Normally, I’m all for artistic integrity and all that jazz, but I’m combining my reports of my third and fourth knitting class because I’m tired and lazy. But please, just hear me out before you lay the smack down. See, a couple days after my third knitting class my mom needed an emergency appendectomy. Funny how that will change everyone’s plans in a hurry.
After mom’s surgery and the ensuing hospital stay, my loving sister and her four-month-old baby came for a visit to make sure mom was recovering. That also changed plans in a hurry because I needed to do a whole lot of cleaning in the vain attempt to prove that we weren’t making mom convalesce in a pigsty. My sister still pointed out dust on the piano bench. And, as a person without kids, I learned just how very little you can get done in the course of a day when you are also trying to keep a baby happy.
So, in knitting, as with the rest of life, stitch happens.
But now things are mostly back to normal and I feel shamed for not recording my knitting adventures sooner.
By our third class something strange came over our knitting class—conversation. Up to that point we were so focused on trying to learn to cast on, to knit, to purl, to knit and purl in the same row, and not to screw up the pattern, that we were pretty quiet. But during that third class we started talking and getting to know each other a little better. Oh, and we shared a lot of restaurant recommendations.
Two of the women in our knitting class work in nursing. While neither of them works in a hospital setting, they are also routinely seeing people who are not at their best. And, by “not at their best” I mean that the people they see frequently act like jerks. So these ladies thought learning to knit might be a nice way to wind down, let go, and focus on something completely different after a day that may have included senile old men calling them names.
And that brings me to the discovery of a surprising sense of community I’ve found in knitting class. I don’t want to go all psycho-social about this, but I probably will. In a time when so much of our lives are now digitally connected and lived, it is surprising just how lonely and temporary we can feel. Not even that long ago, it wasn’t rare or unusual to know how to do several different kinds of handcrafts or hobbies and to gather in groups to do them. But that isn’t the case anymore. I’m not saying that the technological changes that have added convenience to our lives and made it so easy to chat with someone on the other side of the world are evil or destroying our relationships or anything like that. All I’m saying is that in our rush to embrace the next disposable technology, we’ve ignored the simple joy of making something you can touch and hold while talking to people, people who are in the same room as you, about your day or your life.
Okay, I’m fairly sure I’m done dissecting social constructs in the post-modern digital world.
As you might expect with all the stuff that I’ve had going on, I got behind in my knitting. Seriously behind in my knitting. There’s no way I’m going to be able to finish this sweater by the end of the class. However, my yarn shop is really flexible offering regular help hours throughout the week and additional classes geared toward finishing projects. That is great because, so far, I have finished only the back panel of my sweater.
The back panel is probably the single biggest piece of this project. I say probably because the arms could be kind of large too. In finishing the back panel I learned to bind off and decrease to shape the armholes. I was struggling to keep track of how many decrease rows I had knit because I was listening to a tip on a good Ecuadorian restaurant when my teacher gave me a good knitting tip. She said, for a beginner, it is easier to simply count stitches rather than to try to remember how many decrease or increase rows you have done. Great knitting tip and the Ecuadorian place is good too.
Next class I start on one of the front panels of my sweater. Here’s hoping I can get the bottom border to be the same width as I made it on the back panel.