First, I have to admit something. I don't know how to knit. Now you're thinking - "So what's the big deal!" It's not a big deal unless you happened to grow up in a house with an super-talented Mom who can do absolutely everything with yarn. You name it - stuffed animals, afghans, clothes; she can do it.
My only excuse for not picking up the amazing art of what I call "Fussing with yarn" is that I'm left handed and my Mom is right handed. If you've ever tried to follow along when your brain is wired in reverse you'll completely understand what I'm talking about.
A few days ago I bought some cheap yarn and needles out of a clearance bin at Tuesday Morning (one of my favorite places to shop) telling myself - "You should really learn how to knit - EVERYONE who is ANYONE is knitting these days."
I went on to Books a Million and found a "Beginner's Knitting" book in the 75% off stack. Now you're thinking to yourself, "75% off books are there for a reason and buying a 75% off, how-to knit book is probably not wise". Where were you when I needed you?
I sat down that night with my needles, yarn, and the thin book with a cartoon cover and said OK, let's knit! My husband said "You're not going to ball your yarn first? It will get in a big mess otherwise."
Just to punish him for mentioning that unfortunate fact - he got to hold the yarn between his arms for the next 20 minutes while I made a ball. This part I vaguely remember from my childhood but I was obviously out of practice because I kept dropping the ball. Then I remembered I normally had the role my hubby was filling at the moment.
Right. Ball made, comfy on the couch, book in lap, ready to cast on: Page 26 of the evil 'how-to knit' book says "Hold the yarn with your LEFT hand... [I start to get a little anxious] With your right hand wrap the yarn twice... [my shoulders are tensing up] put the needle under the first loop [WHAT LOOP!?!].
I scan the page frantically for Figure 1 to help these first few sentences make sense.
Nothing... I head to my well lit kitchen for a better look. Nothing... Where is this Figure 1 that is going to lead me to the promised land of Knitting? I put the book on the counter and squint down at the page - where my thumb had been, in a tiny 1 inch by 1 inch square is Figure 1.
I re-read the text leading up to Figure 1, I look at the picture - nothing. I grab my 1.75 reading glasses and check out the picture again - nothing. I imagine the place in my dusty junk closet where this knitting paraphernalia will fit nicely. I spend the next 10 minutes looking over the other tiny illustrations on the page. Figures 2, 3, and 4 each include fingers, at least one knitting needle, and a mess of string. That's all I can get out of it. On the same page was a 4 by 6 inch cartoon of a cute dog chewing on a knitter's ball of yarn. I begin composing a harsh letter in my head to the author of this book about why the instructional images have to be 1 by 1 inch and the useless cute cartoon takes up half the page. Then it occurred to me - This book is not for people who really WANT to learn how to knit, it's for people who just THINK they do and need a reminder that new skills are incredibly hard to learn and it's best to stick to what you know. I know I need another glass of wine.
The next night I'm back in my comfort zone (in front of my computer) and I have an epiphany. I go to Youtube and search "knitting left handed". On my screen, in living color, are two hands showing me step-by-step, how to cast-on, knit a few rows, and get the whole mess off the needles when you're done. There's also some relaxing music to keep me from panicking when I lose my place. Here's the link to this very cool video: How to Knit Left Handed.
I grab my ball of yarn and my needles, crank up the video and after an hour and few dozen starts and stops I have this:
OK, it's not pretty but it is a start. I'm going to bookmark every Youtube video like this one and keep practicing. Christmas will be here before you know it and you're all getting scarves!
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