Tuesday, 2 August 2011

New (Ad)Ventures

So the past week has been somewhat crazy as weeks go, we came home from a week long family retreat, attended the funeral of my husband's aunt, had the four older kids enrolled in a day camp, had numerous business tasks to attend to and had a friend visit whom we haven't seen in around five years or so. And in the midst of all that I picked up a new hobby!

At our retreat we met some truly wonderful people and some of them happened to be knitting. Towards the end of our stay there the mother of the knitting family graciously agreed to give me a lesson, despite the many other things that she had to do. And lo and behold I picked it up quite easily! I suppose if I'd really thought about it I would have realized that there is nothing inherently difficult about something that so many people seem to do easily while watching tv or engaging in conversation, but I just seemed to have a mental block there previously.

Now knitting is something that has long struck me as a mysterious art as I had previously only really known how to crochet. Crochet just seemed simpler to me because you only need ONE implement. The introduction of a SECOND tool and the requirement that BOTH hands be making seemingly crucial movements always steered me clear. I had done some elementary knitting as a child of five or so, but my memory of that is almost completely wrapped up in not understanding the mystery of casting on and trying to wrap my head around the seemingly impossibly intricate way my mother wanted me to hold the yarn. On reflection I don't know if this was really my mother's focus, or if it was just what I focused on in my melancholic attempt to get things "right".

But back to the week at hand. I came home inspired. I really wanted to begin creating something immediately however I lacked the tools of the trade. So after a brief stop at a craft store that was beautifully air-conditioned on a sweltering hot day, I became the proud owner of a pair of circular knitting needles! I knew that if I didn't begin soon to practice what I had learned I would forget it all so I wanted to jump in right way with just getting the technique into my muscle memory.

And so I began to swatch away, knitting and purling and knitting and purling and generating a bunch of stitches in a swatch that was soon going to leave me bored to tears. I needed inspiration. I needed a project. In the midst of this I remembered a crochet project that I had wanted to attempt some years ago that I never got around to, but which I had all the materials for, so I used the knitting inspiration momentum to crochet myself a small shoulder bag and I finished it in two days! Meanwhile I was thinking about what I could do as an introductory beginner knitting project. I needed something easy enough that I wouldn't get discouraged but inspiring enough to keep me going and something which looked like it could be completed in a reasonable time frame.

On a seemingly unrelated note my hubby and I have been making an attempt to get more active so we went out for our morning walk as usual Saturday morning. I then made the completely uncharacteristic suggestion that we take the kids out and go hiking on one of the local trails that we've driven past a hundred times and never stopped at. And so we had an impromptu adventure hiking with the kids, seeing all kinds of insect life, and picking wild raspberries and blackberries along the way, with some great photo ops as a bonus.

Later in the day I decided to take the same kind of initiative and just dive into a pattern. Now, I know all you knitters out there were smiling inwardly when I earlier said that I became the proud owner of knitting needles. And now I know why. I bought them without knowing what I was going to knit! And I didn't know how crucial that was! I looked at lots of patterns I would have loved to do , but I had the wrong size needles or the wrong size circle or both for all of them. I finally settled on a pattern that looked smart (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely!), it's a classic World War II watch cap. And indeed my needles are the wrong size (but only off by one) and the circle is also the wrong size, (but it's manageable) and so I happily began my first ever knitting project with left over yarn that we happened to have lying around the house. I have about four inches of knitting done so far and if it turns out well, it may be a Christmas gift for someone (but I can't say who!). And I'm thoroughly enjoying my new venture.

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