The knit beginning

February 1, 2013

As a child of 8 or 9 years old, I watched the women of my family crochet. Sometimes, my aunt Maryal still makes me crocheted wash clothes for gifts when I mention how much I enjoy them. My mother would sometimes attempt to crochet, but she only had one go-to stitch and the yarn and the project would often disappear before she finished it. I don’t know what happened to it. I never saw a finished project, but every once in a while the yarn or new yarn came out, and she tried another project.

I was fascinated by the art of crochet and demanded to be taught. I learned how to chain and could create long beautiful chains that we could laugh at as we strung them around the Christmas tree. When I attempted the “double crochet” stitch which I later learned was a “half-double crochet” stitch, my tension became too tight and I could no longer fit the hook into it. Frustrated, I would rip out the stitches and either start over, or call it another chain. Though I didn’t realize it at the time, these were my first lessons in tension. Unfortunately for me, no one I knew of that crocheted nearby knew how to fix this. I would create chains and leave it at that, for that time.

When I was 10, we had moved from the quiet, small town of Haslett, Michigan to a rough area of Lansing, Michigan. We had found a suitable duplex that was a major improvement over some of our interment dwellings. We had a neighbor who tolerated three rambunctious kids ages 10 and under pretty well. She had adopted a collie, husky, malamute, shepherd mix she’d named Bozo. I’d visit them (and was more tolerated due to being a relatively quiet girl). Plus, I showed an interest in her knitting. She told me about it and began to teach me, but moved within a month of beginning my education in knitting and we got the dog, but I did not pick up knitting at that time. We renamed the dog Bear, and I was soon lost to Bon Jovi and boys.

I went through my teen years knit-less, and occasionally crocheted a border chain for our 12 x 14′ living room. My parents were no longer impressed by this feat, nor amused. I gave my attention then to sewing partly due to interest, partly due to a 9 week course in home economics where I found I was a natural with a sewing machine. However, we did not have a sewing machine at home and I didn’t visit the aunt who did once I turned 12. So, I hand-sewed when I could get my hands on fabric to sew. My dad declared me the best button sewer he knew of and refused to pay money to have a button sewn back on, since I’d been taught how “professionally.” However, since I wasn’t big on the recycling theme that’s so prevalent today, getting my hands on fabric was easier dreamed than accomplished. My teen years and college years were spent pursuing college and the money to pay for it.

Once the money for college ran out, I joined the Navy to help pay for it. Out of boredom and due to missing my family before I learned what “underway” really meant, I began sewing again. I had some spare cash and access to fabrics and thread. I began sewing a quilt as a gift for my best friend and I sewed my niece and nephew fleece and flannel blankets for their birthdays. The feeling of the fabric and the simple act of creating calmed me. I even went on to sew dresses to show I could. I made one for my two year old niece and a civil war style work dress for myself. However, this is not a sewing blog, even if I do consider myself an accomplished seamstress.

So, how in the world did I become a knitter if I never learned and sewed for some time. I’m getting to that, I promise. Mostly, I think it was sheer curiosity and book. I’d read about characters knitting as a relaxation. In addition, while searching Goodwill one day, I found a bundle of knitting needles wrapped together in a rubber band for an affordable price. I bought them and proceeded to Jo-ann’s Fabric and Crafts where I found an interesting book called Knit Stitches & Easy Projects. I looked through this inexpensive red & white book and its stitches, liked the photos and the descriptions and decided to buy it. I also found a beautifully soft burgundy yarn, which would make a great scarf. I bought the yarn and the book and went home to begin knitting.

004

By this point in my life, it had been suggested that I could have ADHD. I have never had this confirmed, but I’ve never had it confirmed that I didn’t. I thought my symptoms were related to anxiety, which I knew I had. I couldn’t have it. But then I ‘had’ to research it, and learned I did have symtpoms. I decided to apply some suggestions that worked for people with ADHD. One of the problems I had was that I would start 15 new projects of various mediums and I might finish 3 of them.  I reminded myself that finishing could be its own reward, but I had to get over that hump from “the beginning” to “seeing the end of this tunnel.” In addition, I needed a system.

I decided to write each project I was working on a 3×5 card and post it on a card on my fridge.  I also decided to create a rule that I needed to finish a project before I began a new one. Then I decided to be brave and set up some goals including organization and included them on my fridge. I’m still working on the organization. Some days, I’m not sure there are enough shelves in the world. But how are these note cards and organization items related to knitting? I had to learn about me, and how I worked.  I had already been shown the stockinette stitch and held some of it in my memory. I just had to access it. I also realized, if it was too easy, I’d grow bored with the process. So, I needed something that engaged me, like reading a book and you keep reading so you can find out what happens next…. I had to find out what happens next in knitting and I leafed through my booklet to find a pattern and a project with a simple twist that would keep me focused on the item I was creating. Yet, I had to be careful not to overdo it, as I’m good at overdoing it.

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I found a 63 stitch scarf with a pattern that repeated every four rows called “Little Shells.” It was pretty and would make a nice scarf. I got out my burgundy yarn and two matching needles and began to knit according to the pictures. I decided this scarf would be for me as it would likely be full of mistakes, which it was. As I knit, I also discovered that my stitches tended to increase until I remembered to count them and realized my tension was almost non-existent, and all over the place. Even with the scarf’s imperfections, the yarn was beautiful to me and the pattern remained engaging. I completed my first and began another. Since it was too wide for a scarf in the end, I thought about making it into a shawl or part of a small blanket. I then finished a second ‘panel’ as I had begun referring to them and somewhere in there found http://www.knittingparadise.com which led me also to Debbie Macomber’s books-specifically the Cedar Cove and Blossom Street Series.  They still remain two of my favorite series ever, and though I do not re-read many books often, I have read and do recommend Twenty Wishes by Debbie Macomber to anyone who wishes to read a book of inspiration.

I did continue knitting the little shells pattern with a different yarn, a variegated brown with turquoise I loved, but was later disappointed that it didn’t quite match the burgundy, so the blanket would have to wait.  During this process, I learned about double-pointed needles(dpns) and knitting in the round. I’ll save that for the next blog.

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4 Responses to “The knit beginning”


  1. Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks


  2. Good site you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these
    days. I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

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