Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Artistic Adventures of an Ardent Amateur: Knitting Excursion - Part 1

A few weeks ago I was hit by a creative urge and needed an outlet. I wanted something simple, relaxing, inexpensive, and productive. I also wanted something I could do while I watch documentaries on PBS (I highly recommend this one, but I advise you to have tissues at hand). My solution? Knitting! Lots of people knit so it can’t be that hard, can it? And you can make all kinds of useful things, like scarves and pillows and purses and hats, right? And there are those groups of people who get together and knit for social gatherings, called Stitch and B-- er, well, you know. So knitting could not only provide me with a creative outlet and cute handmade items, it could also help me make new friends. Perfect!

So, off I set to Hobby Lobby. After a little bit of aimless wandering through model planes and mechanical Santas I found the knitting section. Which is when my visions of happily and easily plucking a little knitting kit off the shelf and making my way home suddenly shattered as I stared in confusion at the aisles and aisles of books, yarn, needles and various other tools I didn’t even know the names of. Well, first things first, I decided to select a book. My pride prevented me from choosing anything with a condescending title, so “Knitting for Dummies,” and “Even You Can Knit!” were eliminated off the bat. Then, of course, I couldn’t choose any of the more advanced books because I needed very basic beginner’s instructions. So no “200 Stitches for the Advanced Knitter” or “Knit Your Own Wedding Gown” for me. Lastly, I outright refused to purchase a book that included projects for knitting clothing for animals on principle; I will not contribute to the humiliation of small dogs – their dignity has suffered enough at the hands of Gucci. This elimination process narrowed my selection down quite a bit. I had my choices slimmed down to two books, when I came upon this artistic transgression in one of them:

I was highly reluctant to support the idea of waist cinchers, especially those of the felted variety – it just seems wrong on so many levels. And when I saw that that book also included this gem of a project,

the deal was sealed – no way was I purchasing this guide to handcrafted atrocities. Ultimately the book I opted for had very simple, basic instructions (such as a section devoted to “How to Choose Your Yarn”), it had detailed explanations of the requirements for all the projects, and it was devoted mostly to practical crafts, such as scarves, sweaters, blankets, and placemats. For my first endeavor I selected the placemats, as they seemed small enough for me to actually complete in a reasonable amount of time, and as they only required one kind of stitch and no fancy tricks: just knit a row, knit another row, knit a row after that, repeat ad nauseum until complete.

Then, using my handy dandy materials list, I entered the supplies aisle, searching for my yarn. This seemingly simple task ended up requiring a nearly herculean effort, as I scoured the aisles in search of solid colored yarn of the proper weight and material. There was a definite dearth of yarn in gauge 4, and none of it was a solid color, and made out of cotton. So I finally opted for a yarn of what I thought was the proper weight, in a solid color, but spun out of a combination of bamboo and something called “Microdenier Acrylic” which is obviously synthetic, but I was pretty much out of options, and I’d spent half an hour wandering up and down the yarn aisles to the point that other crafters and HL employees were starting to look at me funny. So I was willing to settle for this:

Then it was off to find needles. My little book told me I needed size 8 needles. This should be simple, right? I can just grab the needles and I’ll be out of here at last! So I proceeded to the tools: “Ok, size 4, size 5, size 6, size 7, size 9, size 10…wait a minute, 6…7…9…CRAP!” Hobby Lobby was out of size 8 needles. Now, I suppose I could have gone to another store. But it was 7 o’clock on a Saturday, craft stores were closing, and many would not be open on Sunday, and I’d already spent 45 minutes wandering around Hobby Lobby, and I wanted to start my project, darn it! (I’d appreciate it if you would overlook the fact that my big plans for Saturday night were knitting and watching PBS. Thanks.) So I bought the size 7 needles. I mean, how much difference could it make, really?…

Well, it turns out, it makes quite a difference. And my harrowing experience at the craft store was nothing compared to the trials I would face when actually attempting to knit. But if you want to know the details, you’ll have to check back next week for part 2 of my Knitting Adventure.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry! This is way too funny! Knitting drives me cuckoo, so I stick to crocheting! For me, much more fun.