It started with pretty yarn. Doesn't it always?
I really wanted to play around with some yarn that recently made it into my basket.
Then, it almost came to an abrupt end before things really even got off the ground. Let's just say double pointed needles and I did not get off to a happy start.
But I soldiered on, the motivation to do so can be placed entirely on the encouragement of my Facebook friends. Who knew Facebook had such value? But it's true.
You can feel frustrated about your knitting and cry publicly on Facebook only to have an immediate and grand response from fellow knitters providing solace. They'll offer to chat with you on the phone, come over to your house, give you a one on one lesson via skype, or simply to keep you company in your frustration - all the while encouraging you to move forward.
Seriously, knitters are good, dedicated people.
And knitting is good for me. I can tell.
I know it's all still new, and my projects to date are not much in the way of extravagance, but I'm getting it friends... the quiet allure, the timeless space, the grounded feeling of quality yarn in my hands... I get it.
I love being able to create something functional with nothing more than a ball of string and a couple of sticks. No power cords needed, no sound from a machine. I could even knit by candlelight should the power go out in the evening (which I've happily done).
I could go on and on about my new love, but I'll just say this...
Knitting is perfect.
I think it will teach me everything.
But... back to those double pointed needles. After finishing my last project, I wanted to give double pointed needles a try. It felt like trying to perform surgery on a butterfly (not that I have any idea what that is like) and became immediately discouraging.
Hence, me taking my knitting woes to Facebook.
And that is where I found all the help and wisdom I needed.
Sarah even made me a video that demonstrated how to use double pointed needles! Saved by wise knitting friends, I tell ya.
I wanted to make a hat. A hat! Based on most of the patterns I looked at, I thought I had to use dpns, but my Facebook friends said otherwise. Take it slow, use small circular needles, check out the magic loop method - that might work for you.
I went to work knitting up my first hat (Winter Slouch), the plan being to use circular needles for as far as they'd take me, then carefully switch to dpns. I figured it would feel less cumbersome to get acquainted with double points on a project that was already established, that had a good amount of work completed. Much less fuss.
It worked! Sort of...
The knitting itself indeed worked, and the switching of needles worked, but what's that pesky thing that knitters always talk about? Oh... um... you know... gauge!?
Yeah. Apparently it matters.
So, hat number one went on and came off the needles but will surely not fit a single head in this house. Thankfully Emily has a friend with dreads... and I do believe she is about to get a little present.
Next up, another hat of course. This time, Sugar Maple Hat, a different pattern using smaller needles. (I love tiny stitches.) From the start it seemed like a slimmer, though still slouchy hat. Just what I wanted. And I especially liked how the ribbed band was a little extra wide, a snug covering over the ears from cold wintry air.
So, this little project stayed by my side over the weekend, coming along with us and taking form one little stitch at a time.
I'm beginning to find a better groove with the dpns, still starting with circulars and going as far as I can with those (I think I'll probably always do that), then switching to double points at the end.
This second attempt at hat making went pretty well. Still a little big, but very much wearable.
Practice makes progress.
Although I do hope our friends with dreads stand by because I don't think I'm out of the oversized hat making woods just yet. Maybe I need to take that whole gauge thing to heart, after all.
Now, if only I can get my yarn to stop twisting up like crazy when casting on. Goodness that would save me some grief. (Feel free to instruct me on this.)