Friday, February 26, 2010

12 Skills in a Year - January (Knitting)

As part of my New Year's resolution this year, I decided (among other things) to try to learn and practice one new skill each month.

For January, I took up knitting. It's something that I have always wanted to learn, and even tried a few times with the help of a "teach yourself to knit" book ... only to wind up with a tangled mess of yarn not even suitable for a pompom.

But this time ... I did it, and I discovered a new hobby that I thoroughly enjoy! In fact, it's now almost the end of February and I am STILL knitting things. I continue to look for fairly simple projects that I can complete in a few days, but I have a couple of ideas for giveaways and Christmas presents that will take a bit longer. Anyway ... here is how I did it, in case you also want to learn to knit:

1. First, I bought needles (size 8) and yarn. What I learned from this step is to buy simple, yet fairly soft yarn, or you won't want to work with it for any project. The yarn I purchased was inexpensive and very scratchy and hurt my dry-winter hands something FIERCE. And, had I actually completed that scarf I never would have worn it.
2. Next, I checked out a TON of Knitting books from my local library. At the beginning, I really didn't learn anything worthwhile out of any of the books. I couldn't find any that really explained each stitch; the pictures were not helpful at all.
3. Not to be deterred, I turned to the internet. Specifically, to YouTube. And this is where I experienced my breakthrough. Now, there are several videos out there, and I did a LOT of searching/watching before finally getting the hang of the first steps, so don't give up! I wish I would have saved the link to the videos I used because the camera angles and the instructions were perfect, but I cannot locate them anymore. If I find them, I'll definitely post them later.
4. After practicing casting on and knitting for a while, I knitted a full scarf! Wa-hoo! It wasn't perfect, but I learned from my mistakes. Then, I went back to the knitting books from the library, and everything started to make sense. Since then, I've learned several new techniques, and I'm trying them out all over the place (more photos to come later).

I've gotta say, I really got hooked on this skill/hobby, and it's not one that I will likely ever "give up". It's perfect for me to relax at the end of the day, or on breaks at work ... and you just oughta see the little old ladies smile at me while I'm knitting at the doctors office.

More to come on the knitting adventures on a later post, but let me know if you are interested in learning and have any questions! I'll be glad to share whatever tips/tricks I've learned so far!

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