Monday, January 19, 2009

Knitter’s Progress

My grandmother taught me how to crochet when I was in second grade.  I remember working so hard to learn how to make a chain, and how happy I was just with that simple motion.  I took my twenty foot long base chain to show and tell one day, and as I stretched it across the classroom, I remember Mrs. Defebaugh asking “This is it?  I thought you had made something.”  For me at the time, just the simple motion of making the loops over and over was enough to make me happy, but of course I did soon move on to new and larger objects. 

I also learned that knitting and crocheting was something “old fashioned” , and that it was “weird” to enjoy doing something like that.  Bear in mind this was the mid 70’s, when the women’s movement was in full swing, and things were changing.  I did continue to crochet during my public school career, but generally kept it at home and didn’t talk about it much when I was with my friends.

Then my grandmother died suddenly at the end of Y2K, and I found myself searching for some connection again.  And I found the book “The Knitting Goddess”, and knew that it was time to learn to knit (I had tried to teach myself in my teens, but unlike a crochet cast on, there’s not a lot you can do with a needle full of just one set of loops).

I started out just buying yarn that I liked, and learned how to knit and purl from online tutorials.  Because I was so skilled with the crochet hook, I found carrying the yarn as if I were crocheting the easiest, which I believe is called “continental”.  I bought every book I could and made the alien scarf from the first Stitch and Bitch book, and lots and lots of swatches.

I also discovered the community of knitters, because now, with a new generation of women, knitting and crochet were no longer looked down on.  I began attending a stitch and bitch at the local coffeehouse and made lots of friends.

I also found my brave pants, and began to off-road with my knitting and crochet, making creations such as this one:

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Whose name I don’t remember, but he is a hybrid of crochet and sock creature techniques.

And Jackie:

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Who is knit out of wonderful Cascade Pastaza and ArtYarn Regal silk, with a crochet purse and a hand made necklace.

I also am currently working on flowers for the Knitted Flower Project (see the link in “My Blogs” for more information on how to participate).

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And of course I am still designing and knitting funky hats, because I always loved watching Miss America and Miss Universe for the wonderful costumes, and love that wearables are an art form you can take with you wherever you go. 

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“Eight of Hearts” fair isle charted by me, valentine cable from Barbara Walker’s first book of knitting patterns, wonderful Lana Loft from Brown Sheep and Classic from Ella Rae (I am making hats with this one til I run out, it is such a great “neutral” for me).  I am hoping to track down some Lion Brand Wool Stainless or Habu Textiles Wool Stainless so that the next version of the valentine cables will have more body when worn.

I know my Gran would be so happy to see how far I’ve taken the skills she taught me.  And I would love to see Mrs. Defebaugh again to show her how far I’ve come from that first huge crocheted chain.

4 comments:

Treasure Ann said...

Oh your projects are beautiful. You are so creative.

By the way, I've tagged you on my blog. Have a great day.

Melissa said...

I love the hedgehog! I too have fond memories of making chain after chain after first learning to crochet when I was little. Process not product right?

vintagepix said...

I'm so glad crafting is cool again - love your off-road knitting projects!

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

"This is it?" oh, if she only knew that you remembered her words!

I am dying to learn to crochet. Just need a 48 hour day, but I will learn at some point! This month I'm trying spinning.

Thanks so much for participating in Fiber Arts Friday! can't wait to read more.