Confessions of a Novice ( and Envious) Knitter

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I have to admit, I have never been intimately aware of the details of yarn. I have attended a sheep and wool show once, with my mother in law, who is an avid knitter, and although I marveled at the creative geniuses making yarn from angora bunnies and alpacas, I didn’t even begin to think that I would ever attempt it myself. Earlier this week, I admired a handknitted shrug that my friend was wearing, and it was so soft and lovely that I practically drooled with envy. “You could make one just like this” she said. Right.

And so it begins. We sat down together, she and I , and while she started explaining continental versus English styles of throwing yarn, and the differences in bamboo as compared to plastic or metal needles, I very quickly realized that I was way over my head. Wool and yarn guages, stitches per inch, all of it began to sound much like the Korean commands that I hear my son responding to during his Tae Kwon Do lessons. But I decided that if he could do it, I could too. (Ok, so I won’t attempt a jumping slide kick, I will not concede defeat to a pair of tiny chopstick sized weapons before we have even bowed to each other.)

After rummaging quickly through her stash ( and I learned that all knitters have “stashes” of yarn which they purchase, knowing that they will be perfect someday) my friend sat down next to me on the couch with a pair of needles, and a skein of practice yarn. (And before that moment, I had never taken into account the differences between regular yarn and practice yarn.)     

Knit one, Purl one. It’s practically a common statement one hears in movie dialog, and it sounds so simple.

My friend has such patience with me that I begin to suspect that she was a preschool teacher in another life. She would probably deny this, but her calm soothing voice as I whined “Wrap this around where…” was a strong indicator. After getting me through that first lesson, and sending me on my way with my needles and practice yarn in hand, I’m sure she might have thought her work was done.

She invited me to attend her knitting circle the next evening, and I did go, and was practically spellbound by the work the other women were pulling out of their knitting bags, the sweaters and shrugs they were wearing, and more. Listening to them telling stories and chatting, without ever missing or dropping stitches, I was even more impressed. One of the women brought alpaca yarn ( from her own alpacas) that she had hand-dyed, and I watched in zwe, and tried not to embarrass myself too badly.

I went home that evening, and although I responded casually to my husband’s query about how the evening had been, with a simple “everyone was very nice, and I had a lovely evening” I knew deep inside that I had developed a new obsession.

I’ve spent the past several days knitting at every opportunity, and am simply thrilled with the many times during the day when I can pull out my needles and add another row to the teal colored scarf I am knitting to match my winter coat. Doctors offices, kids lessons, and time previously spent doing laundry and cleaning the bathrooms– all now spent knitting. Every stitch is a meditative thought, every row is a success, and every inch added to the knitted scarf is a major pat on the back. Life is good!

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