Knitting and Unknitting

When I was a young child I remember watching my grandmother and mother knitting. The sounds of the metal needles clanking together and the swiftness of their fingers intrigued me. Sitting next to them, I would pick up a spare pair of needles and pretend to knit making my needles clack together. I wished I could knit like they did. As I got older, I lost that desire to knit. I marveled at how anyone could sit for hours on end knitting. The progress seemed painstakingly slow and I needed that instant gratification to motivate me. I much prefered sitting at my sewing machine piecing fabric together to make myself a new skirt, or jacket.

It wasn’t until my daughters were five and seven years of age that knitting needles found their way into my home. A very dear friend offered to teach my girls to knit. I took them once a week to her home where she helped them knit penny pockets and dolls. A few more years passed before those needles landed in my hands.

It is difficult to raise sheep and take their wool from dirty fleeces to beautiful yarn and not allow knitting to enter your life. So now at the age of 40 something, I have picked up knitting needles. I consider myself a beginner having knit socks, shawls, and a couple of vests. I marvel at the process of knitting and love to sit and watch those who REALLY know how to knit. While I still struggle with the mechanics of how it all works, I watch my knitting friends and wonder at their ability to work intricate patterns, or to knit with no pattern at all, or to know how to correct my numerous mistakes.

With Christmas coming, I have picked up my needles again. My first Christmas project went well and was easily finished. The past two weeks I have been working on my second Christmas project. When I bought the pattern, I asked the woman at the counter if I could easily knit this project. I should have been suspicious when she hesitated before she began speaking. “Yes, you can,” she said, “you just need to watch your markers and be attentive to the pattern.” I hand dyed my Romney/mohair blend in shades of purple and began knitting.

Two weeks later my husband says that I have perfected “unknitting” as he calls it. Four times I have taken my work out to correct a problem. Last night, after ripping back every stitch I had done the past three days, I decided to put this project aside until after Christmas. A few minutes on Ravelry was all I needed to find a new pattern that is a smaller project and easier. Instead of requiring four skeins of yarn, this pattern assured me it would only take one. It also said that this was a pattern to do while “knitting with friends or watching TV”. A couple of hours later I was well on my way!

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