I taught myself to knit 20 years ago. My freshman year in college, my mom gave me some supplies for Christmas, but she never got around to showing me the basics over Christmas break. She offered to teach me once I returned home again for the summer—but I was too impatient. I would have to teach myself. My first project was a fisherman's knit sweater—because that's my kind of crazy—always start with the hardest project.
Come to think of it, I made two fisherman knit sweaters that semester—it was A LOT of time spent on the phone—Isaac was quite the talker back then. I was happy to listen and knit, occasionally chiming in with an "uh-uh...yep...sure...of course...then what?..." A $40 Radio Shack headset phone saved my aching neck. I loved that phone.
That was back when I still planned to become a surgeon. Knitting and doll-making were my stress-relief from a demanding school schedule.
By the time I switched my major to Apparel Design, knitting was my side-kick. I brought my knitting to class, to the cafeteria, to church—everywhere I went.
Later, when I designed a full-on clothing collection for competition in the university's annual fashion show, my collection was the only one to include a variety of knitted garments. In fact, I suspect that my men's intarsia sweaters were pivotal to my First Place win in my first fashion show. It was early in my second year of the program, and I was competiting against designers with twice as much schooling and experience.
Living in sunny Arizona, I don't knit quite as frequently as I did when we lived where it snows. But, it is still one of my all-time-favorite pastimes. When I get the itch to knit, it doesn't matter if I have a project figured out—or even the right needles (as evidenced by my rubber-band-modified double-pointed needles above)—I set to it.
This time, I tried my hand at the trendy, new ruffle yarns and made a scarf for my sister-in-law, Laura. She's in DC, where it's a bit colder. And she's my style-sister. If I can't wear it—because it's just not cold enough here—then I can enjoy the finished knitting through her.
I did finally grab some shorty little light-weight bamboo needles to finish the job—so I could knit on a plane without bothering my neighbors—and avoid getting patted down by airport security.
I dont' know how many of you knit, but have you ever tried working with ruffle yarn?
My take: It was fun to knit with, but a little slow. You knit each chain/eyelet that runs along one edge of the yarn (see top photo), and it's a bit of work to keep the yarn untwisted. Then there is the matter of burying the yarn ends. There was no straight-forward solution for this, so I put it off of course. I finally resolved to crochet the ends into the work so they would be undetectable—which worked perfectly.
I finished up last night, in time to ship this one off for Valentine's Day. Sorry for the spoiler, Laura. I'm sending chocolate too.
If you're a knitter, here are the details: I cast 15 stitches onto size US 4 (3.5mm) needles. Knitting every row, I used 2 full balls of Flaunt™ yarn by Loops & Threads™ (Michael's) for a mid-length scarf. This yarn comes in several variegated options, as well as in solids.
Next up, I'm making a twinner scarf for me—in teal.