Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Yarn: A Love Story

I can't remember a time when I didn't love yarn. Where this attraction came from, I can't say. There were no serious knitters or crocheters in my family to inspire me. What I remember is how I loved walking down the yarn aisle at the grocery store with my mom. (Yarn! At the grocery store!) One day I worked up the courage to point out to my mom how pretty I thought the yarn was. She looked at me for a second, then asked, "What would you do with that yarn?" Of course I had no ready answer. All I knew was that I wanted the yarn; I had no idea what I would actually do with it.

Mom bought the yarn for me anyway. She also bought a couple of crochet hooks, then took me home and showed me the basics. And boy, do I mean basics. It had been years since Mom had crocheted, and she only remembered chaining, single crochet, and double crochet. (I found out later that her dc was actually an Elmore dc.) She taught me to work in rounds, and for a while, I thought that was the only way to crochet. What a revelation it was when I later learned that crochet could be worked in rows. Mom didn't read patterns, so my first crochet projects were, um, "original designs." I had fun experimenting.

Over the years I bought lots of crochet books, learned more techniques, and churned out loads of crocheted items. I made hats, scarves, dishcloths, potholders, sweaters, lacy thread tops, shawls, coasters, stuffed toys, and afghans. Oh, the afghans! Hundreds of afghans.

Then there was knitting. It always seemed to be beyond me. Two needles? How do you deal with two needles? But I knew I wanted to learn how to do it. Six or seven years ago, I tried to teach myself from a needlecraft compendium in my library. It was a complete disaster. The book only showed English style knitting, and as a right-handed crocheter, it felt unnatural to hold the yarn in my right hand. I didn't pursue it any further. Clearly I was meant to be a crocheter, not a knitter.

That all changed when two people in my life--my twin sister and my oldest friend--both took up knitting. Neither of them had ever shown the slightest interest in fiber arts before, and here they were knitting. Successfully! It was really too much.

So I decided to try knitting again. Someone on a crochet message board had mentioned that Continental knitting was generally easier for crocheters to learn than English knitting, so I searched out all the information I could find on Continental style. It was as if the fog had been lifted from my eyes. I could knit holding the yarn the same way I hold it for crocheting? Brilliant!

I've been knitting since January 2006, and I can't put it down. I'm a little ashamed to admit that I've done almost no crocheting in that time. It's like being in a new relationship. I'm infatuated with my new love, but I know my old friend is still there for me.

Anyway, back to the yarn. I think I've figured out one of the reasons why I love it so much. Yarn is possibility. It can be anything. It can go from this

to this

in a short period of time. Just like magic.


Post a Comment

<< Home