February 10, 2008
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If you can’t quite tell how much it’s snowing in this picture, look at the building. This is the bank next door to my apartment building and I took this picture looking out my window because I was certainly not going out for a photo-op.
What does this mean? More time for planning the school week ahead (yes! I am well enough to return to my kiddos!) and more time for knitting (ugh! it’s become stressful now!).
Last night, after posting, I sat down with my brother-in-law’s scarf I began in January in a moss stitch and to practice my continental knitting and purling. Believe you me, this is not the best way to practice. Or, maybe it is. Either way, I spent about 45 minutes on it and decided I simply could not knit anymore because it was making my brain hurt and my fingers ache. You see, they keep wanting to knit in the old way, not this new way. It’ll take a long time to build up new muscle memory.
February 9, 2008
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Michele changed my life. I walked into Fiberphilia with my lacy shrug in tow hoping to make progress on it after months of struggling with this project. I ripped out the previous work, untangled the mess of bamboo spaghetti, wound it up, and proceeded to knit the three inches of 1×1 ribbing. I get to the part where I am supposed to increase from 45 to 55 stitches in the last row of ribbing and I ask Michelle for suggestions on how to do this. “Knit the front and the back of a stitch,” she said. She suggested other methods as well, but said this would be the best for this particular project. I went back to the knitting room to work on it while she rang up the customer at the counter and then she joined me in the knitting room. She took one look at my project and said, “you’re twisting your stitches.” This, my friends, is the moment my knitting life changed.
You see, my grandmother taught me to knit when I was six years old in Byron, Maine. I’ve been doing nothing but acrylic garter stitch monstrosities up until six years ago when I finally taught myself, using the power of the internet, the purl stitch. Come to find out I taught myself the purl stitch incorrectly.
Instead of going down into the stitch and laying the yarn over the top to carry through, I come around the bottom of the needle and wrap it. I’ve been twisting my purls all these years. My life is changed! I pulled out some spare needles and spare wool and knit six rows in proper purl and it looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before coming off my needles. It was simply beautiful.
My transformation didn’t end there. I also decided that today would be the day I learn to carry the strand properly. All these years I carried it in my right hand pinched under my pinky and I’d pick it up with my forefinger and thumb when I wanted to move it over a stitch. I’d drop it and pick it up between each stitch; definitely not the most economical motion. Bravely, I learned how to not only knit, but purl, using the continental method of holding the yarn. I spent an hour at Fiberphilia practicing the continental method of holding the yarn and purling correctly. I felt like I was learning how to knit for the very first time. And my friends, I was.
I am a brand new knitter! Today is the first day of the rest of my knitting life!