It has long been my dream to be a knitter. Not just to knit, but to be someone who jauntily whips out a sweater with ease, who is learned in the ways of lace, who is not scared of patterns that require slipped stitches and yarn overs (yarns over?). A long time ago I knitted two scarves, and that was as far as I ventured into the dark and murky waters of yarn manipulation.
Fast forward to autumn 2017: I decided, moved by I know not what impulse, to resume knitting. I made a scarf, about which I have already posted. It was an important step in several ways: not only did it get me back in the swing of knitting, but I tried several things I had never done before: I made my own pattern, I used three different colors of yarn, and I learned how to join yarn. The success of the (rather itchy) scarf gave me the confidence I needed to move on to bigger and better things: baby blankets.
Since my mom is the person who taught me how to knit and is my main knitting resource, I talked to her about my renewed interest in the craft. She lent me a book of baby blanket patterns, and I decided the first one looked easy enough that I dared brave an attempt at it. The next step was finding the right yarn: I wanted a pastel material that was soft enough for a baby’s delicate skin. I had something of a bias against acrylic when I set out and had cotton in mind, but the yarn I ended up with was indeed acrylic, not only soft, but machine washable to boot! An important consideration for any textile that is going to be used primarily by or for babies.
Pattern: chosen. Yarn: found. Now, to begin the actual knitting. I cast on. I counted and recounted the stitches. And I tried. And attempted. And tried again. Over and over, I had to pull the yarn out. I can tell you, it is very demoralizing to tear out hundreds of stitches, redo them, and have to tear them out again. But I was learning.
Not only my brain, but my hands were in training. My knitting is generally very even, but I have an unfortunate tendency to knit too tightly, and my actual technique left something to be desired. I was using my pointer finger as leverage against the knitting needle at every stitch, which was rather painful (and Against the Rules).
As time went on and I became more comfortable with the pattern, however, my muscle memory developed and I was able to relax somewhat and begin to shed some of my bad habits. I came out the other side a better, more confident knitter.
The end of the saga: I finished knitting the blanket in time for the baby shower, and it is currently being used by my new niece! I am currently at work on another blanket of the same pattern, for another expected niece (I am VERY excited). Lessons learned: do not give it to fear of yarn. And keep on trying.