Random Knitting Post
I know I mostly talk about food here. Or my innkeeping life. But today I feel like talking about knitting. I’ve known how to knit pretty much all my life, though I’ve never called myself a ‘knitter’. (I think ‘knitters’ know a lot more than me and they can knit faster and they make fewer mistakes.) I have a vivid memory of sitting next to my mother with knitting needles and some bright red yarn, and I’m pretty sure I was just winding this around the needles and copying mom’s motions. I feel certain there must be a picture of this somewhere because it’s so clear in my mind. But, I’ve never been able to find it. Anyway, I don’t remember when this turned from random wrapping of yarn into actually knowing how to do the stitches, but it’s like knowing how to write, I know there was a time when I didn’t know how to do it, but I just can’t remember it.
I’ve been slowly going through some papers and files of my mother’s and I have a couple of folders related to craft projects. And just last week I stumbled across a notebook full of knitting pattern notes and graphs and charts that she wrote out and oh my goodness. So methodical, so neat, so detailed. (Nope, this apple didn’t fall far from the tree.) Anyway, I found the pattern for the Little Women doll she made me (Jo, of course) and the drawing she did for the design that is on my knitted Christmas stocking (that I still have and use) and instructions for a Aran sweater that I have no idea if she ever made.
As much as I would say that I have always knit, years have gone by when I have not knit a stitch. I have gone through fazes of being obsessed with new patterns or new wool and periods where every time I go near my knitting, I just keep walking, completely uninspired. I have knit during times when I am very, very busy or very, very stressed. I took knitting with me when I studied abroad in college. I have knit on vacation. I love to knit on long car trips. I have made gifts and things for my home and at the Inn and things for myself. I have made really odd looking things that I’m sure I’ll never wear. I’ve made a few real winners.
Last year my love of knitting got a huge re-ignite, with the help of some extra time and a knitting friend, and I am officially obsessed once again. I am fully willing to be called a geek or an old lady for this love of mine, but, in my defense, there is some super cool knitting going on in the world right now. There are beautiful patterns and magazines (Laine Magazine) and gorgeous wools (Magpie, La Bien Aimee, Wing and Prayer Farm, Woolen Boon) and funky designers (Andrea Mowry, Isabel Kraemer, Jared Flood) The lists could go on and on….
If you’ve been paying attention to this blog you will know that I am a rule follower, baker that I am. I like a recipe and clear instructions. To me knitting is the craft form of the same behavior. Patterns (which I very often slip up and call ‘recipes’) are clear instructions, written or in chart form. And as long as you follow along and pay attention you end up with a finished object. Yes, practice and skill will make it look much better (see also ‘baking a cake’…) but you will get a product if you follow the directions.
But, just as I have started to bust out into creating some recipes, I have also accidentally created my first pattern! I did it, I made it up as I went along, I’ve never done that before. (Well, I once knit a teeny red hat for a ceramic Santa Clause whose head had cracked and I just made that up as I went….) I had leftover (delicious, squishy) yarn from a sweater I made earlier this year and I just didn’t want it to go to waste. So I thought, socks. But it’s thicker yarn, so I thought, slipper socks. And I’m going on a trip in a few weeks so I’m calling them my Cutie Patootie Airplane Booties! They are intentionally mismatched and too big but oh so soft and all mine (and thrifty use of yarn, mom would be proud) and I love them.