Saturday, October 13, 2012

An ode to knitting.

Knitting amazes me. It really does.
It also confuses me and sometimes makes me feel like I know absolutely nothing. But that's okay.
I've been knitting for over a year now (!) and I still feel like a complete beginner. But I do think I learn a bit more with every project. With the baby blanket I recently completed, I thought I would never be able to memorize the pattern. But eventually I did, and when I lost track of where I was, I could recognize where the double 2togs were and where the YOs were. Instead of having to go back to the very beginning of the row and count every stitch, I could visually see what I needed to do next. That felt pretty great. :)
I don't know why certain stitches make a knitted piece look a certain way. I'll be following a pattern and wondering how on earth a project will turn out like it's supposed to, but incredibly, it does. Most of the time.

But this is the most amazing thing about knitting to me. You basically start with string and two sticks, and you can make something beautiful with that. Sewing will always be my first crafty love, but even with sewing, you start with the fabric already made. With knitting you make the fabric and the finished object. No cutting or electricity needed...just two pieces of wood and a bit of string.

I love that knitting is super portable. I love slowly seeing a project come together, stitch by stitch and row by row. I love buying yarn. :) I love bamboo knitting needles and wool yarn (metal needles not so much. They hurt my hands and get extremely cold if you put them down for just a second). I love going online to figure out how to do a new stitch that I come across in a pattern.

My latest fascination is spinning. This takes the whole knitting thing a step further. :) I am obsessed with the idea that one could do this whole process: sheep to scarf or sweater or whatever. My dad has a flock of sheep, but they're hair sheep, not wool sheep. But because we have a farm, there's a possibility that someday I could have a couple of sheep for wool {right, Dad? :) I'm trying to convince him that he needs to learn how to shear sheep}. I have spent an embarrassing amount of time watching Youtube videos about spinning.

Since I obviously can't afford a spinning wheel right now (and it would be dumb to buy one when I have no experience with spinning), I bought a spindle instead. Plus a bit of wool roving to practice with and two books: Start Spinning and Harvest Color: How to Find Plants and Make Natural Dyes (being able to dye yarn the color I want? Without using chemicals? Yes, please). I've been busy on a sewing project over the past couple of days and haven't been able to practice yet, but if I'm able to make usable yarn, you know I'll be sharing here. :)

I think it's so awesome that people have been hand spinning wool into yarn for thousands of years. There's even art featuring girls holding their spindle and distaff. Unmarried girls and women spun to help support themselves, which is where the term spinster originally came from.

{I have to admit that all of the fairy tale references to spinning only make me more interested...Sleeping Beauty pricking her finger on a spindle, Rumpelstiltskin using a spinning wheel to turn straw into gold, etc. What can I say? I love fairy tales and they've been on my mind a lot lately, what with Once Upon a Time and all.}

Until next time,


  1. Oh, drop spindles look like so much fun! I have a spinning wheel which I use, but I've yet to try a drop spindle.

  2. It's so fun to see how your knitting has evolved over the year. Our house is full of books on shearing, spinning, weaving, dying, etc. I joke with my husband that we'll be self sufficient in a major disaster as long as we can cart our books around with us!! (PS A quote from one of our books, "No instance of the use of cat's hair has ever come to light, but it would be quite possible to spin combings of fine haired Persian, especially carded with suitable wool. The author's experiments with a mixture of Siamese and camel are not to be recommended!" Perhaps you don't need many sheep since you have cats!)

  3. What a pretty pic!! I don't knit, but I've always wanted to try it. I can't wait to see your yarn!! :)


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