She published a book this fall and I stumbled across it one day while looking for something to read at lunch. More recently I started reading the archives of her blog. Her enthusiasm for knitting inspired me to start.
Though I'm a novice knitter, I am not really a beginner. In the early '90's I took beginning knitting classes, two of them, at the yarn store up the street. You'd think the instructor would start us off easy, with a scarf or a hat or something, right? Wrong--she gave us the pattern for a sweater vest, complete with button holes, arm holes, and a complex pattern. She didn't really gear the class to my skill level; I was the probably the only member of the class under 30 and definitely the only one who'd never picked up a knitting needle before. I picked a pretty green wool for the pattern and some cheap pink acrylic to practice the basic stitches. I never was terribly comfortable with any with the basics; I hadn't even learned to fix my mistakes like dropped or extra stitches. I only had one temper tantrum that nearly resulted in the skewering of my first husband and the back of his computer, but I never finished the vest.
So, after a few evenings of reading about Aunt Purl's early experiments with hats, scarves and cat furniture, I wondered idly yesterday whether I remembered even the basics. At lunch I grabbed a copy of Knitting for Dummies off the shelf to refresh my memory. I looked around for some string to practice, and voila , I discovered, in the craft drawer (left over from the days when we used to have weekly storytimes) in our break room, some pretty blue yarn. And, hey, there's a paintbrush here that's about the size of my knitting needles at home. So I practiced casting on and discovered my fingers still remembered what to do. But what about the stitches? Do I remember how to knit or purl? Wait a minute, there's another identical paintbrush in there! So I practiced a few rows of knit stitches and then a few purls (taking peeks at the book to remember how to hold my "needles"), pronounced myself satisfied, unravelled my work and put it back where I found it.
While I ate my lunch, my eyes kept drifting up to the drawer where the blue yarn and paintbrushes were. So I dragged them back out and knitted for 20 minutes, producing a swatch about an inch long and 10 stitches wide in basic stockinette. I even messed up one row and successfully took out the bad stitches. This time I didn't unravel it; I tucked it back in the drawer with a note to remind me which direction to knit and which to purl.
It will be there for my break tomorrow. There's also a large skein of really ugly brown yarn when I finish with the little bit of blue. Maybe I'll even bring in real needles, not that I need them.