Thursday, March 3, 2011

How It all Began...

I've been a knitter/crocheter/fiber-holic almost all my life. My maternal grandmother taught me to crochet around a hanky when I was barely 8 years old, with a crochet hook and some multi-colored crochet cotton. Far from the lovely laces that she was best known for, all I could manage was filling in the holes. I tired of the practice quickly, and moved on to play with my cousin who lived a short drive away.

At about 10, I tried learning crochet at my mother's knee, who was and still is, an amazing crocheter. For whatever reason, I couldn't get my doily to lay flat--something that her's did with almost no effort at all. It took me years to find out that I need a smaller hook than she does, because my crochet tension is much looser than hers. I quit hoping for the stunning doilies, and practiced diligently on small squares of swatches to test my skill at a newly found hobby. But I tired of them, as well.

From there, I tried knitting. Now, knitting wasn't something my mother liked very much. She did know knit and purl, but didn't consider herself astute enough in the knowing to teach me. So she bought me a Coat's and Clark's "Learn How Book", that pretty much taught everything there was to know about everything in the needle arts.

I found out that I could cast on with no trouble, but after that, the pictures were like Greek letters to me. So my mother helped and showed me how to make a couple of stitches. Then I sat down and practiced that until I tired of it.

Then I tried to purl.

I frustrated myself for hours before finally going to my mother in tears, telling her that I was a complete moron and that I would never get this without SOME help. So she looked at the pictures with me, and she purled one stitch. Once I saw it in real life, I was--in a word--hooked.

I've been knitting ever since. And, within the last couple of years, I found out that while my mother could crochet lovely lace doilies with a size 7 hook, I had to use a size 8 to get the same results.

I was surprised that a difference so minute could make such a difference in the size of my project as it compared to hers, but now, I can crochet almost anything, with any size yarn and the right hook almost every time, and get my round projects to lay flat almost every time.

It was a revelation. An epiphany!

So now, I knit all the time, and crochet here and there.

I also tried my hand at tatting, but had difficulty until a co-worker showed me how to use the shuttle--which is very much like macrame. Once I learned that, I was off and running.

When counted cross stitch came out hot and heavy, I had every color there was, and almost every magazine devoted to it. I made projects that would astound you on cross stitch linen that had 28 holes per inch! I have worked embroidery, crewel and needlepoint. I've sewn my own clothes and made beautiful quilts. I've even worked in leather and made myself a pair of moccasins. Comfortable little shoes, I'd say.

The only craft in the needle arts that I haven't tried is bobbin lace, which is quite intricate and beautiful to behold. So far, I've been able to stay away from it. The same goes for scrap booking. I just can't seem to get interested in working with paper--although I did do quilling for a while.

So you see, I've been a crafter for a long, long while.

So when I started my Wallaby, I thought--knitting. Easy enough. Get gauge, row after row of knit stitches. What could be easier?

Well, I'm on my second sleeve, and I've run into a knot. And the skein didn't pick up where it left off, so now I have to RESTART the second sleeve. Knots make me quite angry. Skeins that don't begin in the same color when it's the same dye lot make me angry. The yarn manufacturer is going to get a nasty letter if I start this sleeve again and run into another knot, believe me.

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