My first knitting class was a two-week session at a local chain craft store. It was November 2003, and I was working as a manager at a bookstore. It was hectic, fast-paced, and required long hours with very little compensation. I needed a way to de-stress; one of my co-workers knit, and he volunteered to teach me, but our schedules never matched up to actually do a knitting lesson. So, I took matters into my own hands. I signed up for a Knitting I class on my day off from work. The class had seven or eight ladies of different ages – I was the youngest there, and the one who had the least experience with yarn and needles. Many of the participants used the class as a refresher after years of not knitting, and they made me look bad. It took me awhile to figure out the slip knot, casting on, and even longer to realize the whole knit stitch. Luckily, the teacher was patient, and willing to come over and spend some more time with me. After a few rows, it totally clicked. Sure, I had a lot more to learn (and unlearn, actually, because I was twisting my stitches for months and months). After the first session, I felt pretty darn good.
I eagerly went home to show Kris my work. My chunky acrylic scarf kit with uneven gauge and mistakes. I was proud of it. I stayed up late that night working on the scarf. I put it next to my bed so that I could immediately start it the next morning. The minute I opened my eyes, I wanted to knit. Later in the morning, Kris and I took the train into the city and I saw a knitter on the train – wrestling with this huge cabled sweater with stitch markers, circular needles, cables, etc. I looked on in amazement: I had just figured out what garter stitch was, and here was this guy knitting this amazing red sweater on the train. I stared at his work, and I finally spoke, telling him that I had just learned to knit. Thankfully, he was nice, and told me to stick with it. (Isn't it cool that the first two knitters I saw – my coworker, and this random train knitter – were guys?)
My second session was the "PURL" session. It took a little while to catch on, but when I did, it was good and solidified. I practiced for the rest of the class, and the teacher noted that I had picked it up quickly (this from the girl who couldn't figure out the long-tail cast-on…) The teacher gave the participants a 25% off coupon for the store and as a thank you for taking the class. I decided to hold on to my coupon for awhile, and after the new year (2004), I came back to spend the coupon and a gift certificate I got for Christmas. That's when I saw it…
The Patons Street Smart booklet was hot off the presses – and I loved everything in it. The hoodie on the cover was my favorite of all. However, I knew that it would be a long time before I could take on such a thing – I was scared to try a sweater at that point, much less a hoodie with cables and bobbles… but I knew that someday, that hoodie would be mine.
Someday is today.
I finally started the Street Smart Cabled hoodie. I originally bought some Patons wool, as the pattern calls for, but after seeing this gorgeous blue merino wool from Cottage Craft at Stitches East last November, I knew it was meant to be together. I could just picture it in my head… and after seeing Elizabeth's version of the hoodie last month, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. I was ready to take it on. I am at the point where I can handle those cables, those bobbles, and anything else this sweater throws at me!
Sleeve one has just begun! (See cable detail)
This book has inspired some lovely knits – all four of the designs included are wonderful, stylish, and wearable. There was a long-running knitalong for the Must Have cardigan in 2005 and 2006, and more recently, Claudia completed a beautiful version of the sweater. The Urban Aran sweater has also been the talk of the town, especially after Jared at Brooklyntweed "cardiganized" it last year, Saun followed with a great version, and it is now on the needles of Stacey, Jess, and Wendie – and probably a lot of other knitters as well! The last pattern in the book is a simple cabled pullover called "Easy Street", and I am thinking that it will be a great match for the new Malabrigo I just bought…
Of course, now that I have reached the someday for the Patons hoodie, I have many other someday projects to look forward to, things I am not ready to tackle now, for fear of messing them up too badly! – Fair Isle, cables, lace, etc. As I become more confident in my skill, I will take on more projects with challenges. Not quite the same as the regular "to knit" list that we tend to queue in our heads, but more of an aspiration of what you can accomplish in the future.
Do you feel that you still have some knitting techniques to master or perfect before you can make a certain pattern?
What are your someday projects?