So waaaay back in the spring, I decided that it was time to quit slacking and actually do something about learning to knit. (Which, in case I haven’t said, I decided to take up because (a) I like to have something to do with my hands and (b) because as much as I loved quilting it takes an enormous amount of time, space, and money, none of which I have or want to throw at a craft hobby right now.)
Finding a beginner’s class I could attend was slightly harder than I expected, as chronicled in a previous post. However, by May I was started on my first project. A project I have now (somewhat arbitrarily) finished.
I decided to start with this:
It’s a Double Seed Stitch baby blanket, which I selected for a few unlofty reasons.
- I really like the simplicity of the style and the contrast between the pretty border and the basic interior of the blanket.
- It was all one color so I didn’t have to worry about complicated things like color switching.
- The pattern was simple and easy to follow.
- I thought a baby blanket was a reasonably sized project to fit on basic, non-circular knitting needles and to lug around to gaming group or in the truck.
Happily, I went into this project largely stress free. I assumed that it being my first attempt it would probably suck. But since it was destined for the dogs to snuggle with and they wouldn’t care, really the only thing that mattered was getting comfortable with my stitches and the process.
Since I did that, I am counting the project primarily as a success despite my rather sad-looking end result.
As you can no doubt tell, I stopped knitting this at about half what it’s finished size should have been. I also had a couple points where I clearly lost track of where I was and did a line wrong, hence the weird changes in the stitching where there shouldn’t be any. I also definitely lost a couple stitches somewhere in there because the side edges aren’t entirely even in the middle.
Just knitting that much took me a ridiculously long time (obviously, May to now), but I learned some very valuable and significant lessons.
- I like bamboo needles better than metal needles and I really don’t like plastic knitting needles.
- I need to be more careful with my yarn, as it was fine until near the end of the skein, at which point it became a snarly mess.
- Knitting in the truck tends to make me carsick and I am very bad at remembering to pull my knitting out at other times that I might get to work on it.
- Knitting during gaming group is generally great, except when you’re suddenly trying not to die and you have to remember where you were in your stitching when you pick it back up.
- Kitties love yarn, knitting needles, and my knitting bag. I have nearly come home from gaming group more than once with an accidental stow-away because the cats decided that my bag was a great place to nap.
- I absolutely need a better system for tracking where I am in the pattern.
I knew from my lesson that you should mark where you are somehow so that you aren’t trying to remember every time you pick your work up and put it down. (Not that I would ever have trusted my memory to try that anyway.) I in no way accounted, however, for the sheer number of rows I would need to keep track of or how hard it is to glance at rows of sloppy checkmarks and actually see anything useful. Whoops.
I also decided that (since I’m knitting stupidly slowly anyway and therefore not churning out projects at any significant rate) I want to pay a little more for slightly softer and thicker yarn for the next couple projects. The yarn for this was entirely standard.
It wasn’t bad and I actually think it will feel nicer after the piece has been washed, but I didn’t love it. I find knitting really soothing, though, and I think that it would be more so if I liked the feel of the yarn I was working with better. So that’s something to experiment with.
Thus far, I have also succeeded in keeping all of my planning and plotting for future projects contained to a Pinterest board. Fortunately, my low tolerance for clutter and the setup of our house have gone a long way toward keeping me from developing the obsessive need to hoard yarn which I understand comes with all forms of yarn craft. (We’ll see if that holds as I get faster and better at this.)
I really do like this pattern and I expect that I will return to it (or a variation of it) down the line somewhere. Next time, though, I will use circular needles instead of regular needles because it really was a squish to get it on even my very long bamboo needles and I’d like more wiggle room next time.
For now, I’m pleased with the lessons that I learned and looking forward to trying something new and hopefully doing a better job of it!