Friday, November 19, 2010

Gifts Project #3

Knitting. I've finally taught myself to knit! I've been trying to teach myself for a few years, which really means I'd try, be frustrated, quit for months, and repeat.

Anyway, about a year ago I watched a program, where this woman said it doesn't matter how you knit as long as you accomplish the stitches. Then she proceeded to demonstrate her knitting style, which was unlike anything I'd ever seen. It was like an epiphany for me.

Turns out, the 'throwing' style of knitting was my problem. Not knitting, the style. You see, I'm a crochet-er first. In crochet your two hands work together to create the piece and the fabric you make is strong and won't unravel if your hook falls out. In knitting, or rather in English knitting, one hand does all the work and the other hand holds stuff. Knitted fabric is fragile, if the needle falls out it will most likely unravel or drop stitches. In the throwing process, I'd lose stitches, or my left hand would try to help and a needle would fall out. Very frustrating.

Since seeing that program, I discovered continental knitting and it's been transformative. I'm a knitter! I use both hands to create the fabric and because I'm not releasing a needle to throw the yarn, no more lost threads or needles. It's very exciting.

I love crochet. Crocheted items have more body and the fabric is thicker than knit. You can make virtually any shape with crochet and it makes the best afghans. What's great about knit is the flexibility of the finished fabric. Knit items are thinner and more fluid, which makes for a great scarf. If, like me, you need help learning to knit, check out the plethora of YouTube videos on the subject. They helped me and perhaps will help you, too.

So, I've been knitting scarves all year. It improves my skill, the projects are portable and use very little yarn. You can make a scarf while practicing knit stitches and by the time you've finished the scarf, you will have mastered the stitch. And, it's the perfect use for all the novelty yarns I've bought on clearance or super sales or just because I couldn't resist. A local store was clearing out their yarn department of all the onsie, twosie skeins left and I bought several interesting yarns for 39 to 59 cents a skein. Perfect for these scarves!

Lion Brand Yarns has so many patterns and it is my first choice when looking for inspiration. One scarf I particularly like is a keyhole scarf done in garter stitch. Four of the scarves in the picture are in this pattern. What I like best is that the scarf isn't super long, so it just tucks right into your coat.

Scarves! :)

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