I began knitting in seminary. A mentor suggested I take up a hobby that has a beginning, middle and end, because in ministry, you never have any idea of when you have finished anything. The longer I do this, the greater the wisdom I see. Knitting is perfect, because you can do neat projects and give your friends nice hats and scarves. That's about as far as I've gotten in my knitting extravaganza. Apparently, to knit a hat in the round is something that even the most beginner of beginning knitters could master in a few hours. I've actually memorized the pattern. It goes like this: cast on 48 or 60 or 72 or so stitches (depending on the yarn used and the size of the head intended, but make sure it's divisible by 6), knit in round until project is 6 inches long, then start to decrease six stitches every other row until you're knitting one, then 2 together (that would be K1, K2tog for you knitting divas ... but then again, if you know knitspeak you probably have long mastered this kind of project). Cut thread about 6 inches, pull through remaining stitches and weave ends in. Ta-da!
It's not pretty or patterned, but they are pretty cute. And I can do them in any color. Some time ago I knitted hats for all of the educators in the department where I work in my sideline gig, as well as hats for the kids of our local clinic staff. It was GREAT! Knitting a scarf is just as easy - just cast on however many stitches you want for the width of the scarf you want, and knit until the scarf is long enough. Then cast off. Again, there's no real pattern but it's awfully functional.
This current mania started with a project I purchased in January and have only just now gotten to start. It's a cute little purse from Lion's Brand...and it was labeled "easy +" so I thought I might be able to handle the challenge. Once I *finally* printed out the pattern and looked at it, I realized I was in way over my head. The first step that got me was when it said to "pivot work and pick up stitches." Huh?
My "Knitter's Companion" was no help - the first time it's ever let me down! I asked Pope Laura the Beneficent if she knew what that meant, and when we got together I showed her the work. She explained what she thought it meant, and I was deeply suspicious. Not of her, just of why this would be done. But I tried it, and after working a few rows I started to see what it was - the base of a purse. Then it started to make sense.
Did I mentioned I've never worked a pattern before? Much less a pattern with more than one ball of yarn? I had no idea how to do that....so it was off to Holy Knitter for some advice. She also gave good wisdom that I didn't fully understand, but when I started to follow her directions, it again made good sense. And she told me I was doing it correctly after I asked her to check my work, so that helped. But "easy +" - not so much. Either that or I should go back to "beginner."
I've since learned that Lion's Brand patterns go in this order: beginner, easy, easy +, intermediate....and God only knows what's after intermediate, because I doubt I'll ever graduate from easy+. I did download another patterns for a baby hat and one for a "baby playdate sweater" - not for me, but for my THREE FRIENDS who are all having (or have recently had) babies in 2009. The patterns both said "easy" but I'm a little suspicious. Any time you have to knit and purl in the same row ... well....hrmph.
I'll post pictures as I finish projects, in case you're interested. The purse needs to be "felted" after it's finished, which I presume will make it look a lot better than it currently looks....The hats, however, should be pretty easy, and I'll figure out if I want to do the playdate hoodie for any kid I know. My godson needs something cute, now that I think of it.....