Are you ready for the story of my first-ever knitting project? Let’s go back in time to 2006.
[insert time travel music and hand signals here. deedle-ooh, deedle-ooh, deedle-ooh.]
It all started in a small Northern California town known for its almonds. Or, as Californians like to say: ah-mands. You learn something new everyday.
We were having a typical California Central Valley winter (read: rainy). Almond town is just south of the Sierra Nevada mountain range where high snowfall is common. To cope with vast amounts of time spent indoors, I decided to pick up a new hobby: knitting.
For several days I had been intently watching a friend of mine take variegated pastel yarn and magically morph it into a blanket. There is something intensely mesmerizing about watching someone wiggle two sticks in the air while wrapping yarn around, and around, and around, creating an object seemingly from thin air. At least I thought so.
After awkwardly lingering and making non-committal conversation about her project for a few minutes, I decided that I just had to ask her to show me how to knit. Much to my relief, she said yes. Our conversation went a little something like this:
Knitting Master: Do you have needles or yarn?
Me: Uh, nope.
Knitting Master: Go get needles and whatever yarn you want. Only then, young padawan, will you be ready to learn.
I am exaggerating here, but you get the idea. Knitting Master (hereafter KM) essentially told me to buy whatever I wanted, right? She must have had confidence in my ability to do so. And if she thought I could, I definitely could.
I spent three agonizing hours at the store deciding what to buy. Eventually, size 9 bright pink metal needles made it into my cart along with two skeins of acrylic yarn. One blue, one red. I had decided to surprise my new boyfriend with a scarf in colors to match his favorite comic book hero, Spider-Man. I mean, why learn how to knit and purl (hello boring) when you can jump straight into two colors? Exactly. I am glad you agree.
KM was waiting for me when I got back home that night. We sat down at the kitchen table and she taught me how to cast on. It was my first step into a larger world. We then practiced knitting for what felt like hours. Back and forth, row after row. Awkward as it was at first, I quickly adapted to holding metal sticks and yarn in my hands simultaneously. Satisfied with a job well done, KM left for the night.
At this point I decided to take things to the next level. I cut the current yarn and started knitting with the other color until the current block somewhat matched the previous one in size. Continuing in this fashion, I managed to create a (mostly) straight piece of fabric about five feet long.
It was at this moment that I had a horrible realization: KM taught me how to start a project, but she did not teach me how to finish. Crazed thoughts were going through my head. I cannot stop now! There were questions that I could not answer. Should I leave the project as is until KM can teach me what to do next? There were also ridiculous reactions. I know, I will start over completely so that I do not have to stop knitting tonight.
Logic (or was it exhaustion) got the best of me and I decided to, quite simply, continue knitting until I ran out of yarn.
At 4:00am I knit my last bit of yarn. Holes littered the garter stitch landscape. Long threads from each color transition dangled tauntingly on the wobbly ends. I had inadvertently dropped and added stitches in several spots. And you know what? I was the happiest little knitter in all the land.
The next day was a blur. I tracked KM down, learned how to bind off and then gifted the scarf to my boyfriend. I felt like a small child that had just given someone mud pie. Aren’t you going to take a taste? I made it just for you! He did not utter one word. Instead, he wrapped (and wrapped, and wrapped) the scarf around his neck until it created a barrier just shy of a foot deep. And then, he wore the scarf all day long. It made me so proud.
That was 2006. These days I design my own patterns and have knit (and re-knit) countless items. I will always look back with pride on the project that started it all.
What was your first project?