I dutifully started this post waaaaaay back when, but the effects of a long week, a fun time at Knit Night, and then the beginning of feeling yucky for too long took me out of the game before I could finish the post. After that the unfinished post simply got buried. Some people have unfinished objects, I have unfinished posts. But I do want to get this one up so that I can proceed with some overdue knitting-related posts that build off of this one....
Here's a quick tour of my first year of knitting:
With the arrival of twin nieces in March '05, a pair of baby blankets seemed in order, but first I would need to learn how to knit. And I would have to get over my wool allergy. Yikes! It seemed to make more sense to start out with baby-proof, hypo-allergenic acrylic yarn than to splurge on yarn that would likely prove to challenging for sensitive auntie and babies alike. I went down the Pound of Love road and became something of an Acrylic Queen for a few months:
Being a somewhat dyslexic self-taught knitter, it turns out I was knitting into the backs of stitches when I made those blankets. And I think I was messing up the purl stitches, too, but what did I know? At least it didn't stop me from trying. I knit some scarves and a couple of baby sweaters. Another baby blanket (not posted yet). A basket weave lap throw in more cheesy acrylic (definitely not posted yet). Some cotton dishcloths - too well-used to post now - but perhaps the subject of a future post will involve the practical, everyday dishcloth.
When we decided to drive up to Maine for vacation in August, it was time to pick a special project. One of Keith's favorite places in the world is Otter Cove on Mount Desert Island. I wanted to knit a special scarf that would remind him of Otter Cove, its sea tang, exposed cliffs, granite shores, and colors and shapes that are often muted by sea fog. For the yarn, I chose Noro Kureyon in - natch - one of the manliest of colorways (brown/gray/taupe). Keith is not one for stripes or variegated yarns, but it helped enormously that the Noro colorway echoed the colors of our two mini donkeys. More on the simple 2x2 rib Otter Cove scarf later, but here is a pic from when it was still on the needles - and back from its travels in Maine:
While we were on vacation, I picked up a copy of Odd Ball Knitting by Barbara Albright and was taken in by the pattern for a scarf called Bamboo Rib. The pictured yarn was silk, a little pricey for my budget. Never mind that the point of the book is to help you use up the odds and ends that are already in your yarn stash, I went looking for something that would have the desired drape and a pleasing sheen, and ended up picking up a couple of balls of Berroco's Softwist in Twine from my local yarn shop. Here is the scarf when it was still on the needles last fall:
It saw a lot of use this winter. Because it is a wool/rayon blend, it was not as warm as all wool, but it also was never itchy. (Of course, silk would not have been all that warm, either.)
After those projects, I wanted to tackle a shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, and decided to pair the bamboo yarn I had been drooling over at my LYS with the Bird's Nest Shawl pattern. After doing several swatches so that I could adjust the pattern repeats to the substituted yarn, I cast on 412 stitches for the rectangular shawl that is knit lengthwise. This was two days before Thanksgiving (yes, we're going back that far).
Placing stitch markers at every pattern repeat saved untold headaches by keeping me on track. Bamboo is somewhat like cotton: not stretchy and kind of hard on the hands when you knit with it for long. But it is also pretty and light, and the colorway had me thinking of early springtime.
What a great feeling when I was able to bind off and block it on New Year's Eve! After blocking the shawl, little "ladders" - caused, in this case, by loose purl stitches between sections - became obvious. I think they give an "antique" look to the shawl, but will learn to tighten my purls better next time. Speaking of next time, I started my next shawl from Ms. Oberle's book on New Year's Day - but more on that some other day.
Perhaps you've noticed that, with the exception of two very simple baby sweaters and a baby hat, everything that's come off my needles has been a square or a rectangle. I resolved that would change this year, so imagine my excitement when the owners of my LYS announced workshops aimed at fairly new but knowledgeable knitters who were "ready to move beyond squares and rectangles." Count me in! I signed up for sock knitting classes and for two whole days of workshops on March 31 and April 1, so yeah, it has been a busy week.
And cables! Last fall, I wanted to make the Here and There Cables scarf from Scarf Style, and became completely flummoxed by the cables. Every attempt ended up as a Wad o' Wool - until now! Woo hoo!
So, if you are a newbie who is ready for the next step, check out classes and workshops in your area. Maybe you'll find a knitting group that is ready to provide guidance and reinforcement for all your new knitting knowledge. Whatever you do, keep going - because the best help when learning knitting is to try things out and knit, knit, knit!