When I was about nine or ten years old, I learned to knit. A lady from our church came over one afternoon, and while I don’t remember if it was the point of the visit or just sort of happened, she taught me the garter stitch with a pair of straight needles and some bright yellow yarn. I worked on my little swatch and got it an inch or two long. That week I took it to school to knit during recess, and even at a track meet, slowly but diligently working my needles.
At some point one of my friends pointed out that my knitting didn’t seem to be getting any bigger. She was right! What could have happened? As it turns out, I had forgotten the crucial “yarn over” part of the stitch, and so all I was doing was passing my little swatch back and forth, back and forth between the needles. Without noticing. For days. So I put the yarn and needles away, and that was that.
Some years later my mom taught me to crochet, which went much better, and I largely forgot about ever wanting or learning to knit. I’ve been crocheting for twenty years, and while I’ve made occasional half-hearted stabs at knitting over the years — just because it seems like something I should be able to do — it never really clicked. I’ve made some lumpy swatches, most of which rapidly increased in width for reasons that were unfathomable to me. Ugh, knitting. Whatever. One hook good, two sticks bad, moving on.
Except here’s the thing. I want to make socks. And crocheted socks? Crocheted socks are awful. If you want to make good socks, socks you’d actually want to wear… well, you have to learn how to knit and that’s all there is to it. And so here I am, starting over once more. Somewhat to my surprise, I’m really enjoying it. I’m definitely making mistakes! There’s a mini-row of garter stitch in my stockinette section from when I spaced out and started knitting instead of purling. And I dropped a stitch and didn’t notice for four rows, then had to figure out how to get it back up where it needed to be. But overall, it’s making sense. How fun is that?
^ This up here is how I’m learning. I signed up for a premium Craftsy membership (PSA: never pay full price; there is almost always a facebook ad running that will give you a year for like $2) and enrolled in Susan B. Anderson’s wee baby beginner course. Now, to be honest, Craftsy is a bit of a hot mess. You can’t save courses as favourites if you’re using the desktop site, you can’t download materials if you’re using the app, your accounts don’t sync across platforms, and their search function leaves a lot to be desired. But this course is fantastic. Susan’s explanations are so clear, and I love that we jump right in and learn the stitches by making projects: first a pair of fingerless mitts, then a chunky cowl, then a striped hat with colour changes.
Am I ready for socks? No, not by a long shot. But you know, I think I’m going to be ready. And if you’ll excuse me, I have some knitting to do.
2 thoughts on “Beginner again”
Christine, we have stories in reverse. I have knit since I was nine and then tried to pick up crocheting as an adult. I made Christmas stockings for my children from the same pattern, using the same yarn, and the third is significantly larger than the first. Sigh. But I do like to crochet slip stich my knit garments together, so all is not lost. Miss you. Nancy
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