So. For the past 5 years, there has been a pretty little basket sitting in my various living rooms. This basket has no purpose other than to be decorative. It sits quietly, holding six skeins of luxurious pale honey yarn and a pair of pink opalescent knitting needles (size/gauge 8).
Yes — I have a basket of yarn/needles in my house purely for decoration. I didn’t mean for it to be this way. You see, five years ago, I decided that I wanted to learn to knit. I had the grand scheme of making an opulent throw, fashioned from my two capable hands. With this in mind, I went to my grandmother, a woman who can knit, and received one hour’s worth of instruction. I learned how to cast on 20 stitches, and knit 20 stitches. I produced four smug little rows.
That was the end of my night o’ knitting.
It is not that I gave up — no. I am not a quitter. I had EVERY intention of picking up those needles and clicking away with them, knitting up a storm. As I curled up in front of my HGTV, visions of scarves, chic little beanies, baby booties, and warm sweaters danced in my head. That dancing was about all the activity knitting had in my life. It seemed there was always something else to do, especially when I lived in the dorm. Then, as fate would have it, I got married and, at that point, lost my time to even daydream about knitting.
The needles, with my four rows of squirelly knitting clinging to them, have remained stuck in the one skein of yarn that I opened. I have kept my curious dogs out of the basket, although one night, when Jack was a puppy, those four rows only barely escaped a massacre by doggy drool. To complete the transformation from utility to decoration, I even artfully placed sage colored sprigs of ivy around the skeins (the affect was really quite fetching).
This week, we have begun the process of packing all of our worldly possessions in anticipation of our move. Earlier today, as I looked at my living room contemplating which items I should pack first, my eyes spotted that quaint little basket, now attractively collecting dust among the yarn and ivy. At once, I felt guilt creep across my face. I really should do something with all of that yarn, I thought. Picking up the needles and my handiwork, I noticed the nickel-plated ends of the needles had a bit of rust taking hold. Of course, five years of inactivity will make anyone or anything rusty. Which is just what my knitting skills were — rusty!
I tried to remember how to make the stitches: slide my right needle under my left needle, pick up the little loop of yarn, wrap some yarn around the right one — is it front to back or back to front? My efforts resulted in two questionable rows added to the original four. Somehow, none of them looked right.
Determined, I went to my trusty resource when it comes to research — the internet. For several minutes, I searched for knitting instructions, pictures, videos, anything that would help me unravel my mess and weave a masterpiece. Ah Ha! Here it is — how to cast, how to knit, how to purl . . . everything I needed to know right before my eyes.
If anything, throughout this day, I have learned that teaching oneself to knit using internet instructions is NOT the best method!!! Pictures are confusing, directions unclear, and the “demonstrations” fail to help clear everything up. I eventually became comfortable with the knit stitch, but the purl stitch was killing me! Everytime I tried to do it, I would end up increasing my number of stitches!!!
After four hours of knitting, purling, and unraveling screwed up work, I finally discovered my mistake and complete one pretty little row of purl stitches. Feeling so proud, I decided try alternating rows of knit and purl stitches. It was a piece of cake. Emboldened, I saw picture of Miss Marple, Agatha Christie’s knitting detective, sitting in front of a fire, quietly murmuring “Knit 2, Purl 1, Knit 2, Purl 1.” Well, if Miss Marple can combine stitches then so can Mrs. Rachel Lacy!
Yeah. . . I can’t do it. My attempt to complete Miss Marple’s stitches was a disaster. It became such a mess that I had to look up how to “bind/cast off” just so I could get the monstrosity off of my needles. Eight hours of hard and confused work and it all looked like crap. Yes — crap! My creation has no symmetry, no pattern, no sense. It does, however, have a little tail. I’m still not sure how that happened!
But, since I am NOT a quitter, I’ll be picking my needles back up tomorrow, determined more than ever to become a master knitter instead of the master yarn decorator.