Hip to be crafty

Today I learned to knit.

For my birthday this year, my boss gave me knitting needles, yarn, a bag to keep them in, and instructions. I thought that was terrifically cool because I’ve wanted to learn to knit for a while — mainly because apparently it’s cool. Yes, I just admitted that I decided to do something because other people say it’s cool. And also because I like the idea of making stuff on my own, and having something to do on long journeys that isn’t reading or sudoku.

However, although I tried to follow the printed written instructions that she very kindly included, I failed. All my attempts were an utter mess of confusion, misunderstanding, and tangled yarn. I tried several times and gave up several times, so that eventually it became six months later and I still couldn’t knit.

Finally, I decided that I needed a video demonstration, because the static photos just weren’t clear enough, so I searched the web and found this simple and lovely little video. I like the way she explains the motions in a way that would make sense to someone who has never knit before. She does things carefully and multiple times, with narration and helpful tips.

The instructions I had didn’t tell me important things like where to put the yarn (on the right, in front of you, but “in back” of the knitting) and what “the front” of the stitch is. I sort of suspect them of giving them to people who know how to knit and saying “Does this describe knitting?” instead of giving them to people who don’t and saying “Can you learn to knit from this?” I couldn’t, so I turned to the video. And now I’ve knitted five or so rows of fairly nice-looking stitches. (I haven’t yet learned how to purl — that will have to come later.)

It’s very exciting when you find out that you can make things. I’m looking forward to adding yet another scarf to my collection, and eventually learning to knit complicated and nifty things. Time to stop writing and start knitting and watching The West Wing!

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