The continuing tale of my introduction to knitting . . .
finished set aside the counted cross-stitch cat sampler (see Part 1), I had to find something else to do with my hands. It was the Fall of 2005 and I was working just around the corner from a Michael’s, so I headed over and picked myself out a small, simple-looking panel of a poinsettia. My mom always loved poinsettias at the holidays, and I clearly remember her taking us to the fancy-pants San Francisco florist Podesta Baldocchi at Christmas-time and picking out a few plants. I started working the poinsettia panel hoping I’d be able to send it to her as a holiday gift, and I brought it with me when The Baron took me home to meet his family for the first time that October.
Saying that The Baron’s mom is crafty would be, well, a gargantuan understatement. (This is a close-up of the quilt she made for The Baron.) She is the master. The woman quilts, embroiders, paints and knits in addition to a myriad of other crafty business. The basement of the family home is literally filled with shelves and shelves of fabric and tons of craft supplies. It’s nicer and better-stocked than many of the craft stores I’ve been to. Of course, me being me, I really really wanted her approval. I brought the almost-finished poinsettia with me on the trip and when she and The Baron’s sister-in-law admired it, a trip to a local needlework and yarn store was suggested. The three of us headed off to Needleworks, which is frankly one of the most wonderful yarn stores I’ve ever been to. If you’re ever in the area, it’s worth a stop. They have several rooms full of yarn as well as an section dedicated to spinning and a room for needlepoint. The SIL and I both decided we’d try knitting — she bought yarn and needles, and I bought my first knitting reference, “The Knitter’s Handbook” which I cannot recommend highly enough. We took our booty home and The Baron’s mom showed us how to cast on, knit and purl. I took lots of pictures, and I’m sure she thought I was nuts, but I paid careful attention and followed along in my book.
When I got back to LA, I took another trip to Michael’s for provisions. I got some aluminum Bates needles, size 9, and one ball of grey Lion Brand Homespun. I cast on 25 stitches and started working away on a garter-stitch scarf.
Ahh . . . the homespun garter-stitch scarf. I loved that I was actually knitting. I loved the first few cuddles I had with the yarn. But a grey garter-stitch scarf is not exactly the height of fashion, and I soon got bored, wanting to try new stitch combinations and different patterns. When I’d knitted up a whole ball of the homespun and had a scarf that didn’t seem quite long enough, I headed back to Michael’s. This time I bought a size 9 circular needle, stitch holders and a bunch of Homespun in a bunch of colors. It was on sale, and I was excited about my new hobby. I hurried home from work, got the grey scarf onto a stitch holder (where, as you can see, it still remains . . . hello my first unfinished object!) and cast on about 16 stitches in a light heathery green color for a scarf with 2×2 ribbing. By this point I was really getting the hang of things, and after a few inches of scarf I found a hat pattern online and I whipped out the DPNs and got started. The hat went quickly, and I learned to K2tog, but it got tricky at the top. Somehow I got that hat done, but I don’t think it’s going to win any prizes. Within a week or two I’d finished the scarf and sent the set off to my mom, who still insists she loves it.
Next I tackled fun fur — I picked out a few balls of something fussy at Michael’s and bought some size 11 bamboo needles, and got to work on a fuzzy burgundy scarf for adorable. (This is where the story turns ugly, so watch out people!) As I worked with it, the homespun started to pull apart, sometimes splitting, and generally feeling cheap and plastic-y. Which of course it is. This is how I became a fiber snob — I just didn’t like the polyester feel of the yarn.
Stay tuned for the next installment, when I discover natural fibers and try my first “real” knitting project.