Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Whatcha making?

I have a suggestion for people who are lonely: Take up knitting (and/or crocheting) and then go sit somewhere public. Perfectly lovely people will soon engage you in conversation. It is a great perk of knitting as a hobby. Truly.

It sometimes takes a couple of minutes. In an airport or a doctor's waiting room, one first becomes aware of the discreet sideways glance at the work in your lap. You can just feel them taking your measure. 
Is this woman a wacko bag lady I will regret talking to, you can almost hear them thinking, or a pleasant person  who will tell my what I am dying to ask?

And then it comes, shyly, quietly. "What are you making?"

Usually it is women who ask, but often a man will talk about fond memories of his mother or grandmother doing handwork. Making handmade things for warmth and comfort creates a lasting emotional connection, I have discovered. I usually tell a man that his mother/grandmother would be very glad to know that he retains this fond memory.

Women are more apt to have a tale of an unfulfilled desire to learn to knit or crochet, or of a failed attempt to do so. I offer advice: take a class at a local yarn shop. Join a social knitting group (they exist everywhere.) But my best advice is, use YouTube. There are many wonderful tutorials there that you can watch over and over until you see just how to do something, at your own pace, at your own convenience, in the quiet of your own home. I have used YouTube help in nearly every project I have made in recent years.

Although I have been knitting since the age of seven (taught by my mother) there have been great gaps of busy years when I did no knitting at all. I am really not a skilled knitter. I am more in the advanced beginner category. In fact, skilled knitters will quickly spot an error I made in the project pictured above. But that's okay. I learned from the mistake and will (may) remember not to repeat it next time.

By the way, this week's answer to that titular question is, "A baby sweater." Our daughter is expecting twins in February, a boy and a girl. This sweater will be for the little boy.  You can find a link to the pattern on the Ravelry website here.

Are YOU interested in learning to knit, or to knit better? Winter in upstate New York is a great time to learn. A few resources in our greater Saratoga County/New York Capital Region are listed below. I welcome additional suggestions for would-be knitters in the comments section.

To further inspire you, here are two fairly recent photos of two of our granddaughters learning to knit. They are Lexi, age 9, top, and Marjorie, age 7, below. If they can do it, so can you.

But I warn you, you will never be lonely again.

Now, back to my own knitting. After this cardi is finished, I have one more twin baby sweater to finish before mid-February. Knit knit knit.

Some local suggestions for knitting help:
  • Common Thread, Saratoga Springs, NY
  • Lion Brand Yarn Shop, Colonie, NY
  • Many libraries host social knitting groups, or can help you find groups in your area. Libraries are also great sources for wonderful knitting books and magazines.
  • Many Michaels, A.C. Moore, and Joann Fabrics stores carry supplies and host classes for beginners. Check your local stores for schedules.
  • And don't forget the Internet. I visit Ravelry and YouTube often,  for patterns and help, respectively.