Take your sanity where you can find it

When I was six or seven my mother first introduced me to needlework. First it was silk embroidery, but that called for a very fine hand and as I was new to the art, I pulled way too tight.

Next up was cross-stitch and I literally took to it like a duck to water. My mother's house is filled to the brim with all manner of cross-stitched pieces from a framed Indian war chief to Santa Claus on a pillow to a finely woven afghan with pictures on Hummel pieces on it.

I think I was eight when my grandmother (Mama Essie) and her sister (Great-Aunt Jewel) taught me how to knit and crochet. I learned how to cast on (incorrectly) and knit the garter stitch (also, as it turns out, incorrectly through the back loop), and make damned Granny Squares in crochet. While the knowledge (such as it was) stuck, I never really did much of anything with it, except for an occasional scarf here and there.

Cross-stitch was my passion for close thirty-years. I stitched all through my school years, including college and law school. I stitched my way through getting married and having children. As my mother-in-law was an avid needlepointer, I learned to needlepoint, too, although I looked upon it as a high-class form of cross-stitch done on canvas rather than linen and with exquisitely expensive threads in silks and wool.

For most of my life my needlework has provided me with a quiet balance to my overbearing Type A personality. As I child I remember people commenting on the pieces in my parents' home, as well as their television store, all the while assuming my "quiet" sister had done them all. When it was pointed out which of the children had created them, a "I'm surprised she had the patience to do that" usually accompanied an extremely skeptical look.

For all her quiet, my sister has never engaged in any sort of creative outlook. She was a reader, but not of fine fiction. For over thirty years she has read and continues to read Harlequin Romances. Perhaps an in-depth character assassination of that topic would better be left for another day.

My interest in knitting was renewed only last fall. My mother was visiting with us and I was looking for an activity which would allow her to sit, rather than run around scrubbing my patio with a toothbrush in search of something to do. An excellent seamstress, I took her to a fabric store to buy patterns and material to keep her busy.

As she was shopping to her heart's content (she loves to spend son-in-law's money), I wandered over to the books and found a copy of Scarf Style in my hands. As I flipped through it I came across the most beautiful wrap done in an entrelac pattern.

Knowing the pattern greatly exceeded my knitting knowledge, I bought the book anyway.

Instead of starting the pattern right away, I decided to actually learn how to knit properly and without any yarn shops in the immediate area, that only meant one thing: More books.

Yes, I actually bought books before I touched the first skein of yarn. My way has always been to thoroughly research a topic before diving in and doing anything.

Well, it has almost been a year and I am most happy to report that thanks to knitting I remain as close to sane as I have ever been. I have also completed thirty-six different projects and the lovely entrelac wrap is very close to completion. In just a few short days I will be able to proudly (and warmly) wrap it around me as I seek to further conquer the world around me. (Do not say you have not been warned.)

All wool aside, the very best part of this journey are the two very, very dear friends who have decided to join me.

For those of you I love who do not knit, you have a vital role to play, as well. It is you who must proudly wear what we knit.

It looks good on you, really.


I can vouch for the "it looks good on you" comment. Cause seriously? It does. I, taking a less intelligent approach to knitting, simply cast-on and away I went, though I've been doing my research sinec. Scarves are making quite a show in my house with easy shawls coming on soon. As I love the shawl pictured here . . . perhaps I will need to think of trying it soon as well!
Feisty said…
Oh, Yay!

It is actually a very easy pattern. Knit, purl, P2tog, SSK, M1 and pick up stitches. There you go!

I have a free scarf pattern I can share, too.

; )
Rich Knits? said…
You guys rock. I have yet to attempt purl...
Feisty said…
Yes, Rich, but when you do...look out!

; )

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