Friday, November 8, 2013

My knitting story....

As usual my poor neglected blog sits on the World Wide Web waiting (and waiting...and waiting...) patiently for me to be inspired to write a blog post.

And it just so happens that today, the very last day to enter a particular contest (no pressure!!), I stumbled across someone else's post on Facebook about how they were entering a contest so that they could win up to $200.00 in goodies from The Interweave Store.  You see, Knitting Daily, has a contest going on called Blog it to Win it right now, where you show and tell your knitting project(s)/story on your blog to win free stuff.  And who doesn't love free stuff??  Especially free knitting stuff?!?!  Not to mention, what is the next best thing to actually knitting?  Well, writing about knitting, of course!  So although it is the last day of the contest...I have until 11:59 pm EST today to manage to write my story...(piece of cake!) I thought, "Hey, I can do this!"
These are some of the things that I would really, really, really love to win:
As you can see from my list of things I would like to win from this knitting preferences have not ventured too far from my 'instant gratification' type projects I will mention in my story.

So on with 'My Knitting Story'...

All my life I have always wanted to be able to knit.  I think it goes back to my fascination with all things Little House on the Prairie.  I wanted to live back in the days when Laura and Mary Ingalls grew up, and learn all those things that little girls had to learn back then growing up on the prairie...things like mending socks and sewing quilts and knitting mittens; along with helping their mom with all the 'simple' daily chores like washing the dishes, making beds, feeding the chickens and milking the cow (which by the way, are some things I did learn to master!).  And even though my mom did knit and crochet.  And she did show me the basics of both.  I just was never able to really get the hang of knitting.  Although, I do recall that my sister and I (with mom's help), did manage to crochet matching bedspreads at some point in our childhood...and that was the closest I had ever felt to being able to accomplish a project like Laura and Mary, but it just wasn't quite like I imagined it would be in my head, of them making quilts and my desire to knit still burned within me.

Through the years growing up and long into my adult years, I resolved to learn how to knit...over and over and over again...with not a whole lot to show for my efforts.  I think it may be because when someone teaches you how to knit, it seems they always tell you to make a scarf.  But I am not a big scarf wearer...not as a child and still not really as an adult.  So it was not something that inspired me enough to keep at it when all seemed to be going totally wrong.  Not to mention, making a scarf tends to be a very 'long' endeavor and it seems to always go on and on...and on...and on.... 

As an adult, I have figured out that I am more of an 'instant gratification' type knitter...small projects that one can finish in a relatively short amount of time.  So back in 2009, I yet again attempted to learn to knit (what can I say...I'm a glutton for punishment!).  And lo and behold, it actually worked this time!!  Between picking up a book in a local book store with patterns for knitting a bunch of different types of teddy bears (another life long love) and a good friend of mine at church having a baby; it was finally enough things coming together to create some 'good knitting mojo' and the time for me to master my life long desire to knit had arrived!!

I set out to make a teddy bear for my friend's new baby (preferably, before the baby arrived).  Nothing like the impending baby's arrival date to spur me onward!  And although my mom had shown me the very basics of knitting (way back when), such as casting on, knitting and purling...I had definitely never read a pattern, which was going to prove to be a bit of a challenge (as if learning to knit hadn't proved to be a challenge already!)....but...this time...this time, I had the power of the internet beside me!!!!  Now, when I didn't understand something or had no idea what those abbreviations in the pattern meant, such as  'k2tog' or 'ssk' or 'kfb' or 'ktbl'...with the power of the internet and YouTube, I suddenly had my very own knitting teacher, sitting right there beside me, showing me step-by-step and going at my pace!!  What an awesome thing!!  And before you knew it, I had little arms and legs done and was working on the cutest little protruding belly of what I hoped would be an adorable little teddy bear.  I was in awe as I finished each little piece when it actually looked like a 'teddy bear arm' or a 'teddy bear leg' that I had made all by myself (well, me and the World Wide Web).  Before I knew it, I had all the parts of my bear laying before me finished and all I had to do was put him together...that's all...I did the hard part already, right?  (Which reminds me of yet another desire, to learn to sew, again from Little House on the Prairie...but that's a whole other story!!) 

But anyway, back to my with all these bear parts finished and just waiting to be joined together to make a whole bear, how could I stop there? (Another little lesson I learned about myself, creating a 'little being' with eyes and nose and mouth...really inspires me to finish a project.)  There is nothing worse than seeing a partially completed 'little being' staring at you from your knitting bag just mocking you from across the room, whispering, "finish me...finish me...finish me!!!"  It makes you put down that book you were trying to read and pick up your knitting needles and work on your project so that he can be completed...or as from my favorite children's book, The Velveteen Rabbit, so that "he can become Real."

The original bear
Well...I did finish that bear...and a little matching sister bear, as well...all in time for my friend's baby shower!  And my friend was so kind and said that those bears were 'so adorable' and that she 'couldn't believe I learned how to knit just to make her a gift?!'.  All of which made me happy and I knew she truly was touched by my gift.  Course, years later, she came to me and asked if I could do a little mending of the bears...bears that really 'had become Real from being loved by a child'....and I felt horrible because although they resembled could so tell that they were my first project!!  I was horrified at my little bears' embroidery skills were lacking a little (ok...a lot!!) and those poor bears were kind of frightening! But my friend, still loves those bears today. Apparently, they sit on the shelf in her little girls' room and they each love their Sandy Bears!!  Thankfully, they now have 'face lifts' and don't look quite as scary!

There have been a lot more bears and even more monsters and other fun knitted toys that I have made since 2009 when my knitting career took off...and even some hats, socks, mittens and baby sweaters. Believe it or not, even a few scarves have been made for worthy gift recipients!  My love of knitting continues on today.  I am happy to finally have learned how to do something I have wanted to do as far back as I can remember.  And throughout the years my knitting mojo comes in spurts and lulls; sometimes I am frantically working on project after project and sometimes like during the hot summer days, when it is too hot to be knitting, I may not do any actual knitting, but I will think about knitting; read about knitting; maybe even buy yarn for future projects that have been tempting me from the internet and Ravelry...and then I will patiently wait for the days when there is a chill in the air, which tells me that fall is on the way, with winter soon to follow and I will be able to sit quietly and peacefully and knit on my new favorite project or little critter, who is just waiting to become Real!!!

A few of my knitted bears and critters through the years
A few other knitted projects