Saturday, December 30, 2006
After much research, fear and trepidation I bought my first circular sock machine, an Auto Knitter with a 60-slot cylinder and 30-slot ribber. I thought that set up would best duplicate my hand knitting pattern.
Would it, could it be that easy for me? Ohhhh no! It was just the beginning of another journey.
Bona Fide Knitter
Before I posted this proclamation I decided I'd better check my facts. Lo and behold I found backup at askoxford.com. The site also saves me from any discussion of he/him, she/her and they/them with I/me and pardons me from split infinitives. Now if only I could get the punctuation thing under control!
Back to knitting . . .
Bona Fide Knitter, sometimes grammatically correct
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
However, those scarves were not to be my pivotal purchase. I saw that one of my friends was knitting a pair of socks on skinny, short, wooden, double-pointed needles. I was mesmerized. I remembered wanting to knit socks in high school when girls were making argyles for their boyfriends. I never put forth an effort to learn because the point was moot. I didn't have a boyfriend in high school. But I digress. About those socks my friend was knitting at Stitches, I couldn't get them out of my mind. After Stitches we were IMing one day when she told me she had used Learn to Knit Socks by Edie Eckman. She had bought a second copy in error. I bought her extra copy and knitted my first pair of socks. This first pair, basic anklets, were of Lion Brand's Woolease, the closest I could come to DK weight at the craft store.
Oddly enough soon after my first few pairs of socks on double points, Socks Soar on Two Circulars by Cat Bordhi took the sock-knitting world by storm. I bought the book. I made my first pair on two circulars and put my double points away. This first pair was made of Regia cotton in shades of the sand and sea. I knit them on the beach at Cape Cod.
After more and more pairs of socks, it was time for Stitches East again. I attended Stitches East 2002 alone but no less enthralled. At the Manning's booth I was introduced to The Magic Loop. The book, Sarah Hauschka's "magical unvention," written by Bev Galeskas, a 40-inch circular Addi Turbo size US 1 and many balls of sock yarn came home with me from that Stitches East. I was hooked on socks! The many sets of Addi Turbo size US 1, 24-inch needles went the way of my wooden double points. I became a Magic Loop afficionado. I still am. They call me "The Sock Lady." This first "Magic Loop" pair were made with Regia and were for my mother. Can you tell which one was tried on before I took the picture?
The book that changed my knitting life is the first of Sally Melville's Knitting Experience series, The Knit Stitch. Somewhere in the midst of all the sock knitting I started using what I learned from that book. I no longer pinch the yarn between my right thumb and index finger. I am still a "thrower" but I have the yarn wrapped around my little finger and over my index finger and with circular needles I'm almost fast. Heck, I am fast! But a circular sock machine is faster . . .
Bona Fide Knitter
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I chose to knit a cardigan sweater. My $7.50 was enough to buy all the wool yarn needed and the required needles. (Didn't I tell you it was a long, long time ago?!!!) I was told to begin casting on. My needle with e-wrap cast on using my left index finger was wrested from me and I was shown the knitted cast on. I was then given a mimeographed sheet of paper (What part of "long, long time ago" did you not understand?) with the instructions for the back of the sweater. I also got a refresher course on purling, a crash course on decreases, and was sent on my way with the command to knit the back of the sweater and bring it with me when I returned to the store for the instructions for the front.
I made a few false starts but finally had a cast on and some inches of stockinette (no ribbing required) that I thought was near perfect. I continued to knit that navy blue wool every available minute, including some stolen minutes at work in a stall in the ladies room. Holding the yarn pinched betweeen the thumb and forefinger of my right hand, I was a very. slow. knitter. I knitted and knitted and knitted and could hardly wait to take my completed "homework" back to the shop of horrors, er, the yarn shop.
Finally the day came. The back was finished, every stitch in place and perfect armhole decreases. I walked into the shop as proud as a peacock. My knitting Nazi took my piece and examined it closely. She was quiet for so long I thought the beauty of it had made her mute. Finally she said, "Your knitting is lovely." Then she screeched, "But it's as stiff as a board!!!"
My feathers fell. I would never recover. I was glad I was the only customer in the store at the time. My precise knitting was too tight?!!! Gauge? Gauge? Did my knitting Nazi ever mention gauge to me? Never! And she was not dismayed. It could be fixed. We would just make the two front pieces wider. She adjusted the amount of stitches to cast on for the front pieces to make up for the narrowness of the back and sent me off to make the left front. Perfectionist that I was and still am, the sweater lost its appeal. I could imagine the side seams ending up not under my arms and not far enough in the back to become a design detail. It would be a design derail! It would never be truly worthy. I began to knit less and less often. That sweater became my first official UFO.
Verklempt now. I'll be back with more another day,
Bona Fide Knitter
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Now that I've taken the first step and set up this blog I wonder if my roomie is friend or foe. Look what she has gotten me into! Actually I can't blame her. She just got in on the tail end of the blog idea and inadvertently coined my blog name. It was another of my knitting gurus and other friends who have been egging me on. I signed up for a blog once before, but after a long length of time without my ever publishing an entry, the blogmaster booted me off, and rightly so. I had a ton of excuses for myself back then: I needed to have pictures for my blog; in order to upload/download pictures quickly I needed Broadband; in order to take pictures I needed a new digital camera; I needed a better name for my blog; I needed blab for my blog. Well, I'm back. I have everything I need now and I'm a Bona Fide Knitter. You can't beat that combination.
A Bona Fide Knitter