29 August 2007

My Knitting Journey

I learned to crochet at a pretty young age in 4-H on St. Croix. I don’t actually remember learning, but I know that’s when & where I learned. When I moved to NY after high school I started to crochet again for a bit. I still have the yarn I bought from a Woolworths. Yes, it was that long ago.

Then one day I went to see my grandmother…not the risqué one that I talk about these days, but my father’s mother that passed away. She was making these warm and squooshy sweaters for her attorney and his wife. They were navy blue and beautiful.

I asked her if she would make me one and she said, “No, I don’t knit for grown women. I will teach you how to knit.” She pulled out some yarn and needles and taught me how to knit, purl and change colors. It was fun but it killed my hands. She knit what I thought was continental, and between the slippery yarn and needles, and trying to keep the stitches from slipping off while being way too tense I knit a pretty substantial swatch, and then pretty much gave up on it. I did buy needles and more yarn, but I didn’t enjoy the process.

Here is my first knitting ever. Yes, it lives on the needles she taught me on just like that.

Fast forward about 15 years and my grandma passes away. I’m living in her house amongst her things and take possession of many of her knitting stuff. It’s special to me, but I’m still not compelled to pick up the needles. Then I meet a guy and fall hard, he breaks my heart and in order to break the cycle of sitting home crying every weekend I ask my uncle’s fiancé to teach me how to crochet a hat. She and my uncle join forces and teach me. Then she introduces me to a yarn store, and now Pandora’s box has been opened, but only for crochet. I stick to hats and scarves, anything larger is simply too daunting.

About three years later I moved to Los Angeles with two tons of yarn stash, and continue to crochet but I expand to afghans. I was semi-employed and friendless so I had LOTS of time. And in another fit of loneliness I found yarn stores and somehow came across Stitch-n-Bitch LA. I convinced Melissa to come with me to the Atwater Village meeting and that was the start of my enjoyment of my life here. I’ve made great friends and have learned things that I might not have considered doing otherwise.

My father turned 60 this year, and as a tribute to his mother I decided to knit him a sweater. His favorite color is blue and why not navy like the sweaters that prompted my learning to knit? Not the cabled wonders she made, but a simple cardigan he could put on in the evenings when the weather gets cool during hurricane season.
After a major false start on yarn I decided on Knitpicks Swish in Dark Navy, and I’m using a Knitting Pure and Simple pattern. So far so good. I’ll probably need help with the collar & button bands, but so far so good….plus I’ve got a wonderful group of friends who are excellent knitters who will help me along the way.


Anonymous Dixie said...

If you can pick up gusset stitches, you can make a button band. I have full confidence in your abilities. :)

30 August, 2007 10:44  
Anonymous looped & stretchy said...

i like that story so much. not the hearbreak, sobbing, friendless parts, but the learning part. your dad is getting a great sweater.

06 September, 2007 09:33  
Anonymous Christine said...

What a great story! I don't think I've ever heard the fll version. I'm sure the sweater will be beautiful, like all of you work and that your dad will love it.

08 September, 2007 10:10  

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