Wednesday, November 26, 2014

An Adventure in Structured Knitting

I had to wonder if I’d made a bad decision.  We were only five minutes in and I was already thinking, “crap; this is going be one of those types of things.”  Whatever those is; does anyone ever know when they say that?  I’m not sure I knew, but it is what I was thinking.

This month, I started a new knitting class.  Actually, it’s my first ever knitting class.  The yarn and fabric store next to the office that I mentioned the other day offers knitting, quilting and other sewing classes.  Mommy’s gone to a few quilting ones and enjoyed them, so I thought I’d give a knitting one a try.

This class isn’t an entry-level class, but it’s still simple enough to be a good beginner’s program.  The idea is that each month we’ll learn a new knitting technique by using that technique in a single square, and at the end of a year we’ll put all the different squares together into a blanket.  We’re using a book called Building Blocks by Michelle Hunter. 

And we are following the book.  Rules.  Rules and me, we have a special relationship, one of those ones where you’re so close you know what the other means despite what they say.  The Rules say, “do this.”  And I say, “ok.”  And I know what the rules really mean is, “do something kinda like this that gets you a similar, better or good enough result.”  And the Rules know I mean, “I sort of will, but I’m totally going to experiment.”  And we’re all good.   Except other people, they don’t really get mine and Rules’ close special relationship.

The way this class started, I thought Rules and I were going to be beefing.  Everyone began casting on their project, except me.  The teacher had taken my yarn away.  No, I wasn’t trying to eat it.  I had bought one of those skeins were it’s not all put in a nice center-pull ballish shaped thing.  She said I couldn’t use it like that.  I usually do, until it gets super knotted and I pause to wind the rest of it into a ball.  So she took it away and had the store lady wind it into a cylinder on a machine.  Pout.

Once I had my yarn, I was ready start.  Cast-on here I come!  Except, the book said we had to do a long-tail cast-on.  Long-tail is the first cast-on I learned, and my least favorite.  Bigger pout.  I dislike it for a number of reasons, it’s hard to judge how much of a tail you’ll need so you can wind up having to start over multiple times or waste a lot of yarn with a big tail left over, my cast-on stitches tend to come out too tight and uneven, and I always forget how to do it.  But, the teacher said we were using this method for a reason and I was here to improve the knitting skills in my arsenal, so I peered over my neighbor’s shoulder and started casting on with a long tail.  It’s uneven. *shrug* Maybe next time will be better.

This particular square is a tweed pattern done completely in knits and purls.  By the time class ended, my square was more than half done.  I was very happy. One thing that worried me when signing up for the class was how much other knitting I’d be able to do.  Would the class project take up all my knitting time?  (I only spend so much time at church, watching football and sitting on public transit.)  Looks like I’ll be able to keep most of that knitting time for other mis-adventures.

The other thing that worried me about the class is what I’d find there.  I’d like to say I didn’t know what to expect, but honestly, it’s more that I had preconceived notions of little old Midwestern ladies with lots of medications and aches to talk about, and I was fearing I’d be right.  I was wrong. Yay!  There were seven of us, all ladies, spanning a good range of ages.  The class is taught by Mrs. Eileen Waldo who’s living the retired woman’s dream, hanging out in a yarn store, teaching classes and offering her fiber expertise to all those who need it.  Sadly, one of the other younger ladies decided she’s really more of a crocheter and won’t be back for this particular class.  She did sell her book to someone in the store, so we’ll at least have a new person.

I’m missing the next two classes because I’ll be out of town for both of them – opposite coasts.  But, I’m excited to rejoin the group in February.  …Unless I go on that Mission trip.  Then I’ll be back in March. … Unless that’s the weekend I’m supposed to be in Sacramento.  …Well, April, at the very least April.

knitting square day 1My square at the end of the first class.

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