Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A History of My Knitting Journey So Far

Woman Knitting
by Francoise Duparc


I am so excited to blog again! I have been dealing with a transmission problem all weekend, and didn't have a chance to knit or blog. :( I did have fun visiting my brother-in-law, though, who is the one who masterfully repaired our poor '98 Ford Taurus. It is so wonderful to have a great mechanic in the family!

I did finally get to knit a little today. I started on a small washcloth and am almost half finished. I have been knitting only dishcloths/washcloths most recently, which brings me to the topic of today's blog: A History of My Knitting Journey So Far. I will keep this as short as possible for now, and will perhaps delve into more details in separate posts. It seems like there is so much to tell…


Like I said before, I am a beginning knitter, and can definitely only knit at the beginner’s level. That doesn't mean, however, that I have never knit before. Au Contraire Mon frere! I have actually been knitting since I was a child. But, it never stuck with me. I never progressed, stayed with it, finished a project, or became a true "lover of knitting."

I was probably somewhere around 8-9 years old when my Mom first taught me to knit. I can remember knitting so tightly that I had to struggle just to get my right needle into the left stitch in order to knit. It seemed like I was always putting my needle in the wrong place, too, and made so many mistakes. It didn't really grow on me, and my Mom didn't pressure me to continue. So, I put my knitting in my craft basket and forgot about it (along with crochet).

From my childhood through college I tried knitting several more times. I could do the basics of knit and purl, but making mistakes always threw me off and discouraged me. Those dropped stitches; those strange, unidentified mistakes; the confusion of what to do. It was always discouraging. I liked knitting okay, but, I didn’t stick with it, and didn’t progress.

The next time I really tried knitting again was after I got married. My husband, Nathan, was in law school at Regent University in Virginia Beach, and I was over 700 miles away from my hometown in Alabama, and from my knitting teacher: my Mom. So, I decided to take a class in order to learn more, have one-on-one instruction, and have someone to help bail me out when I made my usual knitting mistakes. I was also hoping to learn how to fix these mistakes by myself. I decided to go to The Knitting Corner, which was a knit shop really close to Regent's campus.

The Knitting Corner gave a great class. The project we worked on was a kind of swatch piece that resembled one side of a baby or doll sweater. We learned basic knitting including knit and purl (which I already had down by this time), as well as increasing, decreasing, cabling, etc. The class was taught well and I really enjoyed it. I almost finished my swatch, but couldn't get it completed before the class was officially over. I was going to go to the next class and finish while everyone knitted, but I never did. (Life happened instead.)

For whatever reason, I didn't continue knitting long after the class was over, though I did enjoy it. I believe I had started a grey, wool scarf for my Dad in the garter stitch, and maybe I got bored, maybe it was still the mistakes… It was probably also the fact that I was a newlywed working full-time, and was really learning how to live life as "an adult." My time, therefore, was very limited, and I gradually stopped knitting.

Back in Alabama Again

After my husband graduated law school, we moved to Montgomery, AL. While living there, my husband studied and passed the bar, I started graduate school, and I got pregnant. Sometime during my pregnancy I tried knitting again. This time, it was the demands of preparing for a child that really distracted me from knitting. (Plus the usual problems of mistakes, I'm sure.) I spent my entire pregnancy purging our junk out of our small apartment, cleaning, organizing, and other wise "nesting."

The next part of my life gets very happy, but also pretty complicated. Several big things happened in our life: Sadly, during my pregnancy, my Dad passed away. This was obviously a very difficult time. After our deepest sorrow, God blessed us with our deepest joy: our wonderful daughter, Cosette. She is the light of our life! Next, I found out that I am adopted. (It is a great thing! I hope to share that story with you someday.) And last but not least, Nathan decided to go into patent law, we moved to Huntsville, AL, and moved in with my in-laws. Yes, you guessed it, life got really….really…hectic.

Our Life Now, and my Re-Introduction to Knitting

We are now in what I believe is the busiest and most challenging part of our life so far, and knitting has become a huge blessing to me in the midst of it all. My husband works and goes to school for about 12 hours each day, comes home and eats dinner, and then studies until about 12-2 AM. This means that I do everything else, plus work at a local museum on a lot of Saturdays. (I won't go into the long list and bore you. I am sure your lists are all long as well.)

It is a struggle to keep it all going smoothly, and definitely has its ups and downs. There seem to be really great times, and also some low times. But, all in all, we are working together in order to reach this goal, and I am very grateful for this opportunity.

It was about a month ago (July 22) that I visited my Mom in Birmingham. Ahhh...relaxation! No chores; no long lists of things to do; and an organized, clean, homey place to stay. I had been feeling overwhelmed, and this “vacation” was just what I needed. It was so wonderful at my Mom's and so wonderful to get to see her. It was while I was at my Mom's that she suggested that we knit dishcloths in the evenings while watching movies. I really liked the sound of that!

My Mom briefly gave me a refresher course on casting on, knitting, etc. It came back to me rather quickly, as I had over the years gotten used the “knit” and to the “purl” stitches. I was so excited to be working on my first dishcloth!

That first dishcloth became the first knitted project that I have completed. I am so proud of that dishcloth, as misshapen as it is!

Here it is, my first completed knitted project (I haven't woven in the ends yet.):

Here is a close up of my knitting from the washcloth:

Addicted to Knitting

Well, that dishcloth got me hooked, and I now consider myself a Knitting Junkie. My Mom is like a knitting pusher who enables my habit. She has given me the knowledge and appreciation of knitting, a lot of yarn, needles, and has even gotten me into Ravelry.com, which is an addiction all to itself. I now take my knitting everywhere I go, and I try to knit during any spare moment (when I can’t do my chores yet my hands are free). I get excited that I may have to wait at the doctor’s office or ride in the car for any length of time, because it means that I get to knit! I am really hooked!

The End of the Beginning

And that is the long and short history of my knitting journey so far. I can’t wait to share with you more details of my first projects, and my new-found love of knitting.

Please visit me and my Mom on www.Ravelry.com . My username: Faith717 My Mom’s Username: KnitAddict934 (See, I told you she was a knitting pusher!)

Have a great night!



  1. excellent wash cloth! :) I think all beginners should do wash clothes. They're fast and easy and something useful is created! You practice increases, decreases, purling, knitting and yarn overs too. Forget scarves for beginners! :)

  2. Thanks so much! I know they are not much, but I am so excited to be finishing my first knitting projects.
    My thoughts exactly about beginners starting out with wash/dishcloths. In fact, I am planning on writing a whole post about that very thing soon. I don't know if I would have ever really gotten into knitting without them.

  3. What a wonderful post. Like you, I knitted off and on for many years. Then finally, a few years ago, I got hooked. Now, most of my "free" time is spent on knitting and knitting-related projects.

    I love your blog and look forward to reading more.

  4. Faith,

    Many thanks for your appreciated comment! As to your question, I'll do my best to answer helpfully. =)

    The only thing with which a beginning mitten knitter may have difficulty is increasing between a stitch, or "make one" (m1). This method is incorporated while forming the thumb's gusset. The Lion Brand website has an excellent source of tutorials; here are their particular instructions: click here. Other required techniques include knitting in the round, knitting in a rib pattern for the cuff (k1, p1), and decreasing. The pattern I use also indicates a need for stitch markers. However, I, personally, have found the process simpler without them. =)

    I do hope my information was logical enough! =D Please, if there's any further help I might give you, let me know; I'll be very happy to share what knowledge I can.

    Sincerely in Christ,

    Miss Naomi

  5. Thank you so much Naomi! I really appreciate your information about mittens! It gives me a good idea of what it takes to make them. I hope at some point in the not-too-distant future I may tackle my first mitten. :)

  6. Thanks so much coolmoonyogaknits! I like your site and the socks you are working on! I think socks would be a really interesting thing to knit. I love wearing the ones my Mom has knit for me. :)