When I was sorting through my previous blog to find the few posts I knew I’d made about knitting, I found one back in the very distant past: December 2004, in fact. In that post, I talked about getting back into knitting, and buying these:
That’s close to the start of me knitting as a grown up. It was the first time I can remember that I’d been in a real yarn store, rather than a general crafts store like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby, and it was amazingly seductive: all. those. colors. and. textures. It was beautiful, and I was smitten. In particular, I was dazed by the beauty of all the colors of yarns together in one place – which is still my problem in yarn stores: the displays of all the different colors together dazzle me, but then I have to pick just one, and whichever one I take home invariably falls a little short, sitting on its own, taken from its colorful context.
Anyway, I think this must have been during that time people were lured into knitting by the glitz and glamor of novelty yarns, because they’re what I seem to have noticed most. I wrote:
All the pretty colors! Fuzzy yarns and furry yarns! There was one that was literally furry – it was one long narrow strip of purple suede with purple fur. (Can’t even imagine how my cats would respond to that.) Sparkly yarns! Soft yarns! Velvety yarns! Yarns made up of silk ribbons!
It’s kind of funny to read that, seeing how far novelty yarns have gone out of fashion, but they suckered me in, as I’m sure they did others.
The yarn I bought that day was relatively low on the novelty-spectrum, being (I think) mostly mohair of obnoxiously vibrant colors, and bulky and fuzzy rather than of some unusual construction. The nice lady at the store helped me decide on making a scarf, which was basically casting on a bunch of stitches and knitting 2×2 ribbing until I had a length I liked, and then finishing it with a fringe. I dug it out of the laundry basket where my winter accessories currently live:
Isn’t it sad? I tried to take a pretty picture, but it’s dark here and the lighting is bad and I couldn’t pull it off. Even putting it in a prettier setting wasn’t going to help, though. Being crumpled in a laundry basket since we moved here hasn’t done it any favors, but I don’t think I ever blocked it, the 2×2 ribbing curls inward, that fringe… and bits have rubbed and felted since I finished it. Because I wore this, and happily, with pride. (To be fair, I still love these colors.)
Doesn’t everyone start with scarves, though? They’re so unintimidating. You don’t need to worry about gauge, or making sure you have enough yarn – you just knit a rectangle for a while, until you get the length you like, or you run out of yarn. They’re practical (for most climates), and not quite instant gratification, but your progress is pretty clear (especially if, like me, you use bulky yarn on really big needles). And even a not-very-good scarf does a great job of keeping you warm, bundled up round your neck under the collar of your coat, where no one can see any mistakes anyway. Scarves are great. I’m sure many knitting careers have been built on their long, skinny foundation.