and lacey things…
I decided to teach myself to knit. I had somewhat of a headstart because relatives had shown me the basics when I was small, but having forgotten most of the details (apart from that it involved looping string through other loops until the long, thin, twisted fibres magically transformed themselves into something wide and flat and warm) I figured that it counted as teaching myself.
The basics were easy, though I was grateful for the fluffiness of the wool which hid some of the early inconsistencies (i.e.: holes and unintended increasing and decreasing).
I knitted bags full of squares using one stitch; knit. Knit knit knit. Turn. Knit knit knit.
I chose the most beautiful balls of colourful wool and knitted each whole ball into a colourful patch, though I had little clue what I would do with them. It was still fun. (These are now half a blanket, it needs resewing properly, but is really funky.)
I knitted scarves, similar principle, knit knit knit, turn, knit knit knit… until you have something long enough to wrap around you and fluffy enough to look pretty. (And done when you’ve made something longer than it is wide, an easily finished project is always a good place to start for me!)
And then I began to wonder what else I could do.
I bought a book. Stitch and Bitch.
Really rather useful. This taught me how to pearl! A new stitch! And it had instructions for picking up dropped stitches, and shared details on how this alchemical process of knitting works. I chose two patterns, bought some wool and spent 18 months knitting a rucksack and a hoody (without a hood, so I guess its just a jumper.)
I saw a friend knitting socks. I’d heard that they were difficult, she made them look easy. I imagined wearing warm, colourful creations on my feet… and I asked her how she made the heel work.
And then I forgot everything she’d told me. Darn.
Still determined, I found a heelless sock pattern, some chunky red wool, and I made my very own pair of socks!!!
They are too big, and the pattern makes them uncomfortable to wear in shoes… but they’re mine, and they make wonderful slippers! And, to top it off, they remind me of how inspiring my friends can be. Thanks WD!
I’ve learnt that the best way to learn something is just to do it, to pick a pattern and try it out. If it turns out wonky, then I’ve still learnt something!
What have you been putting off? What could you just have a go at?
Now, I’m learning how to make knitting lacey. I undid the first inch five times before it started to make sense (under the patient guidance of the same sock-knitting friend) There are less mistakes with every inch I do, and at the end I’ll have a pretty blue top… even if it is three sizes too small!!!
Oh, and one last thing, every time I look over how far I’ve come with these things, I can see how much I’ve learnt, how much my skills have improved (before I started this pattern I’d never knitted holes on purpose before!) I am filled with pride. I know it won’t be perfect, and the mistakes and visible improvement and clear markers of what I am proud of: the fact that I’ve set out to learn something, and I have! Mixed with the pride is profound gratitude; gratitude that I have these opportunities, gratitude for friends that help, gratitude for time to learn, gratitude for everything that gives me the opportunity to learn almost any skill I choose to.
Pride and gratitude. A really good feeling.
What are you proud of? What do you wish you were proud of?