Back To Basics Knitting
In my continued effort to use up the many craft materials I have, and finish some unfinished craft business, I am rediscovering knitting. For those who may not have read far back enough on this blog to know, there was a time in my life when I was quite an obsessive knitter. My grandmother taught me simple garter stitches when I was 4 or 5 (I had not yet started school). I managed a few stitches here and there, but it never really caught on in my head.
When I was pregnant with Ian I took a beginner knitting class at Weaving Works here in Seattle. I was smitten with the whole process of my fingers and 2 needles manipulating yarn into cloth, I just loved it. I became quite obsessed with knitting for my new baby and for Emma, and I remember many evenings sitting in my favorite chair, with needles clicking away, the trail of a new panel of something spilling down my very large belly. I knitted a blanket for Ian (out of Little Badgers, my all time favorite kids knitting book), a fair isle sweater, a fisherman sweater, a pirate sweater, pillows, toys…you name it. I was eager to try anything, and tried almost everything. Having bobbins of 7-8 different yarn colors dangling from my knitting didn’t phase me a bit.
Then, just as could have been predicted, I burned out completely. I had grown tired of it. I was over the counting, the blocking, the sewing together, the not fitting. I remember the last project was a sweater I knitted for Emma from Pipsqueaks (a lovely book full of good patterns) and I just loved it. I had stayed up late the night before I gave it to her to sew it all together, had it out for Emma to put on the next morning. She squealed, pulled it on over her head and within five minutes mumbled something to the effect of “its itchy right here” and promptly took it off and never wore it again. To say I was crestfallen is an understatement. I didn’t decide to stop simply because of that sweater, but I definitely took a giant step back.
But I really miss having a project…and easy project…to do with my hands at night when Peter and I are sitting quietly and watching TV. The lighting in our family room is not good for embroidering (although I’ve considered extra lighting, I haven’t gotten around to it yet.) I really need something to grab and just do. But I didn’t even think about knitting at all. But I suddenly had the perfect inspiration last week. Something that would use up my existing yarn stash (or at least begin to), would require no concentrated counting after the initial cast on, could be picked up or put down easily, and could also be completely portable.
I pulled out my wool yarns (which feel like Cascade 220-ish weight, but the labels have been lost, so who knows) and my number 7 bamboo needles. Both these were essential components in those knitting lessons where everything really clicked (and they still feel very nostalgic and easy for me for that reason). I’ve been knitting 8″ x 8″ squares of simple garter stitches (knitting every row). When each swatch measures a square 8″ x 8″, I cast off, and grab another color, and begin a new swatch.
What will all these swatches make, you’re asking? Hopefully a blanket (or at least a throw). I am just going to keep knitting and not try and figure out how many of these squares I’ll really need for now. The most important thing is I can carry on a conversation, and interact while I knit these.
Seems I’ve rediscovered knitting at its most basic level, and I’m so happy to have this project. When I sit down at night, I knit and talk and interact and can almost knit without looking at what I’m doing. Exactly what I was looking for.
Now if I could quilt and knit at the same time I’d be golden.
Oh, and thank you all so much for the lovely comments on the sunshine quilt!