Friday, March 16, 2007

My Knitting Autobiography

I consider myself fortunate to be part of a family of talented, creative people. I myself have dabbled in a few crafts, mostly fiber crafts, since I was a toddler. I failed miserably at crochet as a youngster, and proceeded to convince myself that I could never knit. After all, knitting used TWO needles.

A few years ago, I became intrigued by the notion of crocheting or knitting socks after looking at a Mary Maxim catalog of my mother's. I immediately fell in love with the colorful, self striping sock yarns. It's magic! And I love funky patterns, wild colors, and knee highs. I put "learn to knit / crochet socks" on my someday / maybe list and promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to 2005. I was working at a mind numbing job and in a wonderful, stable relationship for the first time in my life. And I was bored silly. I would come home from work, cook dinner, clean up and be completely "done" by 6 o'clock. The hours until bedtime seemed to drag. I became so obsessed with housework (Monday is recycling! Tuesday I clean the bathrooms!) that I drove my boyfriend crazy. "Get a hobby!" my boyfriend demanded lovingly. Among other things, I decided to teach myself to knit.

Being the anti-social type, I purchased two books: Stitch and Bitch and Teach Yourself Visually Knitting and Crocheting. I also purchased a random size of bamboo needles (I still don't know what size they are - 3? Smaller than 5, anyway...) and a large skein of practice acrylic Red Heart Super-Saver yarn in Delft Blue. And then with the text from S&B and the beautiful photos from Visually, I taught myself to cast on, knit, and purl. I made a conscious decision to learn continental style, since based on Debbie Stoller's description it seemed more efficient. I made various bright blue, acrylic swatches. My boyfriend asked if I was ever going to knit something. For me, I was just enjoying the act of knitting.

Then, I became bold and decided to order a project. I picked what seemed to be a simple poncho from Mary Maxim. Sadly, before I even received my kit in the mail, Martha Stewart decided to leave prison in what became the infamous "Freedom Poncho". And I realized that I could never, ever wear my poncho in public. Or, at least not for a very long time. So I had 6 skeins of Bernat Solo in Rustic and a pair of Susan Bates size 15 aluminum needles to start my stash.

It was at this time that I became obsessed with all things knitting: mainly knitting blogs, patterns and yarn. Amazing, beautiful yarn in all of its infinite creation. In all of my fiber arts, my favorite part has always been the textiles themselves - the fabric, ribbon, or yarn - and the multitude of creative possibilities that each item possesses.

I started reading a few blogs, good friends, that I still read today (and every day.) Laurie from Crazy Aunt Purl, Stephanie from Yarn Harlot, Kate from Fiber Fever... And I purchased my second project pattern and yarn. A Gedifra entrelac scarf that I still cannot knit.
Pattern: 618 from Gedifra Highlights 042
Yarn: Gedifra Fashion Trend Stripe 4679

Around this time, I decided to go back to college to obtain my Bachelors Degree. I started a program at Berkeley College for Fashion Marketing and Merchandising. Knitting was forced to compete with sleep, cleaning, and seeing my family in little was left of my time. When I picked up knitting again, I found that I could no longer knit continental and started to knit American. But I was determined to pick a project and actually knit something.

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