Thursday, June 26, 2008

Knitting and me...

I like doing handiwork and crafts, but have never stuck with any projects long enough to get the professional-looking results I wanted. But with knitting, I am determined that things will be different!
When I was growing up I learned to crochet from my grandmother who had crocheted outfit after outfit for my Barbie doll, as well as lots of decorative items that were sold at church bazaars . Crocheting was fun, but the things I made always looked...well....not very sophisticated I guess you could say. Unlike knitting, where the items always looked a little...less homemade?
I finally noticed one day that there was a knitting store not far from my home on Long Island (and if you live in America you may have one near you too as it seems to be a popular hobby now). She had beautiful, unusual yarns, wools, silks, bamboo, corn, hand dyed, thick and thin (no acrylics)...and lots of sample items she had made, displayed around the store. I was hooked, so I started lessons.
I quickly learned how to knit and purl, increase and decrease while making scarves and shawls(thought they'd come in handy in Italy and they have!) . Then I decided that I had to have a pair of hand-knit socks before I die. So I decided to tackle them next.
Now the method my teacher taught involved knitting on two circular needles instead of a few double-pointed ones, which would be the traditional way. This has the advantage of stitches not falling off when you lay it down or tuck it away to work on another day. I had time to make one sock before heading off to live in Italy.
In Italy I haven't found anyone yet who knows how to knit socks, especially on two circular needles, so when I got stuck while working on sock #2, I decided to start another pair with a different ball of yarn, from the beginning, following a book where the instructions were spelled out line by line. I got up to knitting the heel, but then thought I had dropped a stitch as I saw a hole forming as I was going around, but I couldn't find the stitch to fix it. So I put my knitting away and made plans to visit my knitting teacher as soon as possible when I came to NY on vacation this summer.
I stopped in and she needed about two minutes to get me back on track (let's hear it for competent teachers)! So I finished up the blue sock I had started in Italy, and I'm working on the second orange/beige one to match the one I made in class. I LOVE the yarn which is self-striping and has a little bit of aloe vera imbedded in it to soften your feet as you wear them (imported from Germany).
In July I look forward to taking lessons that seems PERFECT for me...knitting two socks at the same time on the circular needles. Making two cuffs, two heels, two gussets, two toes, etc should reinforce what I'm doing making it easier to learn, but more importantly: when I'm finished knitting, I'll have a pair, ready to wear (yes, it may take me until autumn to finish them, so my timing should be perfect, but even if I get them done quickly, they're small and don't heat up your lap while you're working on them if the temps are high).
So, what handicrafts do you do? Any crocheters, knitters, scrapbookers, embroiderers, etc. out there?


Anonymous said...

I like to make cards and have done some scrapbooking too. I did a scrapbook for my parents 50th wedding anniversay from pictures that friends and family sent. It turned out beautiful.

Sounds like you're having a great time in the US.

Diane said...

My Aunt in Philadelphia (where we just spent two days) has a craft room. She does scrapbooking and greeting cards too, and has so much neat stuff. Looks like lots of fun...but it could get expensive!