyone is watching what other people are knitting, what pattern they are choosing, what yarn they will use. Why? you ask, because maybe you missed something and you might want to knit that too. Knitters become less shy in a yarn shop, they aren't afraid to walk up to someone and ask what they are knitting, and how do they stand working with that eyelash yarn, I don't like it so I typically want to know why someone would choose if over a soft springy wool or alpaca.

I don't only collect yarn, I collect patterns. Free patterns on the internet, patterns that you can download for a price online, and pattern books. I have two magazine subscriptions dedicated strictly to knitting. Somethings I will never knit, but I love looking at the pictures of the pattern because they are so beautiful and amazingly done. There really is nothing you can't knit.

The reason that knitting is good for me, I have attention deficit disorder, and knitting can keep me focused for hours, I can knit and watch tv. I can knit and listen to the radio, I've even been spotted knitting during a conference. What it does is occupy one layer of my brain and allows me to focus. I can gleen more information from something while I'm knitting than if I was forced to just sit there and listen. (many friends from my younger years are probably saying 'ahhh it all makes sense now' and it does) I think everyone should try knitting. It has nothing to do with patience or time. I knit in the doctors office, not just the waiting room, I knit in the exam room waiting for the doctor. You know they never come in right away so why just sit there wondering why they never put clocks in the exam room. Knit.
Knitting is meditative, it's healing, it occupies your head space and gives it a break from your daily stress.

Two women in our office have started learning to knit this year. They are still on garter stitch, but I think they are getting ready to learn the purl stitch. I make Marcy teach them because they both learned by throwing and I pick knit.
Well, this is pretty long and I need to post updates of the Nasturtium sock. I also have pictures of Wilma's red scarf and Paulettes Cardigan that she's knitting. Paulette and Wilma are the two newest converts in the race for knitters to take over the world.
So, Here we go.......
This is Wilmas scarf. It's not her first but she left that one at home. This one is beautiful. All garter stitch.

Here is Paulettes first sweater, well 2 pieces of it. It's a garter stitch swing jacket we found at http://www.lionbrand.com/ it's listed in their free knitting patterns. There is also a pattern for those of you who crochet. The yarn is Lion Brand Homespun and changes from light sea greens to lavenders and silvers.

Here is Marcy's damaged thumb....apparently today (saturday) she got a better brace but this was the tape job her husband did. According to text that Marcy sent this morning, she can knit a little with the new brace. Please don't pass that on to her doctor who, as we all recall his words with a shudder, said to stop knitting. Men, the ones who don't knit, don't get it.

and here is my foot inside my sock. I began the decreasing for the toe. I think it looks beautiful on, even though the model is more of a brick than a foot. Thank goodness my pedicure still looks good. If you are wondering what color the nail polish is, it's OPI Root Beer Float. Quite pretty actually

The decreasing down the sides for the gussett

and a view from the side with a pinch of the heel flap.

Go for a walk and stroll into a yarn store, touch the yarn, watch the knitters.

See what you're missing. :) It's not that bad being one of us.


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