Monday, May 5, 2008

Diving into the Knitting World

I have rediscovered my love of fibers and the creations that can result. Although I have crocheted numerous afghans and sweaters (baby), I have always been afraid of knitting. I don't know why exactly. My grandmother was always knitting socks, mittens, and afghans, but I didn't think I could do it. In February, I took a weekend trip with some of my colleagues to Mineral Point, Wisconsin where I discovered a great yarn/fiber shop, la bella vita fibre gallery. It was like coming home to a place inside that had been forgotten. I remembered the fiber shops in Dinkeytown near the U of Minnesota campus where I would get lost in time while perusing the wide variety of textures and colors. Of course, I bought yarn that I found appealing--without having any project in mind. When I returned back home, I found two yarn shops: Wool & Co. in Geneva and Knitche in Downers Grove. While I was at Wool & Co. I noticed a small "stash" afghan (baby size) in the back corner and became intrigued. Winter was relentlessly holding us captive--but the yellow, orange, and greens of the small afghan promised me that spring was just around the corner. I found yarns that would serve as the base solid colors and some other for interest. I purchased size 11 circular bamboo needles (Crystal Palace), which I now love and went home to start my project around Easter.

It has truly been a learning project. I started out tentatively and progressed with more and more confidence. This afghan has no stitch pattern--just knit when you want and purl when you want. The pattern occurs with the yarn chosen for the upcoming rows. When I started the different yarns, I had been told to just go from heavy to lighter yarns (both in weight and color)--but learned by the end of the project that some yarns were too light--but looked better when doubled.

I finished the project last week and feel sad that it is done, but I now look at it with love and joy.

Tomorrow I start my first knitting class at Knitche--one on a different type of "stash" afghan--the cottage throw. It employs cotton yarn, so I bought some over the weekend to get the hang of knitting with it--and boy, what a challenge. It is slippery, makes it hard to keep consistent tension, and shows no mercy when it comes to showing your shortcomings! My thought is that at least I will provide some comic relief to others in the class! Wish me luck . . .

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