Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Knit like a man?

Yeah, yeah, that's right, like a man. I have, at various times of my life, spun yarn from wool and other fibers but had never learned to knit a single stitch. It just never appealed to me and even as an adolescent, I found more value in spinning the yarn and then trading a portion of it for the knitted object of my desire. Offer most knitters four skeins of homespun in return for a hat or scarf that will only consume one of them and they usually take you up on your offer.

Recently, I was talking about that practice with a gal who had knit an awesome hat for me years ago and she related a sentiment that a spinner who doesn't knit is like a baker who doesn't eat bread. Hmm, good point. She also mentioned the while it's perfectly OK to spin for the sake a spinning, and please continue to supply yarn, that I might find knitting my own things both rewarding and a better use of my time than spinning yarn for someone else. Another, good point.

If you hadn't already guessed I'm also kind of a whole experience kind of guy. So, taking the process full circle certainly appeals to me and I'm at the point where I want interesting things made from interesting fiber. Sometimes even when trading highly desirable homespun for finished pieces, I end up needing too much yarn to garner the deal or it becomes more trouble for the knitter than it's worth. So, I finally relented and decided to learn to cast on and do a basic continental knit stitch.

It was a maddening process. I was watching online tutorials and couldn't figure it out to save my life. I managed to cast on but it was just murky. Then my monitor randomly broke. So, I paused, got my screwdrivers and pulled it apart. After identifying the loose connection and making a temporary fix until I can re-flow part of the board, I slapped it back together and got back to the tutorials. Aaargg!

Half an hour after repairing a computer part that is normally discarded and replaced if it breaks, as in I can't believe figured that out and fixed it, still I could not knit! Flipping knitting! Not even fancy, cool looking, thanks grandma, knitting. Just basic, this guy is a dork who knitted his own boring scarf, knitting. Ohhh... it was a dark moment.

However, a week later after a visit to the awesome Art Fibers knit shop in San Francisco, I have knitted my first row. The internets hadn't exactly lied to me but had instead committed a foul by not presenting a tutorial on basic knitting so as to teach people who know nothing of how it is done. What? you say. Yes, one gaff far too many how to folks make is to not put themselves in the shoes of someone who is a complete novice. They don't consider that someone learning from an online video tutorial is probably doing so because they don't have anyone to teach them and therefore need "all" or at least as many of the little details as possible. It's as though they are more showing other people who already know how to do things that they too know how to do it and therefore leave out, sometimes critical, details. Knitting, as it turns out, has a lot of little critical details that add up in a hurry if you aren't aware of them.

Say what you want but when the zombies attack and the power goes out, I won't be the one complaining about how cold it is.

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