Being a self-taught, self-contained knitter has been hard. I could have found many things out by doing what a great deal of knitters seem to do, and that is knit from patterns. But I hate following patterns. Hate, hate, hate following patterns. Did you get that? And before I really knew I hated it, I was stymied by not having access to knitting books and patterns.
When I first tried to learn to knit 20 or so years ago, I was working off of needlework pamphlets from Woolworth’s. When I finally figured how to crochet, which was over 10 years before I learned to knit, Woolworth’s was gone and I was stuck going to the only wool shop that was accessible by public transportation back in those dark days, Woolcott & Co., in Cambridge, MA. They didn’t have many books, but I was able to pick up a couple of stitch dictionaries, two “Harmony Guides,” one being the “100 crochet stitches” and a second, “another 100 knit stitches.”
On top of this I was on the poorer side of the poverty curve and I was stymied by fear. With so little to spend on yarn I was wracked with yarn fear, which still haunts me even today. I fear not buying enough yarn; I fear buying too much yarn; I fear not having the interest to finish a project so convince myself not to start; and back then I feared never making anything those snooty Woolcott people would consider acceptable. Bleh! Fear.
Being a lot younger, and all alone, it was easy to fall into these self-disapprobation traps. But I was meant to knit so I could never fully succumb to the fears and eventually I learned how to learn and learned how to allow myself to fail. It also helped that by 2000 we had a car and the crafting craze was in full force so we had an A.C. Moore, and then a Michael’s, right in my exurban neighborhood.
Between 2002 and really, just this year, I shied away from the net. I had had a bad experience with making cyber friends at a game forum back then. This had soured me something fierce. Plus we had a real-life “thing’ to deal with so again I plugged away at knitting with a couple of basic pamphlets and stitch books with little outside influence.
Things seem to change this spring. We had finally reached a settled state in our a new home, the real life “thing” was over, and I could return to knitting and I was ready to open myself up to the knitting world beyond. With FIOS we now had the DIY network so I could TIVO Knitty Gritty. And I returned to reading Crazy Aunt Purl’s blog. But this time I didn’t stop at her little corner of the web, I went searching and was bowled over by the sheer magnitude of the knitting blogosphere.
I understood knitting had become popular, which I gauged on Joann Fabrics now carrying yarn, but really, I had no friggin’ idea knitting was that big.
And now I just love me some blog stalkin’.
And the whole point of these musings is that I’ve learned many helpful tips in the past month or so. And the one striking AHA! bit came from reading maryse’s blog bag ‘n’ trash. She made a post about weighing yarn and it was a big D’OH! moment for me. It had never dawned on me that the weight info on the yarn package had any use. Then on Knitty Gritty there was a knit bit about figuring if you had enough yarn left by weighing what portion you had already knit. Geesh! My biggest yarn fear in starting a sweater erased. After years and years, it’s good to let that go.
So I went out and bought a cheapie 2lb food scale and just yesterday weighed this sweater. (Can you believe that was the best picture out of 5!) I had made the sweater with leftover yarn from a granny square throw of Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece. I made the throw about 10 years ago, the sweater about four years ago. I ran out of the main color 6/8’s of the way down, as you can plainly see, so I wound up using another color to finish it off. I called it ‘STYLE’ rather than yarn fuck up. See, I’ve come a long way baby. I have.
The sweater weighs 18 oz. With a little googling of “weight conversion grams to ounces” I found a handy web converter. Seems 50 grams (a standard yarn weight) equals 1.76369 oz. The cotton fleece comes in 100 gram yanks, so to make a similar sweater in cotton fleece I will need 510.29 grams, or over 5 yanks. I am such a nerd because I think that is the coolest MATHS ever!
Me loves me some internets!