40+ years of knitting

Like most knitters, I've got lots of projects going simultaneously; never have enough sets of needles; keep buying yarn even though I've got tons of unused balls and hanks stashed; and enjoy drooling over the beautiful patterns and items that craft bloggers post -- all the while, plotting more projects. In other words, too much yarn and too little time.

A few weeks back, I was glancing through The Nerd and the Needles blog and saw a photo of a cute little scarf. Every once in a while a pattern hits the craft circle and everybody is making it, gifting it, and/or wearing it. Baktus is one of those. It's nothing fancy or special, but it's fast and easy, and takes very little yarn to complete. There are lots of variations out there -- some are striped, some have a simple lace component added, some are larger, some smaller. Google "baktus" and you'll see what I mean.

Hm, I thought, think I'll try it with that grey sock yarn. Maybe stripe it with the orange sock yarn? Hmmm...

I've been knitting since I was about 10 years old. Sounds impressive, but in reality I had to knit when I was 10 years old. I'd been crocheting, which I really enjoyed because it creatively facilitated my inability to coordinate two-handed projects. That's why I never could play piano. How do you work the left and right hands at the same time?!

The year my dad was in Viet Nam, Nini Belle and I attended German college prep school -- 1. Klasse Oberschule at the Annette-Kolb-Gymnasium in Traunstein. And in the 60's, that meant we'd be learning to knit, crochet lace for hankies, weave baskets, embroider, and all sorts of other things that would ensure that we were proper young ladies -- all for a grade. And 10 was a good age to start building a trousseau, ja? My aunt, Tante Marie, had attended a convent school and had made some of the most beautiful needlework projects, a few of which I still have. Her linens (actual finely woven linen and hemp) were embroidered with her initials, MW (a beautiful combination of letters for artwork), and had hand-made crocheted, tatted, and bobbin lace insets. Just gorgeous. Same with her pillowcases and hankies.

I had hopes and aspirations (severely misplaced, I now realize) of producing similar quality school projects. I could see my teachers oohing and aahing at my natural talent. Mm, wunderbar gestrickt und bestickt. It didn't happen. Oh, my crocheted lace was nice enough - a relatively simple shell pattern crocheted with sewing thread (yes, that fine). But then I had to engage both hands (right and left? at the same time??) for a knitted scarf and hat, and in that two-needle swoop my trousseau dreams were felled. I tried, and cried, and in the end, my mom and grandmother finished my scarf and mittens. They both got passing grades ;)

So, I have been knitting since I was 10, just not continuously. I picked it up again some 20 years ago when I was pregnant with Firefighter. I wanted to make him some booties and sweaters and all the patterns I liked were for kniting. I tried it and it actually wasn't bad. I think my brain-hand-eye coordination benefitted from that 20 year hiatus. Well, if you don't count my first attempt at mittens a few weeks back. One fits me, the other fits J. How embarrassing! I just wasn't paying attention.

I picked up a few beautiful merino lace yarns while we were in Buena Vista, but I'm saving those for something special. Not yet sure what, but Ravelry's got plenty of patterns to choose from. So, maybe the blue sock yarn for the Baktus? Or the malabrigo merino?

I settled on the sock-yarns: a self-striping grey (grey, toffee, pistachio, and pumpkin) alternated with "tequila sunrise" (pumpkin, wine, gold, peach, blue, and olive). Got out some 4.5mm needles and went to it. The original pattern calls for using a skein of yarn, using half of it to increase to the middle, and the remainder to decrease till done. It involves weighing the yarn at the start, then weighing again once you think you're about halfway done so that you have enough to finish. A little too exciting for me, so I just knitted the basic pattern till I had 55 stitches on my needles, then I started the decreases. Larger than the original, but more to my liking. Check out the slide show (on the right side of this page) and let me know what you think. Isn't Sonoma cute? The colors suit her.

The pattern was great for mindless knitting (my kind of knitting) and I had it done in a few evenings. Certainly will be making a few more of these. Maybe I'll try the Karius variation, which is stockinette stitch vs. garter stitch. I even thought about running a cable along the increase / decrease edge, or maybe a leaf pattern. Check out this Karibak (a combination of Karius and Baktus) on Knitorious. Love her yarn choice!!

Have one really special project on the needles. Special project for a special person for a special occasion. When done, it'll contain about 9,000 stitches. Worth every one. You'll see when I'm done and it's gifted.

Do you knit?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks again for the holiday wishes and the comment on my blog--I had to post here to say that you've got me thinking about knitting again! It's been years since I knitted, but I used to do it all the time. I even made a sweater for my hubby the first year we were together. I love your slideshow--colors are so becoming on the pooch! ;)

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