I dedicate this blog to the memory of my grandmother.
August 29, 1921 - April 30, 2015
You are not forgotten.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Introduction

Hey - another blog for me to start and abandon. But I've stuck with the knitting (so far so good, knock wood), so maybe I'll actually stick with the blog, too. Wish me luck!

As I write this I just completed a hat for my daughter and a hat for a friend's son. I'm currently in the middle of two scarves (one for my daughter, the other a surprise so I'm not going to say much more here). And I have a bit-off-way-more-than-I-can-chew-rookie-mistake project from last September (cue embarrassment) that I'm always going to get to tomorrow but I never do.
rainbow scarf
Beginning of "Rainbow Scarf" for Alyx

A little about me as a craftsperson:



My grandmother was a hardcore knitter. Come hell or high water (literally, probably, when Hurricane Agnes hit Lancaster in 1972-- wait, no, if I remember the story, she and my grandfather were out of town-- but I digress), she had a knitting bag at her side and needles in her hands. She taught me to knit when I was probably about seven or eight. I learned to do a knit stitch, but that was about it. I never got to casting on, and I remember having trouble starting new rows. There is still a white garter-stitch doll blanket probably floating around my parents' house somewhere, with eight or ten neatly stitched rows at the bottom where Grandmother started me out, followed by a half-hearted foot or so of loose, uneven mess, dropped stitches liberally scattered throughout. Probably still has the needles in it.

About a year ago, in August of 2014, I got tired of my husband nagging me to get a hobby of my own (I used to be an avid gamer, a hobbyist programmer, and online roleplayer, but that was all before kids). So, pretty much on a whim, I decided to take up knitting again.

I live in Los Angeles now, but my husband and I are originally from Pennsylvania, and aside from a nephew in Pasadena, my closest family is approximately twenty-six hundred miles away. So while I would agree that knitting is a skill best taught hands-on learning from a more skilled person, apprentice-style, I didn't really have that option. Yes, I know local craft or yarn stores probably have knitting classes, but, I have three kids and work full time-- ain't nobody got time for that. So it was going to be the self-taught route or nothing.

The first book I bought off Amazon (I buy everything off Amazon) proudly boasted it contained "everything you need to get started knitting!" I was really excited, and so was my daughter, Alyx (she's four). So imagine my disappointment when it actually arrived and I found it came with two pairs of needles, two pairs of needle caps, several stitch holders (for cable stitching), and a perplexing plastic gauging tool that I'm still not entirely sure what it does, but I hold onto it just in case I ever figure it out. Anyway, what it was missing, critically, was yarn. "Everything you need to get started knitting," indeed! I briefly considered just running out to a yarn store and buying some, but there is no "just running out" anywhere with three small children in carseats, two in diapers. Back to Amazon. This time I ordered a Klutz kit, which I knew really would come with everything I needed to sit down and do whatever the instructions directed. That's Klutz's thing, self-contained hobby fun. And sure enough, it came with (another) pair of needles, a yarn needle, and three skeins of a not-particularly-great-but-serviceable purple acrylic worsted-weight yarn

I picked up casting on quickly, and found the one-handed method much easier than tying each stitch on two-handed. My hands remembered knit stitch, and then I was into new territory again-- purling. Would you believe it took me three days to figure out how to purl? After consulting both books repeatedly and just ending up with more garter rows of knit stitches, I threw up my hands and went to YouTube.

YouTube, as it turns out, is the solo self-taught knitter's best friend. It's not an older, wiser, more experienced knitter right beside you, but it's the next best thing. It took thirty seconds of watching the video before I figured out, "Oh, hey, you have to put the needle in from the top! --no wonder it wasn't working!" I went back to the books to see why they omitted this small but critical detail only to find that both of them did indeed instruct you to slide the needle in from the top. Sigh. Easy to see when you know what you're looking for, I suppose.

So here I am, almost a year later, still knitting. My completed projects, so far, are:
Two scarves
The scarf I made my dad for his birthday

One adult hat (mine!)
Yes, this is me.

Three baby hats
Three child hats
This one was for my (then) two-year-old nephew, Nathan


Anyway, as I put on my Ravelry profile, knitting is how I remember my grandmother, Audrey Elaine Chertcoff Brodsky (August 29, 1921 - April 30, 2015). I was fortunate enough to complete a scarf for her in time to send her as a Christmas present; my mother tells me that she loved it and wore it often; I can't think of a higher compliment.