Friday, March 2, 2012

Wound Up in Yarn

I had two knitting books with me. One book described the process of picking up a dropped stitch, complete with drawings. The trouble was the drawings didn’t resemble my work. And when I tried to read the words describing the process, they lost all meaning and my head spun in confusion. The other book didn’t even cover picking up dropped stitches. The author seemed to think the only way to fix mistakes was to tink, which is the word knit backwards and means to unknit.

The nice think about being alone was there were no interruptions as I doggedly went about the task of not only following the directions to pick up a dropped stitch, but understanding what I was doing, so that eventually I would be able to do it without having to read directions.

I have to say it was very hard deliberately knocking a stitch off my needle and then watching it come undone and disappear into all the loops below. The good part of that is it gave me a lot of empathy for Casey, since she has to do just that in the book. The difference is when she does it, she has a group of experienced knitters around her to help. I was all alone. But the funny part is that it is up to me to write the help that group of knitters offers her.

There is no need to go into the boring details of how I finally got to understand how to pick up a dropped stitch, but now when I think about it, I wonder why it seemed so hard. Isn’t it always that way once you learn things.

It was with great relief that I went back to crocheting on the plane ride home. I finally came up with a plan for the perfect travel project. I wanted something that wasn’t too big. There is just no room to handle a big project, plus who wants to lug it around. So, I started making granny squares and when I get enough I’ll sew them together and make a blanket. On the flight home, I finished one I’d started before and made two complete ones.

It is still a thrill for me to make them. I have loved them since forever, but had no idea how to make them. When I finally learned it was much like learning how to pick up a stitch in knitting. I had to follow the directions a lot of times before I finally understood what I was doing. Now, I just know how to make them, with no directions or even hesitations. They are second nature to me. Even so, it still amazes me to watch a little chain of loops become a circle and then change into a square. The best part is, I still adore the finished product.


Mollie Cox Bryan said...

It is an amazing thing. My fingers are just not nimble enough to crochet or knit. I have several old crocheted and knitted throws that my greatgrandmother made and I cherish them. Also, it's interesting how sometimes doing the things outside of writing help us to gain insight on what we are writing.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Although I once crocheted, knitted and did other hand crafts, Betty, I've not done anything creatively that way for years. I'm impressed by all you design and do!

Planner said...

Once we learn something, I think we forget how hard it may have been to grasp the concept or coordination to really get it. Once we get it, we think it's easy.

I haven't mastered picking up dropped stitches yet. I have to depend on prevention since it's kind of scary to do, but I should do what you're doing--take a practice piece and just play with it until I get the concept. Maybe Casey will teach me when she gets it down.

Betty Hechtman said...

Mollie, how nice you have some throws your great grandmother made. What a nice remembrance.

Knitting or crocheting are great helps in the mental department. They are both meditative and relaxing, particularly if you're making something simple.

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I am so thrilled that I can spend hours knitting or crocheting and have it count as something for my writing.

Betty Hechtman said...

Planner, I was in the same place you were with dropped stitches. If I hadn't had to write about it, I don't know if I would have spent so much time figuring out how to pick up a dropped stitch.

One thing I learned from the classes I took at the knit and crochet show is that you have to pracice things a bunch of times before they sink in.