Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: When I Retire From Knitting

Everyone has those projects that they plan on doing as soon as they retire.

“When  I retire, I’ll rebuild that classic car.”

“I can’t wait to retire so I can  finally have the time to quilt.”

“I so want to redecorate the whole house, but it will have to wait until I retire.”

“Let me retire and then I’ll have time to do everything that I want!”

Well, I’ve got a project on my retirement list as well. When the kids are grown and I retire from knitting, I plan to take on the challenge of knitting a bedspread. That may sound odd, but it seems to me that in order to make a bedspread, one must no longer have plans of knitting anything else for the remainder of their life. (They must also be without any form of stash as not to distract them from the task at hand).

I look at lacy knitted  and crochet bedspreads and my jaw just drops at the time and skill it took to create them. Have you ever even tried to knit with bedspread weight cotton? Working with it should be an Olympic sport!

So, until that day when I retire, I’ll just enjoy the work of others and stand in awe of those with the time- and sanity- to create these beautiful pieces.

Crochet Bedspread

 

Knitted Bedspread

Advertisements

Knitting and Crochet Blog Week 2011: You Got Skills!

All this week my postings are a part of the 2nd Annual Knitting & Crochet Blog Week. To learn more about it, just click here.

My Very First Two Needle Sock

Looking back on where I was this time last year, I am just amazed at just how much I’ve grown in regards to my knitting.

If you had told me last year that by this time I would have a pattern available on Ravelry, I would have laughed in your face. What started off as just me taking on another knitting challenge to conquer by knitting my first pair of socks, has now turned into a passion of wanting to make and promote two needle sock knitting. 

I can still remember being frustrated at how I was all thumbs trying to knit a sock on double-pointed needles. And how jealous I was watching Cookie A working on her latest sock at the local knitting group. She could make almost any sock yarn her bitch and I wanted to be able to do that.

I watched every YouTube video I could find on how to knit socks using various methods. I tried toe up and top down, sideways, knitting loom and even crochet. It was some random obscure pattern that I ran across online that finally made it all come together for me. Child socks knitted on two needles with a seam down the back and on the sides. Pure magic! 

After knitting my first sock with this pattern everything just started to make sense for me. I studied other sock patterns, learning about sock history and sock construction. Soon I was able to read a top down sock pattern and be able to convert it into a two needle pattern. Now, I have sketch books  full of ideas and thoughts of publishing my own book of two needle sock designs!

A Recent Sock Design

I have learned and grown a lot. But I am nowhere near considering myself an expert by any means.  I am not ashamed to confess that there are still things I have yet to learn in knitting. My lace knitting is a true testament to resisting the urge to frog. I still have never done a cable pattern. My  I-cords look more like I-won’ts. And no matter how hard I try, I suck at Faire Isle.

The wonderful thing about the needle arts is that you are encouraged to always keep growing and learning and just when you think you’ve learned it all, there is always something new just waiting around the bin.

So, what new skills / techniques have you learned this past year?

Lace For One And All

image

I’ve been knitting for over 10 years now, yet the above piece is only my second attempt at knitting lace. It’s not that I don’t like lace- I actually LOVE it. However, the knitting community can be its own worse enemy when it comes to promoting lace knitting.

The message I received as a beginning knitter was that new knitters were fools if they tried to tackle lace without years of experience. I was told that lace knitting could only be done properly by more mature ladies from the ‘old country’. I even read somewhere that if you did not have the proper respect or historical understanding of where a lace shawl came from and didn’t knit it in traditional white wool then you are being disrespectful to the lace and are better off knitting a scarf in fun fur.

So, I figured that lace knitting was something you just looked at, but you didn’t actually dare do yourself. Instead, I just did crochet lace which was apparently the only form of lace allowed to be made by the ‘common’ person. Yet, I still wanted to make knitted lace.

When the opportunity came to make a head covering for a swap on Ravelry, I looked for a crochet version but couldn’t find one that moved me. Then I stumbled upon the lace veil that I posted about before. It was beautiful and reminded me of the lace coverings I would see women wear in Catholic church. But it was knitted. And I wasn’t allowed to knit lace. “What’s going to happen? Is the lace knitting mafia is going to bust down our door and kick your ass?”, my hubby asked. No. But like telling a child they are dumb, it was hard to break through those negative thoughts that were placed in my head as a young knitter. I decided that I would use the head covering as my way to break through everything negative I ever heard or felt about knitting lace.

I cast on and knitted away. I made mistakes, but didn’t rip my work out. I knew that if I ripped out my work, then I would use it as an excuse to not restart. So, I knitted on. And before I knew it, a pattern was taking shape through my fingers. It was lumpy and messy and looked nothing like the picture, but I pressed on. When I finally did my bind off, I damped the lace with some cool water and then laid it out on a piece of felt. Gently, I pulled and pinned down the lace. It was like watching magic in slow motion but still not being able to see how the magician pulled the rabbit out of the hat. I stepped back and saw the most beautiful piece of knitting ever and then I looked down at my hands, not sure how I could have made it.

That is what they mean when they say, ‘the magic of lace’. It is that moment of awe over yarn over’s and ssk’s that some how, without you knowing it, transformed into a work of art. I realized at that moment that I would never discourage anyone, no matter what their skill level, from trying to knit lace.

Lace knitting is not as hard as it seems. Sure, there are those wedding ring lace pieces that look as if they were knitted using yarn made from spider webs. And there are those patterns that knitters brag about that took them 12 hours and day for six months to complete. (You can file that one with the same people who talk about walking to school in eight feet of snow, uphill, both ways).

Lace knitting is not for some elite group of knitters who spend their summers in Ireland and their winters studying Scandinavian art. Lace knitting is for everyone! If you can read a chart and got your handy list of knitting abbreviations nearby, then with a little time and patience, you can knit lace. Never let anyone, knitter or otherwise, discourage you from enjoying the wonderful world of lace knitting!