Some things in life are done for the pure joy of doing them.
|JOY OF KNITTING
Why is it we think nothing we create is good enough? I guess that is just a natural part of us. I have gotten to the point in my life where I don’t care if it is good enough; it is the joy of doing it that is the accomplishment.
The first joy of my life was writing, which began before my first day of school. My biggest disappointment, that first day of school, was that I had not learned how to read and write. I didn’t want my grandmother to write the words on paper for me, I wanted to write them myself. In time, of course, I learned.
My second joy was knitting. Mother and I took a course together when I was in my early twenties. I seemed to be a natural at it from the beginning, and thousands of projects later I am still at it.
Everything in life is a learning process. Some of us tend to give up, but the greats just keep at it out of pure love. Now great I am not, nor do I pretend to be. So if I were going to write about something I know about, it would have to be knitting. Maybe I can pass on to you a few tricks I have learned over the years.
Don’t worry, I promise not to write 700 pages like the Julia Childs cookbook. Just a quick addition here; I hate to cook. I’m not a terrible cook, but whipping up a batch of cookies can take days for me to get around to. Then I sit at the table tapping my fingers while they are in the oven. I don’t dare pick up my knitting needles, because I will loose all track of time, and the poor things will burn to a crisp.
My latest project has been making Barbie doll knit outfits. I use the smallest set of needles I have (size 4) and baby fine yarn. I remembered making them for my oldest daughter when I bought her, her first Barbie doll. That was forty-three years ago and the patterns have been lost in time. Thank heavens for the web, where I found page after page.
The hardest part was finding the right yarn to use. This is true with any pattern you are making. You can make three different sweaters on the same size needle, with different yarns and they will all come out different. Nothing is worse than spending months making a sweater and have it come out to big or just simply not fitting the way it is suppose to. I have two patterns that I tend to use over and over. A different stitch pattern inserted and I can give it a look all my own. Take a couple stitch patterns and make a swatch, and you will be surprised what you can come up with.
I found a book with nothing but stitch patterns in it. One had a sweater with little stick figures around the yoke and just above the waist ribbing. I thought it might look cute around the skirt of the Barbie doll dress I was making. It came out really great and is one of my favorites.
I think one of the things I hate most, in pattern books, is how they take a simple stitch and make it so complicated to understand, you’re not sure what they are trying to say. Nothing could be simpler than a YO, and you should see some of the descriptions I have come across.
One of my favorite patterns to make is the lacy ones. Some of these can be 26 rows to complete. If you have to repeat it over and over it is easy to get lost when returning a few days later. I have found a trick I use, and can return a year later and know right where to start. Take 26 pieces of paper, write one row on each piece, and then staple together at the corner. Flip each page as a row is completed. At the end of the day, use a paperclip to mark the starting page when you return. Takes out the guesswork and mistakes.
I have finally finished the knit afghan I was making for my youngest daughter. She wanted it all in Black. So I made 5, 60” strips, all in a different pattern with four rows of seed stitch, at top and bottom. I put the fringe across the bottom, not the top. Didn’t want it to tickle her nose. One thing I found out is that when you start getting older, and the eyes aren’t what they use to be, black is a hard color to work with. I found myself working in the daylight only.
Once that was finished, my oldest daughter wanted a new winter sweater. I had a new pattern book and she found the sweater she wanted in it. It was lacy around the bottom with plain stocking knit stitch on top and set-in raglan sleeves in lace. We found a nice brown yarn with flecks in it that she liked. In the sunlight it had a dark green cast to it. Of course I had to get yarn for a sweater I had seen and once again the projects were building up.
Three months later and my knit closet is getting bare and I am going to have to start over. What happened to them you ask? Well let’s see. The cat claimed a small afghan as her own and will let no one near it. My great-granddaughter ran off with the Barbie doll and all the clothes. My granddaughter ransacked my closet for sweaters she liked and one of my favorite sweaters got a hole in the elbow and the stitches all came apart. My neighbor bought the last two I made and all that is left is a button down vest and two pullovers. Guess it is time to hit the yarn shop and start again with the joys of my life.