Knit One, Two, Thr-…Rip Rip Rip

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve always wanted to knit. Since I was little, fashion and crafting has always intrigued me. I already know how to sew and kinda quilt (I definitely need to improve my skills), so knitting seemed like the perfect next step. I debated learning to crochet instead or first so I spent a lot of time looking up projects, but my obsession with sweaters made me realize knitting would produce what I wanted. I’ve tried to teach myself several times over the years, but I feared being a lefty I wouldn’t understand it (the pictures didn’t help me at all) so I decided to do it the “right way” and take an intro class at Michaels. I even convinced my mom and aunt to take it as well–I figured with three of us learning, we’d be able to help each other or more likely, share our frustrations.

The required materials list was pretty small: a skein of yarn and size 8 or 9 knitting needles, but with three of us it didn’t stay small for long. The worst (and best) part was picking out yarn. I already hoard fabric so why not yarn? I did really try to just stick to one skein, buuuuut we all decided to buy “better yarn” for our first real project and before I knew it, I had enough of my own yarn to fill a few grocery bags, most of which was to make future projects I was nowhere near able to make yet (ie: sweaters and socks).

The class size was small, but due to some very dangerous wind chills and snow, our instructor combined the Saturday beginner knitting and crochet classes. We lucked out: our total class size was six, three knitters and four crocheters, but things got off to a bumpy start.

Everyone ended up rolling their skeins into balls, a process that took a good 10 minutes to do and left your arms feeling too tired to learn how to knit. I was also thankful my mom, aunt and I had watched a few YouTube videos the week before class to learn how to cast on and make the basic stitch or we wouldn’t have made any progress at all. Unfortunately, while we were there, none of us made it far enough to make many of the most common mistakes so we didn’t get a real opportunity to learn how to fix them. She didn’t have enough time to teach us how to purl and had I not asked, no one in the class would have learned how to bind off and weave the tails in. While she was very nice and answered most of my questions, and I realize it was only one session, but I was disappointed I’d learned more about the basics of knitting on my own than in the class.

I chose to do a scarf for my first project, but I decided to make it for Nova. It would be big enough to help me practice, but not so large it would take me forever and if I made many mistakes I’d be less frustrated starting over a few times. And by “a few times,” I mean a minimum of five and it was equally if not more frustrating each time. Nova really enjoyed watching me knit, often climbing on to my lap to have a better look-because learning how to knit wasn’t hard enough without her face in the way.

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Nova’s infinity scarf turned out pretty well. I was amazed I didn’t make as many mistakes as I thought (I cleverly hid the major flaws in the twisted bit) and it was still in one piece after she wore it for a few hours.

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Thrilled with my success, we ended back at Joann to only buy some more needles and various notions. That plan lasted about two minutes, if that. I found some awesome Red Heart reflective yarn and knew I had to have some so I could make myself a hat and scarf to wear while walking/jogging with Nova during those days we were out when it was dark. It dawned on me about a week later I should have bought enough to make something for Nova so back we went and I was lucky enough to grab the last two skeins and they actually matched my dye lot! The yarn was harder to use–I was catching the thin silver reflective strip in the middle of the yarn, shredding the yarn and untwisting the reflective strip. I decided to put the project on hold and go back to learning the basics. My next goals: figure out how to keep my tension consistent, figure out what the heck gauge is/how it works and learn to purl.

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