knit all the things

It once was I would see a pattern I’d want to knit, pop a post-it on the magazine page (this was before ravelry even existed you see), then take myself off to LewisCraft (ok, dating myself HORRIBLY with that admission!), and pick out what I though was a comparative yarn.  I used to (shudder) do this by picking something I liked & checking it against the pictures of (actual size) yarns used for projects to see if it matched. I’d buy the needles and home I’d go, to cast on.

No, I did not knit a gauge swatch. I’d never heard of the beasts.

So I’m sure if any knitters happen to read this entry you’ll be chuckling t yourselves and imaging just what kind of results I might have got. and you’d be right!

Any wonder I gave up on it after a couple of years?

When I was pregnant with kiddo however, I was hit with the desire to knit him some things.  I had another disaster with a sweater, and wisely decided on a baby blanket next.  Gauge does NOT much matter for a baby blanket I’ve found!

I was given a stitch dictionary as a gift the year kiddo was born and that made a WORLD of difference to my knitting.

I learned what a gauge swatch was.  I learned there was more than one way to cast on!  More than one way to decrease. I learned MANY things from that wonderful book.

Not too long after the book came Wanda.  Wanda knit socks.  Beautiful socks.  Many, many socks.  She kindly took me under her wing and showed me how to cast on to fiddly dpns.  She held my hand (well not literally!) as I nervously turned my first heel.  She talked about CHANGING and TINKERING with patterns!  She led me to Lens Mills Store, where there was a lovely selection of sock yarn.  From Wanda, I learned that my knitting is NOT the boss of me!

After finishing my first pair of socks, I was enamoured.  I made more.  I experimented with circular needles.  I searched out knitting blogs and discovered Wendy Johnson’s toe-up socks.  Magic!!!  I started building a wee stash of sock yarn.  i attempted a hat for kiddo and it FIT! I stumbled across the Yarn Harlot and learned even more about the joy and frustration and love of knitting. somewhere in the blogosphere I learned about a new craft website called ravelry.

Ravelry made my head EXPLODE! the patterns!!!!  I spent DAYS browsing the patterns and drooling and queuing things up.  I ventured timidly into the forums.  I learned about alpaca. and merino wool. and acrylic vs natural fibre. I learned out Yarn Stores and visited the two in my town.  All of a sudden, I had a Stash.

I started a lace scarf.  Discovered it’s not the easiest thing to concentrate on with a toddler around.  So cast on for socks, which by now I could do in my sleep.  Wait.  TWO projects on the needles at the SAME time???  *GASP*!

Well …. any knitter know how it goes from there!  Today I have TWO rubbermaid bins of yarn plus a small basket of sock yarn.  I have two different socks actively on the needles, a shawl I’m halfway through, a Beekeeper’s Quilt puff just started, and probably half a dozen other projects on needles that I’m planning to get back to soonish.  I want to swatch for a sweater in the next few days and have just promised kiddo another sweater.  I may have said something about making my niece and nephew Christmas gifts and then there’s the softer-than-a-kitten’s-butt cashmere that jumped into my hands that is begging to be made into a soft cowl fr chilly mornings … and yeah. I want to knit ALL the things.  From project monogamy by the rules to gleeful make it my own knitting slut.

and proud of it.

Poor Neglected Blog

Boy have I been absent from here! To make a very long story short, for anyone still following this thing who doesn’t already know, I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis this summer. It’s not been a fun few months, and I don’t seem to be responding yet to the meds, which is frustrating.

Learning to live with chronic pain and fatigue has been extremely challenging.  My limits can vary greatly from day-to-day, making it hard to plan. I’ve been off work for about five months now, and that was a surprisingly difficult adjustment.  I bet many people think they’d welcome such a break from their jobs, but trust me, it has NOT been a vacation! Doctor appointments, specialist appointments, blood work, testing, fighting with the insurance company, on top of trying to cope with daily life when suddenly every task has become so much harder, when many taken for granted things have become difficult or even impossible.  Something as simple as walking can cause me a great deal of pain, and my main hobbies of reading, photography and knitting have become things I have to really limit in my day, even having days where holding a book, a camera, or trying to work a few stitches is too much.

I had a couple of good weeks in the early Fall and I’m thankful I got a bit of a break.  I’m disappointed to be struggling as much as I am now and for the moment the doctors are unsure how much is weather related, how much is the RA, and how much is perhaps something else.

Learning to “roll with it” is not easy for me.  I am big on Control and Plans and Taking Charge.  I believe in hard work, in “pulling up your socks”, in 3 month plans, in 5 year plans, in saving for a rainy day … and life is just laughing at me right now it feels like! Hopefully soon I’ll get to the point where I can laugh back at life more!