Blue Nell

Cast on two-at-a-time.

5/21 – finished cuffs

6/2 – heel flap on 1st sock. (Went with 9 repeats of the pattern instead of 12, for more of an anklet feel.)

6/3 – finished turning 1st heel. started heel flap on 2nd sock.

6/17 – starting toe

knitting!

[I’m trying to write a thing for this cool new project in which people ask about interesting nerdy topics and other people talk about the nerdy things they love. “We’ve got one goal, you and I: we’re here because we want to love great things, and there are too many great things in the world. This is a place where we find the people who love those things, and we ask them to share that love.”]

Why is knitting awesome?

I can haz knitting!
The awesome Shannon Fisher after finishing her first sweater. Need I say more?

Because you’re making cool stuff. You start with a big ball of string, essentially, and a couple of sticks, and then after time and practice you have cool things like scarves and hats and socks and sweaters!

It’s a hobby that can be done almost anywhere, as long as you’re not working on a blanket. It can be solitary, since ultimately it’s just you and your hands; or it can be social, because knitting in groups of friends is fun.

Yarn itself is pretty cool. There are so many different kinds, weights, textures, materials, colors. It’s very sensory, even sensual. I have a lot of fun just wandering around in yarn stores (even the big chain craft stores) looking and touching, deciding what will feel good to work with.

Really, knitting is surprisingly forgiving. When you’re up close in it, every little weird thing is SUPER OBVIOUS, but after it’s done and washed and being used, most of the time no one can tell that weird spot where things went kinda goofy. Even the total failures can be fun in progress and interesting as a learning experience.

When I knit in public, which I do quite often, I sometimes hear (usually from women) “oh, I’ve knit a little bit, but I never got past scarves.” You know what? THAT’S OK. You don’t ever have to knit anything other than long pretty rectangles if you don’t want to. There’s no grades in knitting. There’s just the fun of it.

On the other hand…most of the “scary” things are often less scary than they look. Knitting is a great opportunity to just try things, to not think too far ahead, to plunge into something maybe you don’t feel quite ready for, or to just push yourself a tiny bit. (You can make a scarf? Then you can make simple fingerless mitts.) It’s a chance to understand how you learn things. And with the internet, there are SO MANY ways to learn knitting techniques. Videos, photos, drawings, text.

Less than four years ago, I didn’t know how to knit at all. Now, I’ve even made socks (which are WAY less scary than they look) and I’m working on my first sweater vest. Knitting has become such an important part of my life that it’s hard to remember before knitting.

How can you get started?

1) Library. There are literally thousands of books on knitting. Some of them are amazing, others are terrible, and what works for one doesn’t work for everyone. I found The Chicks with Sticks Guide to Knitting and Stitch ‘N Bitch very useful early on.

2) Internets. I am particularly partial to the tutorials on Knitting Daily. The Lion Brand Yarns Learn to Knit ebook was also quite good.

2b) Ravelry: HUGE social network for knitters and crocheters. Great for tracking your stuff, finding patterns, and connecting with other knitters. (My Ravelry profile.)

3) Local knitters. You may have a nice local yarn shop; see if they have any knitting groups. If you see people knitting in public, maybe ask them what they’re making. If they’re chatty, find out if they know of any local groups. I found my knitting group because C noticed a gal with a cool knitting bag at our favorite coffee shop, and now I get together with an awesome weird creative bunch a few times a month to knit and chit-chat.

Give it a shot. Expect to be terrible at first. Enjoy it being weird and terrible. With practice, you can get better and enjoy it even more!

PS: I’ve written other things about knitting….

Stitch Surfer KAL

Tried casting on several times over the last week, finally got it right today!

Did some weird things in the toe section in the non-W&T transition, until I reread the diagram before the instructions and realized that I was supposed to be twisting the strands together.

3/28 – started the heel what turned out to be too soon. 🙁 will have to do some tearing back, hopefully not all the way back, since the foot so far is great.

Tore back &c over the first week of April, redid the heel on 4/4 and got into the leg!

4/16 – finished first sock!

4/22 – started second sock. Definitely easier the second time around.

5/5 – I probably could’ve make these a couple of inches longer, which would’ve been nice. Still very happy with them as is.

Handspun cowl

I started out thinking about doing a cowl that was all yo/k2tog, but didn’t like the feel of it, then did a round of k1/sl1, but had trouble keeping track of it. So now it’s just a semi-random pattern of knit rounds and purl rounds, something to keep my hands busy in meetings.

Handspun cowl

I started out thinking about doing a cowl that was all yo/k2tog, but didn’t like the feel of it, then did a round of k1/sl1, but had trouble keeping track of it. So now it’s just a semi-random pattern of knit rounds and purl rounds, something to keep my hands busy in meetings.

Lotus Hat

FWIW, I knitted 3 rows of the pattern wrong (reading the chart left to right instead of right to left), then picked back 2 rounds.

Kinda mangled the beginning of the decreases, because I was working on it during a divisional retreat. (NTS: don’t do that!) But got it back in pattern pretty quickly, and am overall quite pleased. Seems a bit small, hoping it’ll grow with wear and/or blocking. Almost precisely the right amount of yarn for the pattern, too!

Like the pattern quite a bit, would like to try making it again.

Grumpasaurus II, Miko’s Boogaloo

3/15 – finished body, this time added face before finishing.

3/17 – cast on tail

3/18 – finished tail

3/22 – made arms, feet & comb. assembled & finished. (knit arms, feet, and comb with #5 needles.)

Cowl for Kat

Trying the knit cast-on! Going with a size bigger than the pattern in the hope of getting a more “open” feel.

1/8 – doing a single row of purl instead of the 3 rows garter between the YO/K2tog in the pattern. I think it’s turning out that I’m knitting it inside-out, essentially.

1/9 – I’m pretty sure that I twisted the join. :\ Since it’s a cowl, I think it’ll be ok.