drinking the knitter’s kool-aid

My mom knitted when I was little. She would knit hats and gloves for my siblings and me as children. I remember loathing those handmade items; itchy, hot, uncomfortable things. I realize in hindsight that she wasn’t exactly a knitting diva and couldn’t afford (or just didn’t know of) anything other than cheap acrylic yarn from a craft store or maybe she just used some rough itchy wool that was handed down to her. I also had an aversion to sweaters as a child. Cotton sweatshirts for me, please!

As a result of my childhood aversion to all things knit, I had absolutely no desire to learn to knit for myself. Why would I? Sweaters and knit caps would never become fashionable…

How wrong was I?!

In my 20’s I started wearing sweaters and hats and fingerless gloves – all bought at retail clothing stores.

Halfway through my 20’s I met the man who is now my husband. When we were dating, he was knitting himself a scarf, and then he began to teach me to knit.

About the same time I met Joe I started reading Soulemama‘s blog and through these posts I found out about a social community called Ravelry. At the time, Ravelry was by invitation only and I had to wait months to get mine! Oh the frustration! Now it seems like anyone who knits is on Ravelry, which I think is fantastic!

I took to knitting like a fish to water. My first project was the pixie hat like Soulemama’s and then I knit a WWII style hat for Joe (at the time he was just leaving reenacting).

Through Ravelry I have come to the knowledge that there is a whole knitting language and possibly subculture. Not just knit 1, purl 2. But I had never heard of blocking, and once I did find out what it was, I had no idea it was necessary (unless you knit with acrylic)! Blocking is the act of soaking your finished project in water, squeezing (not wringing) it out, laying it out flat (all the better if you have blocking matts) and pinning it into the proper shape/dimensions.

I am still (and may always be) intimidated by the ladies who work (live?) at lys-es (local yarn stores) and have their little knitting cliques at the tables in the back and who always have the perfect gauge, best blocking techniques, and design their own flawless patterns. They actually expect me to know what weight yarn and/or brand I’m looking for when I go in there. They don’t sell (or even talk about) anything by Red Heart, Lion, Bernat or Caron – heavens no! Is it my imagination or does this 4’11” woman looking down her nose at me? But I always walk out with the most beautiful yarn, a smaller bank account, and cold sweats! I think I should start shopping with a support group.

Anyway, I knit now and I absolutely love it.

Like my other hobbies, it comes and goes in phases. But once I start up it’s just so hard to stop. With baby #2 on the way, all these tiny little items are finished so quickly, and the back and forth rhythm of yarn over needles make every project both therapeutic and satisfying.

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