I’ve had a couple of false starts at learning how to knit in my lifetime. There first was the time, as a child, when my mom tried to teach me how to knit. Unfortunately she got the bright idea (sorry Mom!) to try to teach me to knit the opposite way to most people because I was left-handed. It didn’t ‘take’, probably because it was a frustrating experience for both of us.
The second time was just a few years ago when I finally realized why the first time was probably a disaster. When I convinced my mom to try teaching me to knit the way “regular” people did it, she was game. I learned the knit stitch and started practicing making a navy blue scarf. Alas, the practice was short-lived when I soon after got a kitten. With Calvin jumping at the yarn at every opportunity I just couldn’t keep the knitting up. It was just too tempting for our rambunctious, curious cat.
Finally, this year I reached out and joined a knitting class. I figured taking five classes over five weeks in Level 1 was the perfect solution to learning how to knit – once and for all. I learned so much even on the first night – the first thing being that I had to disregard everything I had learned about knitting to date! Right away I found out that there are actually two methods to knitting – the British and the Continental. You guessed it – Mom had had semi-taught me the one way, and I was about to take the course in the other.
Learning to knit using the Continental method seemed to be a bit trickier at first than learning to knit British. The constant refrain of, “I just can’t seem to get the tension right” was rampant throughout the class. Although they say that knitting is relaxing, I realized that I was handling my needles with a Vulcan death grip. Soon, however, I began to realize and appreciate the fact that this method was probably going to be easier – and faster – than the other way because I didn’t ever have to take my hands off of the needles. Over those first few classes I learned casting on, the knit stitch, the purl stitch, combining the stitches, and casting off on the same dark green yarn and needles that Patricia – our instructor – had provided us with on day one.
Could it be that I was becoming a knitting geek? (There could be terms for this but I’m such a knit newbie that I don’t even know them yet.) Each class got more exciting than the last when I realized what I could do and how relatively simple it was. Some students dropped away after the first couple of classes, but I was excited to attend each week. I never missed a class.
It turned out that I was the only Level 1 student feeling comfortable enough to go on to Level 2. As the youngest person by far in the class I suppose I was a bit of a knitting maverick, boldly going where no previous knitter had gone before. (OK, enough of the Star Trek references – I really am a geek!) Actually my motivation for going on was as much about my need for perfectionism as my need to learn more – I couldn’t stand not knowing how to fix my mistakes, and I knew I would learn that in the second level. (Yes, even a simple knitting class has a ‘hook’!)
I started Level 2 with my green yarn in tow. I was getting pretty sick of it by this time, but I was too cheap to buy anything else until I had an interesting project in mind. The first night we learned increasing and decreasing which turned out to be much more simple than I had imagined. The second night we learned how to seam two knit things (our homework!) together in two different ways. The invisible seaming method Patricia taught us was easy and practically downright magical! (Who knew knitting was so exciting? I mourned for those Level 1’ers who didn’t know what they were missing!)
This brings me to the present day, looking forward to Week 3 of Level 2. I still haven’t learned how to fix my mistakes, so I still haven’t started that interesting project yet. But when I do, look out! They say knitting can be addictive and I’m wondering if I might be a candidate for that. I have realized that knitting is both hard and easy at the same time. Hard in that you have to stick with it – it does take some time to learn the basics. But it’s easy in that there are so many ‘Wowee!’ moments when you realize the endless possibilities of what you can make. It’s all quite exciting. I think it might ‘take’ this time but I’ll let you know how it all knits out.