Wednesday, November 30, 2005

knitwhit


Alright. So I'm a gimp. And I'm a gimp that knits.

What does knitting have to do with being an amputee??
Ummmm....
Nothing.
I guess if I was missing an arm and knitting with my feet it would have everything to do with being an amputee. I guess the only relation between my knitting and missing a leg is that I am often sitting on my ass. Finding something to do with idle hands often seems important.

Here's my knitting story. Selfishly published. Because I'm not about to start a separate knitting blog.
So get over it.
Or skip it.





HOW I STARTED:
When I was seven years old, I taught myself to knit from a little book. I remember making "egg cozies" (litte sweaters for soft boiled eggs) for my grandparents. When I was ten or so, I joined an after-school knitting class and made a babydoll sweater. It was a something like a varsity sweater, and it was Charlie Brown Yellow with a couple white stripes. I remember being instructed through armhole decreases and seaming, but I must have gotten more than just a little help because I didn't retain any of that information.

I didn't pick up the needles again until my mid-20's. I was often stuck in meetings that had the air conditioner set to "ice-box", so I decided to kill two birds with one stone and knit a BigFatScarf for myself. I made friends with another trapped and frigid attendee, I taught her to knit, and we'd sit there knitting and looking like freaks. This was in the early 90's, near the close of The Dark Ages of Knitting. I bought the yarn for the BigFatScarf at a Payless Drugstore. It was a variegated acrylic. I wished I'd known there was probably good wool available by mail order. There was no one to tell me. All the seasoned knitters were hiding out at home with their imported yarn.

So anyway....after my BigFatScarf, I got bold and decided to attempt my first garment. A very simple, but boxy looking, tank top. And I was going to try to find some nice yarn for it. I discovered that there was a yarn manufacturer that also had a store front. Most of the yarn was in bulk on cones. I felt like I was a foreigner in some strange land and I definitley did not speak the language. I fumbled my way through picking out probably the ugliest mauve colored ribbon I've ever seen.

Back at home with my needles, I failed. I couldn't make sense of the Family Circle sweater pattern and figuring out how to get gauge was something completely beyond my understanding (reflecting back, I think I tried doing a swatch in stockinette, but the sweater was in a different stitch pattern). I didn't know that knitting is mostly basic algebra. There wasn't anyone to ask for help. No classes. No knitting groups. No internet resources. It didn't take me more than a few inches into the project to know that this thing was going to end up being huge. I was also pretty sure I didn't have enough yarn, but I couldn't tell because the cone offered no yardage information, and I had only guessed it would be enough. So I stuffed the puke-peptobismal-mauve tank-top in a bag and never knit another stitch. At some point I must have unravelled it because I found the yarn last year and, believe it or not (if you knit, you believe it), it still sits in my current stash.





WHAT MADE ME PICK UP THE NEEDLES AGAIN:
Enter Fall 2004. Several of my various doctors are telling me to take up a small task I can do with my hands. My right arm was severely injured in the same car accident that claimed my leg, and the arm isn't fully functioning. So I decide that for physical therapy, I'll pick up some needles and yarn. And I began to knit. And I knit and knit and knit. I make a lot of stuff in a little over a year, most of which is knit in the waiting room of doctor's offices, which is a very frequent occurance. Sometimes up to thirteen appointments a week. Really. Believe it.

I pick up some knitting books, I learn how to do some shaping, and I graduate from scarves. I learn how to use double pointed needles, make a few neat things by just winging it without a pattern, I accomplish sock making, and I start my first sweater (it's almost done...I'm seaming it right now).

I go to a local Stitch-N-Bitch when I can (which sadly isn't often, as it collides with dance rehearsals), and I regularly attend a weekly workshop at my favorite Local Yarn Store (LYS), Skein Lane. I love this class. We can bring along whatever we are working on, knit and chat, share ideas, successes and failures, and if we get stuck on our projects, there is a teacher there to help.



WHAT I'VE MADE SO FAR:
* Pink Long-n-Fuzzy-n-Skinny Scarf
* Boy Scarf
, for TheMIG
* The Kitty Hat (from Stitch-n-Bitch), and that's me in it, above
* Picot Gauntlets/Fingerless Gloves from the first issue of Knit1
* Two Snake Scarves ("HissyFit" was for MyFavoriteKid, he picked the green yarn and yellow eyes himself...and "Acidophilous" is mine); I made up the pattern, see pic
* The Frothy Red Scarf that I sold to Laura the bartender who admired it while I was knitting and sipping
* Socks...a pair for me, and a pair for TheMIG
* Two intarsia hats, samples I knit on comission for a company that sells felted hat kits
* Two Stuffed Toys for TheMIG (Stripe & Yellow--characters from one of his favorite books as a kid)...my own design
* Two Ice Cream Pint Cozies for my dancer friend M. Because if one should desire to eat a pint of Ben & Jerry's, one should not have to wrap a towel around the container *smile*
* The Little Noro Purse (lined, thanks to a class with Lorna Miser of Lorna's Laces) given to K's for her b-day
* Coffee Cup Holder for TheMIG (so his hand doesnt get hot; like the cardboard sleeves, only better), my own design.
* Bath Mit, another gif for TheMIG, my own design...inspired by, but nothing like, bonbon.
* Kitty Tortellini (cat toy for Tad)...It was supposed to be a wonton, but I dunno. Whatever.
* Shape It Scarf (from Sally Melville's book) knit in recycled silk for a very spirted woman's 90th birthday.
* The Silver Keyhole Scarf, winging it again, but c'mon, it's only a scarf
* The Rockstar Scarf (from Knitty), here

IN PROGRESS:
* Under The Hoodie, from Stitch-n-Bitch (my first sweater--all of the knitting is done, I'm seaming the sleeves as we speak! As I type! Whatever!)
* The Gothic Baby Sweater, aka Elizabeth Zimmerman's Baby Surprise Jacket (also just needs to be seamed, and I need to finish making the custom shrinky dink buttons with funny skull cartoons on them)

CURRENTLY ON THE NEEDLES (I actually cant believe I only have one thing on the needles! Wierd):
* Mom's Sherbert Colored Socks (on the 2nd sock, top down & past the instep). It's taking me forever to get these done because I can't stand looking at the colors. Sorry, mom.

NEXT IN QUEUE (and I've got the stash):
* The FishBone Hat for MyFK, from the Mission Falls book "Just Kidding"
* Some kind of fingerless gloves or gauntlets made out of the same Koigu to match the Rockstar Scarf

NEXT COVETED PROJECT:
* Jessica, seen here (I have some left over yarn from Under The Hoodie, but need more--shopping. Darn.)
* Latifa, seen here (I have the Koigu in a gorgeous in a blend of peacock purples, blues and greens...but I need yarn for the body of the scarf)

UFO's (unfinished objects):
* The Inca Hat (Mission Falls, "Just Kidding"): it's done, but it's not as cute as it could be because it's just a tad bit too big. I need to decide what to do about it. I'd love to full it, but I can't--it's super wash. My idea was to sew in a casing for elastic. My knitting teacher's idea is that I should unseam it, steek it, cut an inch or two off and reseam it. Yeah right. Steeking. That'll be the day. I have a feeling I'm going to rip it out and re-do it. But I'm open to suggestions.

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Now you know alllllllllll about my knitting.
Probably wayyyyyyyyyyyy more than ya' needed.
But now I feel like I can plop in a brief knitting update and feel like there's a background (why having a background established is so crucial to me is something I should reflect on, because really. Who cares. Hmmm.) I don't have a digital camera, so knitting posts wont be all that interesting, I'm sure. But TheMIG has one and I'll try to have him snap a few every once in awhile.

Happy Knitting and Gimping

2 comments:

jodi said...

How come you never write about your dancing?

Also: you look better in the kitty hat than I do. What gives?

mnvnjnsn said...

I would *love* to buy some home-made cat toys from you. In fact, your MIG owes his cats in my possession some loving, so maybe you can charge him for your hard work.

If not, let me know and I'll send you the cash. Tad's brother Newman just loves to tear apart knit thingies.