Nothing Ventured, Nothing Screwed Up

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I like trying new things. Possessed of an adventurous spirit, I never know when to leave well enough alone. Not content to suck only at sewing and quilting, I’ve been sallying forth into knitting.

Or least, trying to.

A few weeks ago, I bought this ridiculous little “I Taught Myself How to Knit” kit. It included some small, metal needles and a small, small, small, small “instruction manual.” The diagrams, to me, looked like alien hands full of spaghetti. I couldn’t make heads or tails of any of it, including casting on – the first step. My casts either turned into knots or vanished into thin air. BAH!

A week later, I took the yarn and needles into work and asked Ani to show me. She did. I still didn’t get it. I gave up.

The urge to keep trying was still there, though, and after having seen so many very cool knitting blogs during giveaway week, I’m giving it another go. I figured perhaps going to a local yarn shop might help, rather than blindly flinging myself at the internet. My friend, Kirby, has a complete fascination with yarn. He doesn’t knit, mind you – he just loves and collects yarn. It makes him happy, which makes me happy. He recommended Threadbear, a local fiber art studio. WOW, what a neat place!

Unlike my experience with the nearest quilt shop, the woman at Threadbear was more than happy to help show me what I needed, explain a few rudimentary concepts and tell me all about their newsletters, classes and so forth. For instance, I had no idea one couldn’t simply take a wad of yard off the rack and begin knitting from it; one needs to wind it into a ball of some form. Good to know!

How lucky to have such a place nearby. They even have free gatherings, like movie nights, knitting for guys, knit ER and a class I’ll probably be taking, called “Never Touched a Needle.” Racks and stacks and shelves of gorgeous yarn, use of their ball winder (which fascinated me,) all manner of supplies… oh, neato.

After the proprietor showed me how to use the ball winder, I set about it and starting taking pictures. The women quietly knitting socks to my left gave me very curious looks as I was taking photos of the ball winder, especially while I was trying to wind the yarn and photograph the process at the same time. I pretended not to notice.

Ball Winder

Ball Winder

Loaded Skein

Loaded Skein

Tensioner

Tensioner

Winding

Winding - hard to hold the camera still whilst cranking!

Spinning Skein

Spinning Skein

They also have a charming collection of buttons. These are only a few racks:

Big Buttons

Big Buttons

Fun Buttons

Fun Buttons

Warm Buttons

Warm Buttons

Cool Buttons

Cool Buttons

They had a small selection of roving, but not in any colors I wanted for soap felting. I gathered up my three newly-wound balls of yarn, my new needles, and headed home… pausing briefly at Joann’s for some pearl cotton to finish off Mom’s quilt. Here are the colors I chose in “fully worsted wool,” along with the 10.5 x 10″ birch needles.

Yay for cool colors!

Yay for cool colors!

I hit the internets again, wildly hoping to find A Site That Could Open Mine Eyes. Lo and behold, I have found it.

Stitch Diva Studio’s wonderful tutorial page actually explained things clearly enough to wrap my mutton head around. After reading through it several times, aloud, as I bumbled yarn around my big needles, suddenly, something clicked. Perhaps it was because these are photos of actual human hands, not crazy, alien drawings. Perhaps they just got the verbiage simple enough for me. At any rate, I was casting on within about a half hour. I cast on waaaayyy too many stitches and had to remove some. Then, I tackled the knit stitch, and discovered I still probably have too many stitches on, but this first whatever is probably going to get unwound, anyhow.

But look! I’m kind of knitting!

Baby Steps

Baby Steps

I have no earthly ideas how to regulate my stitch size or tightness at this point, but heck, I’m just happy to have stuff that’s staying woven together. It’s possible, even likely, that what I’m doing here is not knitting, but something else altogether. Still, a weirdly-spaced, bumpy product is slowly emerging. Yay!

Given my left hand’s inability to clutch anything tightly, I’m having to improvise the process – resting the bottom of the left needle on my thigh, holding the yarn quite differently from the photos, and so forth. It’s all still a bit clumsy, but I’m getting there. After I get a dishcloth or some such out of this, I’ll figure out “binding off” and the purl stitch.

Wish me luck…

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9 responses to Nothing Ventured, Nothing Screwed Up


  1. Way to go with the knitting. I am a beginner as well. I had a practice piece that is lumpy and has scattered holes but I am leaning. I went and had a lesson with a friend and I started a scarf. Not to bad it is only 18 stitches wide but I like how quickly it is coming along.
    I love your knitting needles. Where sis you get those?
    I love all the great pics in your post.

  2. Elle Clark

    I bought that useless kit also! Frustrating! I LOVE threadbear! I have never been introduced to the yarn ball winder! I just wind myself! Most of the time it works minus my last tangled mess that took a while to fix! I am really impressed! I would love to take a very basic knitting class! Being per deim it is hard to plan any classes! One of these days will learn and also how to machine sew! Keep up the good work.

  3. For knitting help, I often go to TechKnitting or for videos to Knitting Help. But the best for me is usually to have a person show me.

  4. Erin

    Those are great, thanks very much!

  5. Erin

    Nikki – Good luck getting started. 🙂 It’s certainly a learning process, for sure. The needles are from Brittany, which I picked up at the local “fiber arts studio.” I bet you can find them online, tho.

    Elle, you should ask them to show you how to use it – it’s so easy and it makes nice tidy little balls. With your per diem status, I bet it really is hard to make plans, boo.

  6. Sandi

    Good for you for learning (another) new skill. I’m a beginning knitter also, and have found all the online videos very helpful. I’m sure you’ll find your way to Ravelry before long, if you haven’t already, and will find lots of friendly advice there, too.

  7. I’m completely content to suck at only sewing and quilting. 😀

    I tried knitting once by watching a video online. I quit when my husband could do it better than me. 😀

  8. Erin

    Sandi – I haven’t seen Ravelry yet; thanks!

    Julie – I suspect Mike Neir would far outclass me on all this stuff, were he inclined to try. I’m not going to ask! 😀

  9. Pingback: Confounded By Quilting » Blog Archive » Banned from the Swift

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