Tuesday, April 20, 2010

it's addicting, this knitting

This little sweater is proof that YouTube can teach you anything, even how to knit. It's kind of sad to me that this is how I learned, which I've mentioned before, but I'm getting over it. I'm trying to make up for this community-less way of learning a generational skill and timeless pastime by surrounding myself with a knitting circle of real, live people. Plus they share their needles with me. And their expertise. And tea.

It's such a satisfying and enjoyable skill in my opinion. I love picking a pattern (this one is from here) and then changing it all around to make it fit my personal style and taste with just a simple yarn switcheroo, or the size of a needle. I confess already to a few too many hours browsing Ravelry and getting sucked into the vortex of online yarn stashes and patterns.

This sweet little sweater was one of the first things I saw on her site when Josey introduced me to it this summer. I couldn't get that image out of my head and just wanted to somehow be able to make it for myself (or some other lucky customer as it turns out). It was a pretty easy pattern as patterns go and there were only a few things I had to learn along the way that were firsts for me, like placing stitches on a holder and making a buttonhole. But I took it step by step and lo and behold, it worked! 

I did have a bit of a scare when washing it up. The shoulder seam started unraveling because I didn't tie it off correctly. What a horrible feeling that was. But I quickly salvaged the stitches and got them on a needle... spent a day slightly depressed over how much work I may have lost and trying to figure out how to do some kind of emergency surgery... and then watched as my uber-talented ayi whipped it into shape for me when she sat at our table munching rice and making fingers fly during lunch. I am pretty thankful for her.

The yarn was not my favorite in the whole wide world of yarn selections. Right now I am dreaming about a huge shipment of impossible proprotions that I might send myself over the summer. But the reality is that I am currently limited to the little hole-in-the-wall shops I find by spending an hour asking directions and getting pointed every which way.

So many Chinese women knit. It's still kind of a standard skill here it seems. But they don't have Hobby Lobby or cute little trendy, eco-friendly yarn shops like they do in some countries. And these women must love to knit with super thin yarn so that their fingers get a serious workout, turning what could be a quick knit into a marathon affair. Only because they have ninja fingers, it's still a sprint for them.

I walk into these stores the size of a large closet, and peruse the wall of half-decent colors, most of which I would never wish on a pet dog much less that newborn babe I was hoping to swaddle in my handmade wonder. The women eye me and watch curiously, I can hear their whispering and little words like "waiguoren" (which means foreigner so I know they are talking about me) and "they always buy..." which makes me wonder if I am about to fulfill some embarrassing stereotype. But they are always kind.

The vest it turns out, is too small for my little scout so she will have to wait for another one while this one goes to some other little lady. Thanks for sharing in my knitting excitment! If you don't already, you should try it. Especially if you failed to learn how to sew as a child. It's incredibly redemptive in that way.


  1. It's beautiful...I love it!

  2. Ooh I love it too! Hmmm, Youtube - good Idea! I have been wanting to learn! A friend of mine uses it to learn guitar lessons!

    Blessings Camie

  3. Beautiful sweater Christine!! It's going on my "to knit" list. I don't have anything on the needles right now (didn't I sound really cool saying that ;) because I'm working on a couple of skirts for a project. Love your work...