Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Long long ago in a mental place far far away

My introduction to the yarn arts started like most. I was young, back in my single digit days. My mom is incredibly gifted, her hand writing is exquisite calligraphy, she's eloquent, creative, has a green thumb, and can do needlepoint and crochet. Granted she didn't get to do that sort of stuff often as she was also an ER nurse who worked full time and raised 5 kids (my dad was an insurance salesman and helped out at the family farm so weeks would go by of single parenting). At one point, I don't know what motivated her as the memory is dim, she got out hooks, yarn, and showed us how to crochet. I could make a chain like nobody's business, but my brothers were actually creative and could produce things. After we knew the basics she got out patterns and let us choose something to do.

I was apparently an ambitious child and I have zero concept of time and difficulty vs skill level. What I remember of the pattern was that it was brightly pastel and chain link. I managed to find a picture similar to what it was, but imagine this in smaller link and looking like a death trap for infant fingers:

My mother was nothing if not supportive, but she was smart and only got me one skein of the multicolored pastel yarn I coveted with all of my young girl heart. Needless to say, I sucked at execution. I was WAY too tight and had zero concept of tension, so 3 into the plethora of links and I was done. I'm pretty sure my brothers produced actual things that have faded into the ether of time. I dinked around with cross stitching (my older brother was way better and my mom still has a super cute little pillow of a cross stitched Garfield on a hang glider), I latch hooked (I'm pretty sure I never actually finished one), and so on. 

I was good at quilting, not the multiple patch sew up kind, the kind that are two lengths of fleece with batting in between. Mom and I (and my grammy when she visited) would set up the quilting frame, put on a good movie and pass the needle in and out for an hour or two, leaving pressure point painful spots on our fingers to make something warm for the people we love. It's tradition and a good one :)

My next foray wouldn't come again until my early 20s. I suddenly decided that I needed a hobby and I couldn't crochet so I was going to learn to knit! I also was enboldend by the fact that nobody in my family did it except for my Grammy who mearly dabbled. I would be the first and in my family that was pretty cool. Off to the craft store and ambitiously buy about 4 skeins of Lion's Brand homespun and Idiot's Guide to Knitting. 

I managed a basic back loop cast on and then things went rapidly downhill. I did the first row and hit a wall. I had no idea how to get to the 2nd row. For some reason reading the book and even consulting with a friend of mine who knew how to knit could not make the concept of "you just switch hands" sink in. I pray I'm not the only one who was so thick they couldn't get it through their head. Needles and yarn were tossed down in disgust, there to languish until I decided I could do it again.

Fast forward to a now 29  y.o. mom who's hubby is about to deploy for 6 months to Okinawa. Well criminy. I think to myself  "Egads, how am I ever going to keep myself busy. Surely my 10 month old won't take ALL my time." Obviously I was new to this whole business of having a mobile child. Still, I moved forward, determined, internet at the ready. Initially DH tried to teach me. He had learned from his Grandmother who was a knitter of legendary proportions. The lesson lasted maybe 15 minutes and ended in yelling and fuming with desperate need for space. I finally got on youtube and found a video that made knitting and purling make sense. I dabbled off and on for the next year and it wasn't until the last 6 months where I was determined to start actually DO something and that's when it all clicked. 

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