The first time someone suggests you should learn to knit you may be baffled. People still do that? Do I look like I’m eighty? Etc etc. Put aside all your prejudices and try knitting on for size because there are many things to please you.
At least… if you’re me.
One: Rows and rows of stockinette.
It’s one of the most basic stitches. On straight needles it’s knit one row, purl the next, but when you’re knitting in the round (like I almost always do)? It’s just knit stitch over and over. People complain about the miles of stockinette some projects have and even I have been known to gripe, but let’s face it: this is what knitting is all about. Anything else is gravy.
Note to new knitters: gravy is a metaphor. Do not attempt to apply gravy to your stockinette.
Two: Blindingly complicated lace patterns.
Yes, I like to jump through the extremes.
Lace is sometimes to complicated it hardly looks like knitting any more, but even the hardest is much easier than it looks. It’s all just knitting, purling, increasing, decreasing. There may be about a thousand variations of those things before you even get to the ridiculous ones like p5tog tbl (purl five together through the back loop, and no I have never seen this on an actual pattern yet) but even a nupp is just knits and yarn overs and a decrease.
The hardest part is the counting. Seriously, I can do fiddly lace if I use roughly 5,405 stitch markers so that I don’t have to figure out where the heck I am in the pattern.
Three: Casting on.
Once again there are many ways to cast on, but I’m not talking about the technicalities. I’m talking about that moment where you’re done one project and moving on to the next. That moment where you have come to the end of the second sock and seek out a new pattern to start.
Or, if you’re more like me, that moment halfway through a project when you think you’ll scream if you have to do one more bobble so end up casting on something else to keep you sane.
It’s the thrill of the new and the thrill of the familiar all wrapped up into one, and I love it.
I hate them. Really, really hate them. Yet the sense of triumph at mastering something so fiddly and ridiculous is overwhelming. I still fondle the nupps of my Damask shawl regularly. At present it is pinned up on my desk at work to stare at happily until it’s spring and I can wear it again.
Nupps, for me, signify that moment of realising I can knit well. Not just get by, not just churn out a few simple things. I can do something difficult and I can, after a few attempts, do it well. That negates the hate a bit.
Five: Frogging a project.
This may sound counter-intuitive. What’s so fun and satisfying about ripping back a project until it’s nothing but a ball of yarn once more? Doesn’t that mean defeat, resignation, sadness?
Yes, maybe. Or maybe it’s one of my abandoned projects languishing in my drawer for three years before I get it out and now I have a ‘new’ skein of bright red merino/silk sock yarn to play with again.
Besides, I’m a process knitter. I may love most of my finished objects but certainly not all of them.
What are your favourite knitting things, folks?