Monday, March 8, 2010

Learning to Knit

I have always wanted to learn to knit, but raised in a 'crochet' home, the thought of turning my back on the familiar hook would be quite an insult to my childhood. Pushing aside such 'sentimental' thinking i attempted a scarf when i was pregnant with Evelyn. It turned out well for beginner's work, but i can't even count the number of attempts it took me to cast on, the frustration down every row and how time consuming this one scarf was! After such a stressful experience, i put away my knitting needles and broke out ol' faithful and starting crocheting again. Now, pregnant again, i have that familiar thought, "i think i will teach myself to knit!"  So i decided to head out to Barnes&Nobles and pick out a darling book of baby knits.
In between popping Goldfish in Evelyn's mouth, i came upon a book titled 'Easy Baby Knits: clothes and accessories for 0-3 year olds' by Clair Montgomerie. The title combined with the soft color hues of the cover (yes, i judge books by there covers) was enough to make me sit on Barnes&Noble's squishy couch and flip through the pages. Now Evelyn is out of her stroller pushing it in a circle, comanding the attention of everyone in the store but me- mommy is entranced by the shabby chic/vintage feel of the pictures and knitting projects. A hooded blanket on a sleeping baby, a smart sweater on a smiling boy sitting on a peeling chair, a wrap cardigan worthy of a ballerina, and booties,mittens and bonnets i wish i could wear. Everything looked wonderful but i had to remind myself- i'm just a beginnner, there is no way i could make this stuff!
Flipping back to the begginning of the book i realize there is a whole 'Getting Started' section that has step by step illustrations on how to cast on,bind off, knit,purl, increase,decrease and much more valuable techniques. Not only that, but i could actually understand the directions--everything seemed so easy! Well i was sold. Scooping Evelyn back in her stroller i headed to the checkout line with little baby clothes dancing in my mind.

I decided my first project would be the hooded blanket, perfect for practicing technique and gauge. The next day i set off to find the perfect yarn. My first step was to decide what two colors i wanted to use. Sticking with my nursery color theme it came down to dusty blue,white or flax linen. Colors taken from this Serena&Lily sling that inspired my nursery look/theme. Since we won't find out the gender till the 30th i decided to not use blue in the blanket- blue will be fine for a girl in accent, but not as one's blanket. I would only be asking for strangers to refer to our baby girl as a boy. Searching both Michaels and Joanns i could not find a linen color that match the sling like i desired.  Everything was either too grey or too brown. So i decided to bite the bullet and head to Gail Knits. Gail Knits is a knitting specialty store here in Vegas that has beautiful,yet pricey yarns. As soon  as i walk in i find the PERFECT yarn. Almost identical to the sling's color, Lana Grossa's Linea Pura Organico in Stone. Made in Italy with 100% organic cotton, it had the right amount of softness to be against a baby's cheek but still hold a rectangle shape needed for the blanket. Not only that but it is machine washable(though lay flat to dry) Closing my eyes to both the price tage and the total of purchasing 6 balls, i handed over my debit card.
Now that i had found the body color i headed back to Michaels to try to save some amount of money. Since everyone carries a white yarn, i wasn't amount to pay extra for a 'specialty' white. The tricky part was finding a yarn that would be compatible with the Linea Pura one. It needed to be organic cotton,white,and with the identical gauge of 18sts by 24 rows. I was kidding myself thinking i would be able to to find all those prerequestites! I did find a ball of yarn that was similar, and would do. Cotton Ease by Lion Brand in Snow is 50% cotton and 50% acrylic and the gauge is 17sts by 24 rows. So it is the white i need, though not 100% organic cotton- not even 100% cotton. But it felt soft enough and the thread looked similar to the Linea Pura one. And the gauge was off by only a hair, so i purchased a $3.99 ball ( i'll state the price of this one but not the other one!)
After getting further knitting neccesities like needles,measuring tape and point protectors i headed home to knit!  Its been about two days since i started my project and i've knitted about 2 1/2 inches. I think it looks good for a begginer and the instructions Claire Montgomerie gives are so easy to follow i casted on without a problem (though it doesn't look to well, haha) and after a row of knitting i felt the had thte stitch down! The only thing i kept tweaking was how to hold the yarn and the constant stop and go of moving stitches up and down the needles. But after a few rows i found a comfortable way to hold the yarn that gave a good gauge and once that gauge was achieved it was easier to push the stitches up and down the needles with my thumb.

Now i enjoy the moments i can lay Evelyn down for a nap and relax on my sofa with knitting needles in my hand picturing my new baby wrapped in the love i made :)

1 comment:

  1. I love your post. the patterns look adorable and your knitting looks awesome. I like the picture of that basket of yarn too. good job honey:)