Thoughts, ramblings, experiences and joys of an Alaska girl. Home is where the heart is, and my heart is firmly rooted in the Great Land of Alaska.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Knitting Insanity

I'm a crocheter. I say that with pride. I've been crocheting since my grandmother taught me how when I was seven. It was probably the only "girlie" thing I did as a child. While other girls were playing dress-up with the Barbie dolls they'd receive as gifts from their parents and grandparents, I was using them to play catch with my dog in the backyard. I was far more interested in seeing the "war wounds" of missing feet, mangled heads and ripped off arms that were caused by my dog than seeing my Barbies sporting the latest fashion in plastic Malibu Barbie sports vehicles. My Barbies didn't have feet to wear shoes, and after my dog choked on one of the shoes that weren't being worn by my Barbie, my grandmother decided that it was time to teach me to crochet. I think she believed that if she taught me how to make Barbie clothing that I would treat my dolls better and that they wouldn't be used as substitute rawhide chews for my dog. She was wrong. Though I loved to crochet them outfits, I much more prefered crocheting them burial shrouds. After grandma realized that, she started getting me small metal race cars instead. But, I kept my love of crocheting.

Crocheting relaxes me. I love to watch the hook dip in and out, up and down, around and around. I love seeing the finished product of my effort, whether it's a hat, a scarf, an afghan or anything else. I rarely keep the items I make, I usually give them away, or sell them. I love crocheting so much, that I thought I'd try knitting. It looked relaxing too, and the stitches look different from crocheting. I thought it would be a way to share my love of yarn art with the gals at the office who knit and not crochet. After knitting for about two weeks now, I'm ready for therapy!

Knitting drives me batty. I'm in the process of making my first piece, a felted bag. The pattern looked easy enough: Cast on 70 stitches, knit one row, pearl one row, continue for 16 stitches, then change color and knit one row, pearl one row in an alternating color, then return to the *. Repeat till piece reaches about 160 rows. Easy, right? Sure, till I drop a stitch. The perfectionist that I am can't accept a dropped stitch, so I've removed all the stitches from my knitting needles and attempted to unravel the piece then place all the stitches back on the needles. I've done that about three or four times, just enough to drive me nuts and leave me cursing under my breath. When people ask me what I'm making, I tell them I'm making a garbage can liner! They think it's a joke, but they don't know how serious I am. Oh, then I get to listen to the "experienced" knitters tell me that it gets easier with time the more knitting you do. Uhhhhhh, sure. I may just take their word for it.

I had these grandious ideas of knitting afghans, bags, hats, gloves, scarves... I had grandious ideas of gorgeous items that I'd knitted myself keeping me warm this winter. Ahhhh, dreams. Then, yesterday, someone told me about recycling wool sweaters to make felted items. I think it's some kind of cruel joke! If I would have known I could recycle a sweater to make a purse, that I wouldn't have had to go through the patience testing unraveling process I have been, that I could have gone to the thrift store and spent 8 dollars on a used wool sweater instead of 4.99 a skein for yarn, I would have jumped on that in a heartbeat! It's still crafty, it's creative, it's EASY!

My pride and determinination won't let me just toss the item I'm working on in the trash on my way out the door to the thrift store to purchase a wool sweater, so I'll finish the bag I'm working on. It's going to cost me more than I had first anticipated (with the cost of counseling sessions thrown added... so, tell me more about your obsessive/compulsive need to control your environment and your refusal to allow yourself to make mistakes... blah, blah, blah psychobabble), but I think it will be worth it. I'm not saying the bag itself will make it worth it, but I will be able to say that I finished something, whether I ever start another knitting project again. It's also given me much more respect for crocheting and my ability there. Maybe I can't be good at everything, maybe I don't have the patience to be good at everything. Maybe it's my purpose in life to recycle? I do know that I'm probably not going to knit a pair of socks that requires 4 needles to create when I feel like causing bodily damage to "experienced" knitters with the two needles I'm already using when they start in about how addicting knitting is and how relaxing it is. If I had access to four needles, oh, the damage I would do.

Hello, my name is Cristine, and I'm a crocheter.

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