Monday, August 21, 2006

I blame Mason-Dixon

I have a rudimentary knitting library. I have the books I bought while trying to learn to knit. They weren't much help then, but I love them now. I have the first two Barbara Walker stitch dictionaries. Vogue Knitting, of course, which my sister swears by but of which I am less enamored. The Sallie Melville Knitting Experience Series, all three. The books I bought at Stitches Midwest.

The book getting the most use, however, is Mason-Dixon Knitting: The Curious Knitters Guide. I read it all the way through in one sitting. I started
lurking. Once the Knit-Along started, I lurked there, too.

I followed a pattern correctly for the first time when I attempted the Ball-band Warshrag. Admittedly, deciphering "slip stitch purlwise" involved several minutes of frowning bewilderment before the light bulb went on. And I felt so sorry for the cotton I used for my first one. It was frogged so many times it's a wonder there was any cotton left to knit with. My muttered imprecations and exasperated queries of "Whatever made me think I wanted to knit?" were all forgotten when I finished it. Let me repeat that: I finished it. Okay, it wasn't a pair of socks, or a scarf, or even a hat, but it was a finished and functional object. I have two more on the needles right now.

I found that, having made ball-bands with Lily's Sugar 'n Cream and
Elmore-Pisgah's Peaches 'n Creme, I much prefer the latter. Even if they don't make a blue-yellow-white ombre. In fact, when I found an online source for 23 of the colors, I joined the knit-a-long and posted to a blog for the first time.

To me, warshrags naturally led to hand towels. And having achieved success with cotton, I figured I could knit with anything. So I graduated to the moss-grid hand towels and linen. I was good. I swatched and got gauge - stitch and row. I was off to the races. Three days later I was still at the starting line. Okay, maybe ten feet out. The first few repeats went so smoothly, I was sure it was competence that was growing. Turns out it was hubris. I frogged enough to populate a swamp. I finished, though. See?

Then, I did what Kay and Ann told me to do. I went to my few knitting books and found stitch patterns to make my own towel.

I turned four pages of notes, numbers and attempts at graphing into this:

I even remembered to reverse the pattern so that my trees would be right-side up no matter which end I hung the towel from.

I taught my 19 year old daughter to knit at the 4th of July picnic with a ball-band warshrag.

When the principal and case manager at my disabled son's special ed. high school retired at the end of the year, he wanted to give them ball bands for their going-away gifts. I think he felt he was giving them rainbows.

My youngest, so far, remains unmoved. Although he tells me: "I'm happy you found something you like to do so much and that's fun for you."

With that in mind, perhaps I need to so some Scribbling. (It's on page 114).


AmyArtisan said...

Welcome to knit blog land from another Chicago knit blogger! :) Saw your post on the MDK-along. All of your MDK works are lovely! I too learned to knit from my Grandma & I'm so thankful for it.

Kathy in DC said...

This was so much fun to read, almost like the MDK site itself. Thank you for sharing so much, and reading your start/intro to knitting is like reading my own thoughts. DD & I both started about the same time, and it, too, was a little rough at first for us both, but we are getting better. Love your towels, they are be-u-tee-ful.

Terri D. said...

Welcome to the blogosphere. What a lovely and evocative post on the MDK thing! Knit on.

Robin said...

I totally understand where you are coming from. My life is completely different 'post Kay and Ann'!

Your blog is wonderful - I enjoyed reading it!

bradyphrenia said...

it is a really inspirational book, isn't it? it's quickly becoming the most-loved book in my collection. i really like your handtowels.

Tokyo Knitter said...

I love your towels. Beautiful work!

diane h said...

I haven't seen any of those warshrags - when did you make them? I guess we should have coffee.