I have been wanting to make proper fingerless mittens for a while, and even more after my failed attempt at crocheting cabled ones a few weeks ago. (I abandoned that project; I attempted to make them with at least 5 different hook sizes to get the gauge right, and it never got there, and I was frustrated beyond the point of enjoying myself, so I let it go.) Right around that same time, Design*Sponge wrote about how to host a knitting party (which honestly sounds like a lot of fun; maybe I’ll do something like that one day), and the post included instructions for knitting easy fingerless mittens.
I finally got around to visiting the yarn store near me, figuring that this pattern was straightforward enough (and didn’t call for a large amount of yarn) that it would be fun to buy some “fancy” yarn to use. I ended up buying Debbie Stoller’s Luxury Tweed Chunky in a dusty purple, because it looked amazing next to my pale gray coat.
These knit up super fast, even for this beginning knitter, and sewing the seam with a thumbhole couldn’t have been easier. Of course, I finished them just in time to … not need wristwarmers anymore, but that’s okay. I loved this project, and will definitely make another pair someday. (And I’m pretty sure there will be a few pairs to give as gifts, too.)
Lately I have been making a lot of things for others (joyfully, because there is a limit to how many knitted/crocheted things one can make for oneself), and since I didn’t have any gifts lined up, I decided it was time to make something for myself. And I also really wanted to go back to knitting for a while, since I have been back on the crochet bandwagon in the past few months. I wear the hell out of my two (store bought) infinity scarves/cowls, just because of how nicely they drape, and found this pattern on ravelry and figured it was time to actually make one for myself. Plus, this one is chunky and oversized, which is exactly what I was looking for.
I suppose I should tell my perfectionist side to ease down a bit, considering the fact that this is still only the 5th thing I have ever knitted, but… you know how it goes. I think one of my biggest frustrations so far with knitting (as opposed to crochet) is that I really don’t know how to fix my mistakes, or even figure out what the mistake was. The first time I cast on, I twisted the stitches when I joined in the round, which would have made a nice purposeful mobius-ish twist, but was really not my intention for this cowl. So I started over. And then somewhere along the way (four skeins in), I dropped a stitch or skipped a stitch, because there was a mysterious button-type hole, and then later I mixed up my knits and purls and I just don’t know what happened, but I don’t like how it looks. And more than anything, I was so jazzed for knitting near perfect seed stitch for, like, 12 inches, and THEN making mistakes and making it look worse by trying to fix it.
Either way, I ADORE seed stitch, and bulky yarn, and will probably make another one of these in another color. Or maybe I’ll crochet a bulky cowl, just for variety. (I know my sister wants one of these already, so regardless, I’ll be making it again!)
Learning how to knit was on my 28 to do list, and I very nearly didn’t get it done in time for my birthday. But a last-minute crafty gathering with Jodi and Minty in New York City four days before my birthday meant that I learned how to knit before my birthday deadline after all. And I kind of thought that after so many years of crocheting, I’d take to knitting instantly… but I felt so completely awkward trying to cast on and learn to knit and purl. I figured it out eventually, thanks to Minty’s patience (and getting to use the less cumbersome circular needles she had with her). Even though finishing that granny square blanket earlier in the summer has me completely jazzed about crocheting, I wanted to make sure to knit something, and soon, so as not to forget all of my recently learned skills. So I added “knit something” to my 30 before 30 list.
I watched a lot of youtube videos, took books out of the library, and went to the craft store for yarn and my own circular needles, because despite now being the owner of my grandmother’s impressive stash of needles, at least for my first project, I wanted to stick with the tools that worked best as I was learning. And thank the universe for youtube videos, because I had forgotten a lot even a week or so after I learned. And in a surprising subplot to this whole learning to knit thing, I’ve discovered that I really am a more visual learner than any other method. All of those quizzes we took in high school to help us learn how we learn told me I was every type of learner (visual, tactile, auditory) but when it comes to crafting? I need to see it. Reading books with black and white diagrams doesn’t help me at ALL. I need photo step-by-step instruction or a video. Or someone showing me how to do it in front of me. So that’s good to know about myself.
Anyway, I bought a few $0.99 balls of “fun yarn” mostly because I couldn’t resist the jewel-toned colors, figuring I’d just knit a bunch of rows until I felt comfortable. That turned into just making a garter stitch scarf, because (a) it was all knitting and (b) I like how garter stitch almost looks like stripes, sort of. So rather than try to learn how to make stripes with my first project, I just knit until I was done with each ball of yarn. And I really dig the color block effect, perhaps simply because it’s not what I’d normally plan. And who knew changing colors was so damn easy?
I see a lot of projects in my future, and a lot of stripes, too. I think I’m going to try a hat next… but if you have any suggestions for good beginner knitting projects, I’m all ears!