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w February 04, 2006

Les artes domestiques

I was actually taught to knit and crochet as a relatively young child by my grandmother, but never really did much with it. I think I may have struggled through a cardigan in late high school or early college, but it was so incredibly frustrating, I gave it to my mom and never wanted to see it again. In recent years, I've picked at least the knitting back up again, and have discovered things are vastly more fun when you have additional adult patience at hand. Thus far I have made Bean two sweaters (one pullover, one cardigan), cat toys for my friend J's new addition, two or three baby sweaters for various knocked up friends, two pairs of mittens (an extremely pleasing project over Christmas as I created a heart design on the baby pair and a cool striped pattern on those for my sister), numerous hats of all shapes and sizes, and my proudest accomplishment, a pair of socks for my dad's birthday.

Yep, I knitted a pair of your standard grey wool socks. I *know* he could go buy some, but there was sweat equity in these and especially after his surgery in October, warm feet are a nice thing. Besides, I was utterly chuffed that I learned how to wrestle with double pointed needles and actually produced something recognizable. I'm not a huge fan of circular needles, so the DPNs were a great achievement.

I finally decided to bolster myself and learn how to use a cable needle. Turns out, it is really really really really easy. I don't know why everyone makes it seem so scary, though I do have to give credit to Debbie Stoller's
"Stitch 'n' Bitch" for demystifying the workings of this funkily shaped little needle.
Found a pattern for a hooded sweater complete with zipper (no buttonholes, huzzah!) that looked promising; I also thought, well, this is for me for a change, so if it looks a bit shabby, no one will mind. It's slow going because the pattern requires a lot of close attention and counting and tugging yarn off aforementioned cable needle, but I think I may be able to finish it before I reach menopause.

The most gratifying thing is looking at the growing swatch and thinking, oh my word...it actually LOOKS like cabling. I actually knit CABLE STITCHES. I suppose in the past, this was not such a mad accomplishment, but considering how few women (or men, for that matter) have the benefit of learning the domestic arts, I admit to feeling excrutiatingly proud of myself for figuring it out just from being able to read. Now, get back to me in a few weeks (months) and see how much farther I've gone on said sweater...

by at February 04, 2006 9:20 PM | TrackBack Comments

Hey, we're interactive again! Cool!

I too took up knitting about a year ago, but am making much slower progress. I am still intimidated by cables and fancy needles, but am becoming quite proficient in "st st" and "Moss Stitch (k1p1)" Don't ask me about picking up stitches, however! It is very relaxing and fun, and good to do on long car drives. I get very impatient with big projects however, and have yet to complete anything for a recipient over 12lbs in weight!!!

Posted by: Mary on February 7, 2006 6:48 AM
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