Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Seeing and Stitching

I took a knitting class today, to learn how to make a felted purse. The class had homework to do beforehand (gotta love the idea of knitting homework) so that we could learn to pick up stitches around what will be the base of the bag, to build up the sides before we toss it in the washing machine to shrink and felt it.

I have until now avoided knitting with very dark yarns, especially black, because it's harder to see what you're doing, especially when you're a new knitter. But because I was taking the class, I figured I would have help to find what I needed to find. And, needless to say, it's helpful to have some black accessories around.

As I was sitting there with my work, I did start to think about the idea of seeing what you are knitting. When I first did yarnwork, in my early crocheting days, I really had no idea what I was looking at. It wasn't until I picked it up again last spring that I found my eyes were more capable of seeing the stitches (a consequence of finally wearing glasses? or maturity? or of having my eyes opened in various metaphorical senses?)

When I started to knit last summer, one of the scariest things was not being able to see and understand the stitches. My first knitting swatch took over an hour, and is about four rows long. I can still feel the sweat and stiffness from hanging onto it so tightly, afraid of what might happen if I made a mistake. I ripped out a lot of my early pieces (and used a lot of craft store yarn) because I was so afraid of getting somewhere I wouldn't be able to get myself out of again.

I learned some new things today, and I'll probably always find it difficult to make new maneuvers with black yarn around the needles, but today I could see, literally, how far I had come.

Nice to have those moments every once in awhile. Metaphorically and otherwise.


At 9:18 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

I have felted a black purse and it wasn't too bad - I have one of those lights that is supposed to be like sunlight (the name escapes me at the moment) - I love felting - I think you will too! I am working on Loop-dee-loo from www.crazyyarnlady.com - she has some great patterns for purses!

Good luck - can't wait to see your felted purse!

At 9:29 PM, Blogger Emily said...

Thanks for the referral to the patterns. And I've been thinking about one of those lights, too.

At 10:17 PM, Blogger Abigail said...

The first time I really "saw" stitches was when I used a varigated yarn. Since the colors changed, one stitch would be a different color than the one beneath it. That helped me a lot. It's so liberating to know the anatomy of a stitch isn't it? Then you can begin to fix your own mistakes!

At 9:56 AM, Blogger Annie said...

I didn't realize that you were a new knitter! I might return to it one of these days, but my knitting days are thirty years in the past. I gave up when my children were young because I couldn't keep stitches on my needles. As a quilter, I now avoid dark on dark as much as possible. As I've aged, working with darks has become more difficult. But I wonder if, when knitting with dark colors, it might help to work with light backgrounds as it helps to thread a needle over white. I don't have a set of knitting needles and dark thread to experiment with.


At 10:24 AM, Blogger Mary Beth said...

Found you on RevGalBlogPals.

Love your faith story. Thank you for it, and look forward to more. And thanks for sharing about knitting too. I started it last year when I had surgery, but could not keep on because I kept making mistakes, and I can't stand that! Very emblematic of my life...where often I don't do ANYTHING because I can't do it perfectly. :)

My mother is a knitting fiend, but then she's been doing complicated knitting like socks since her childhood.

I'm gonna get that knitting back out!


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