Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The cold is starting to set in to Washington, DC once again. My friend has started nagging about her half-finished fingerless gloves. My stash is growing. I've got a brand-spanking new digital camera, that's begging for an excuse to take lots of wool-filled pictures. I've become completely disinterested in school and am looking for any means of procrastination.

It's clear that there is knitting to be done, my friends! A LOT of knitting to be done.

Before I start waxing poetic about my half-finished projects and getting giddy about new patterns, it seems appropriate to start from the beginning.

The beginning, it turns out, was a very long time ago. My first yarn experiences were at the side of my grandmother, Lilian, who taught me to crochet at as soon as I could reasonably hold a crochet needle. My first attempts were granny squares. They were tight, uneven, unseemly, and generally useless, but my grandma was delighted all the same. It was something special that she and I shared - I was the only grandchild willing to even try my hand at the craft.

My grandmother crocheted blankets ad naseum: comforters, throws, and even matching pillow covers. She used cheap acrylic yarn in bold, clashing, mismatched colors. She crocheted my sister and I matching (yet, somehow, distinct) comforters in bold yellow, red, blue, and green which we proudly displayed for years, and still find their home in my parents linen closet. The throw blankets that she crocheted are still my dads favorites, and you can still find him asleep in his lazy chair underneath one on any given evening, despite the fact that they are frayed, worn out, and clearly out of place in the otherwise well-decorated and modern living room.

My grandmother also crocheted delicate, beautiful lace. The table cloth that she made for my mother is stunning, and is considered so precious and irreplacable, that it is housed under a clear plastic cover when it is displayed in our dining room.

Under my grandmother's influence, I decided to crochet a blanket as soon as I had mastered the double crochet. I set out to make the biggest granny square in the world. I picked pastel colors, and when one color ran out, I started a new skein hapharzardly, buying more yarn as I went along. Somewhere along the way, I ran out of steam, and the half-finished blanket was put aside in favor of other hobbies. A year or so later, I picked it back up with renewed fervor before once again getting side-tracked, and so it went.
The gaps in time and skill level, in combination with the different yarn textures chosen practically guarenteed the uneven guage that resulted. The little girl decision-making guarenteed the awkwardly mismatched colors.
Eventually, age, self-awareness, and good sense caught up with me and I realized that this was one ugly blanket. This time, it went - still unfinished - into the closet for good.

Years later, in college, I was poor but blessed with more good friends than anyone deserves. This combination lead me to pick up the crochet needle once again, to churn out a gaggle of scarves for my closest friends for the holidays. Of course, I took on more yarn than I could handle and spent many late nights ignorning my school work and crocheting like a mad woman. Eventually, I enlisted the help of my mother (who had never crocheted much in my presence - she was more of a needlepoint woman - but had long ago mastered the craft sufficienly to make a scarf with the best of 'em) and between us, we finished more scarves that holiday season than I care to remember.

After the scarf debaucle, I was in no hurry to pick up the yarn again any time soon. It was not until I graduated and started law school that I gave another thought to picking up the needle(s) again. I moved to Washington DC, and was living with friends from college in the 'burbs. Law school, as one might imagine, was horrible, and in the evenings I wanted nothing more but to sit and vegetate on the couch - which I did frequently. One of my roommates also enjoyed a good vegetation session on the couch, but she always brought her knitting needles along.
I was immediately intrigued by this two-needle craft, but skeptical. One needle was hard enough, thankyouverymuch. I dragged out my crochet needle, and made an obligatory scarf with some old yarn.

My intrigue did not go unnoticed. That year for my birthday, my roommate Erin bought me my very first set of knitting needles and some wonderfully chunky yarn to learn on. She taught me how to cast on, knit stitch, and cast off. I was off and running!

About a year later, having created numerous knit scarves, I was craving something more.
I found the online knitting world, and I was immediately completely obsessed. I taught myself how to purl. I taught myself how to increase and decrease. I frogged. I learned new cast-on techniques. I learned how to cable. I frogged a lot. I found my very own LYS. I learned how to knit in the round on circs and dpns. I learned the lingo. I frogged a lot more.

In January, 2006 I made, and then subsequently kept a New Years resolution: enough scarves - I was knitting a sweater come hell or high water! Hell quite nearly came many times over, but I finished that sweater (and moreover: it fits, looks beautiful, and feels devine). I crossed the line between casual i-knit-flat-rectangular-items and fanatical i-knit-a-wearable-garment. Oh, the joy! Knitting world, I have arrived!

Now, nearly a year later, my obsession with knitting has not subsided. Moreover, my narcasistic tendencies have led me to believe that you, dear reader, want to hear about my knitting obsession!

I still consider myself a "beginner" knitter with much to learn (although with the stuborness to attempt any "expert" difficult pattern out there, if I like it enough). This blog may, indeed, include more failure than triumph. But I'm pretty okay with that. If you are too, I hope you stop back every now and then.


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