Or…’How I got my screenname.’
OfTroy/QueenofTroy wrote this post, an interesting reflecting on the changes in techniques for teaching knitting.
So, of course, this takes me back to the beginning.
When did I start knitting? Summer of 2006.
Why? One of the girls I babysit for needed help deciphering her instruction booklet for casting on stitches (it was the slip knot, thumb, & forefinger version of the long tail cast on). Her mother didn’t know how to knit and the woman at our church cast on her sts for her, then taught her the knit st.
Now, I had seen people knit. My aunt made me a Hello Kitty sweater, complete with my name on it when I was 5. 🙂 My mother kept it and partially removed my name. 😦
That instruction booklet was motivation to try it. I went to the library with my sister (who thought it might be interesting, too), check out Teach Yourself Visually Knitting & Crocheting. I also went Hancock Fabrics and picked out yarn & needles with my sister. I also took a free pattern for a sweater.
Now, if you know anything about knitting, you’re going to cringe and laugh.
I chose royal blue Lion Brand Chenille Thick & Quick. Size 11 US straight needles. Because the yarn label said so, and, eh, it was close enough to the instructions. So, I took all this stuff home, and cast on some stitches, since I already knew how.
I practiced my knit stitches, then tried some purls. If you’ve seen the yarn, then you know that it’s not that easy to tell one from the other. I thought I knew what I was doing, so I chose a st pattern I liked from the book and decided to modify the sweater pattern form the store.
This has significance. Now there’s a section in the book about gauge. I glanced at it, & skipped it. I’m a small person. Generally size 0 in women’s clothes, or 14 in the juniors’ section. The sweater was written for a smaller yarn, but the intended smallest size was definitely a good 4 inches bigger, and I was going to cast on the stitch pattern number (one of those multiple of 12 + x types).
The sweater was knit flat, so, knowing nothing about sweater construction either, I blithely cast on more stitches and tried out my skills.
Partway through, I stopped and re-read the purl instructions. I had missed the crucial element of bringing the yarn in front of the work for my purls. Riiiiip! Started again, purled correctly, slavishly figured out how to coordinate my stitch pattern to the sweater.
The stitch pattern wasn’t visible, but I was determined to keep going. Then the shaping…. I had no idea what ‘AT THE SAME TIME’ and join a second ball of yarn meant. So, I tried looking online.
This is how I found Craftster. I needed to register to ask my question. I needed a name. Somehow, I knew this sweater was a disaster. So I chose the name knittinfiasco because it aptly described my situation, and I think there was a limit of how many letters could be in my screenname at the time (Craftster’s been revamped at least twice since I first found it, so rules might have changed).
I searched the forum for something that might help. I discovered a thread on ‘my first sweater’, and even found a picture of the correct way to do shaping, but I still didn’t get it totally right. So my first sweater, in chenille, consisted of shaping done with both sides done a the same time, on 1 ball. So every other row or so had a long, dangling yarn across the center.
I finished my 4 pieces that summer, then put it aside for a while. The book went back to the library. I decided to seam it…sort of. The proportion of these pieces was way off. No way would it fit without some help. so I actually sewed the excess fabric inside the sweater. The collar called for a circular needle, so I went to Hobby Lobby and found one. I snipped all those extra strings, and made do…somehow, with a lot of creative yarn end hiding and sewing holes closed, I finished my sweater. It was gargantuan, but stayed on my body & was warm.
I even wore it in public a few times.
As I matured as a knitter (finding more Godsends, like knittinghelp videos) & learned more techniques, I made other, better fitting, sweaters. I even took one day to frog the blue monstrosity. The yarn is all re-balled, waiting to be reborn as something with definable stitches.
That is my humble beginning as a knitter.