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Monday, March 6, 2017

This winter I became A Knitter

I am declaring this winter to be The Winter I Became A Knitter. Decided this last night, as I picked up my third WIP (that's "Work In Progress" for those of you who don't speak knitting acronyms any better than I do).

I learned to knit as a girl, from my grandmother. I knit my way through 6th grade, thanks to an understanding teacher, who knew I was a quick study and only knit when my work was done. Other students wanted to know why I was knitting and they were not, and she told them that any time they got their work done early, they could knit. My best friend, Connie, joined me from time to time. I was knitting a sweater for my dog, Mitzi, a Boston Terrier who -- in Michigan -- appreciated the extra insulation.

Then I pretty much gave it up for years.

Picked it up again as a mom of several kids, who all got wool mittens. Yeah, I went from two needles to double pointed (DPN in knit speak), just like that. Thumbs, no sweat. Blue ribbon in the fair even.

Then I pretty much gave it up for years.

But I got back into spinning and hanging with knitters so...

Sock-like-object
I picked it up again. I have a young friend who likes to knit socks and I like socks, so that was my project of choice. Circular needles this time (dunno the knit speak for them). Ended up with a sock-like object (right shape, right length, VERY wrong diameter). One not two. Friend Beverly, a knitting guru, talked about knitting two at a time, from the toe up. "Not a beginner technique" she said, but she
Socks! Knit two at a time,
from the toe up! Love this technique!
was willing to hold my hand and agreed to teach me. That was last winter. This autumn I finished them. They were socks and they fit.

Meanwhile I had been spinning Elenor's wool. Elenor is an Icelandic sheep, part of the University of Maine flock. Love her wool...had enough spun to start a sweater, so I did. Circular needles... somewhat larger... wooden, like the ones from the socks. I found I love wooden and bamboo needles.

Modeling the "pussy hat"
Then I decided that I needed a "pussy hat" after having attended the Women's March in Augusta, so I picked up an inexpensive set of regular bamboo needles and knit one. Yes, I finished a project... in a month or so rather than a year or so.

And it fits. And I wear it, pink and all. Made it with Peace Fleece yarn from One Lupine in Bangor, ME.

But winter will not last forever, not even in Maine, so I decided I needed a cotton pussy hat, picked up some commercial cotton yarn and started it. Along with the sweater. Two knitting projects at the same time.

Then I decided I would attend a local March for Science in April and found someone had designed a pattern for a hat for that march. It has "color work" with a pattern that shows resistors and a battery. After fussing with test swatches for gauge, I got a set of interchangeable circular needles from my daughter and set to work.

Three projects on kneedles (intentional typo).

Then a friend gifted me with a bucket full of T-shirt yarn, and I had the wild idea to try to knit a small rug. Grabbed some old size 13 Boye metal needles, cast on and away I went.

Four projects on needles.
Four different needle materials.
Four different manufacturers.
And I am trying to decide if I really like one more than another.

The gifted needles included both a very smooth shiny metal and  wooden ends, two length cables and such from Knit Picks. I started on the metal, changed to the one size smaller wooden, as the metal was SO slippery... much more so than my Boye metal needles. And the wood was slippery too... much more so than the wooden double pointed ones, brand forgotten. All of them have a bit of friction, as does the bamboo. Right now I am knitting with all of them and trying to decide if I have a favorite. Or if the needle material, for me, needs to vary with project, fiber or phase of the moon.