readerjane: Book Cat (Default)
[personal profile] readerjane
[personal profile] ejcaldera asked: What got you started with knitting as a hobby?

My aunt taught me to knit. She was the same one who taught me to needlepoint, and I did a lot of needlepointing in Jr. high and high school. Didn't spend a lot of time knitting back then, because my aunt only showed the basics to me, and I thought plain stockinette stitch (knit one side, purl the other) was boring.

When I was in college I learned the importance of having a hobby that was nothing at all like my academic work, to make my mind shift gears for a half hour here and there. I undertook a very ambitious sweater pattern. The fabric was really beautiful: fuzzy, pale yellow yarn, all cables and elaborate patterned stitches.

And the resulting sweater was beautiful, and very soft. But it didn't fit worth a darn: the waist was short enough that I felt nervous about flashing my stomach, and the sleeves were so long I had to keep pushing them up above my wrists. The neck was too tight to pull over my head, so I had to open up the shoulder seam and install buttons on it. And I wound up using a sewing machine to narrow the sides of the sweater. I'd spent so much time knitting the sweater, and anticipated wearing it for so long, that I didn't have the heart to do what needed to be done: unravel all the pieces and start over with a different stitch count.

So I went back to needlepoint (with a bit of cross-stitch for variety) for my study breaks. I obviously didn't have the knack of knitting garments that fit, and one can only make so many scarves and pot holders.

Several years ago I started falling asleep whenever I was watching movies with my family. It was frustrating: I enjoyed the story, and the family together time, but I couldn't keep my eyes open. I thought about handcrafts as a way of staying awake, but with needlepoint and cross-stitch you really have to pay attention to where every stitch goes. With knitting, you can just glance at the work every few moments, and still have a lot of attention free to watch a screen or interact with people.

So I knit a scarf. By this time, the internet was available for googling patterns and tutorial videos. I started thinking about trying a garment again, but didn't want to try too large of a one. Socks seemed like the perfect project: small enough that if I got half-way through and realized it was ALL WRONG, I wouldn't mind pulling it out and starting over.

And then I realized how wonderful it was to have socks that FIT! I have short, wide feet. Most of my life I've had a choice between socks so long they droop off the ends of my toes and slide down all the time, or socks so tight they leave lines in my ankles. If I was making the socks myself, I could make them actually stay up without ligature marks. W00t!

Now I think I'm ready to try an ambitious sweater again. This time I'm going in prepared. I'm using all my scrap yarn and every size needle I have to make swatches and really figure out how this gauge thing works. If the sweater needs to be this wide, and I want the fabric this drapey, and a yarn thickness + needle size which will give me that much drapiness is this many stitches per inch, then...

I'll figure it out. Doesn't matter how long it takes. There's all the video in the world to watch while I'm knitting.

Lots more days open! Getcher questions answered here. If I don't receive more questions to fill the month, I'll start raiding friends' question lists. This is fun. *G*
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readerjane: Book Cat (Default)

May 2014

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