The benefit of rain and cold (it was only cold if you live there, for me it was sandal weather) is that it makes for a nice backdrop to knitting. This visit I taught my parents - who are due to retire in about 1 year - how to knit. Turns out that they're likely moving to Asheville when they do retire, you know, land of the fiber arts. So no time like the present.
We went to the 2 local yarn stores and spent some time talking about wool and needles and everything else. I was reminded by how huge the world of knitting really is. At this point, the craft is a kind of language I take for granted (unless I encounter an issue, of course). But for newbies, this can be daunting.
We only breezed by Ravelry - my parents are not social media types and they love to hate the computer. I did show them some motivational blogs (Brooklyn Tweed amongst them). They loved Heather's latest post about her new, aunt-made sweater.
For my parents, we bought some beautiful Peruvian worsted-weight yarn (of course, I didn't write down the info so I have to wait for my mum to send me a pic of the tag). My mother chose a grey mauve and my father a charcoal grey. In retrospect, it would have been easier to teach on light yarn so we went back and bought a ball of light grey/blue acrylic stuff, just for practice. I put together a pattern for simple rib bordered, stockinette scarf for each of them to use up 500 yards of said yarn. So far they're still practicing their stitches.
FWIW, in 4 days, we focused on this:
- Cast on and bind off
- Knit stitch
- Purl stitch
- How to pick up a dropped knit or purl stitch
- How to knit or purl back stitches (tinking) when you make a mistake
- How to "view" the fabric to understand what's going on
- Stockinette pattern
- Garter pattern
I will corroborate (yet again) that one's knitting style is, fundamentally, a metaphor. My mother was quick to learn and easily frustrated. She "gained" a few extra stitches every few rows. Her tension is naturally even. My father was very serious and technical. He always maintained stitch count and made perfect stitches - at the peril of momentum, natch. Of course, one's initial approach in no way dictates one's journey. It's just a moment in time. But it was interesting to observe (and to manage as a teacher) and it makes me want to remember how I felt about learning this craft. Fortunately, I've got it all on this blog so I think I'm going to take a trip down memory lane. Knowing me, I treated it like a test - and I LOVE tests - cuz, apparently, I'm a bit competitive with myself. Hmmm...
Hilariously, whenever I was upbeat and gave positive feedback, they laughed at me and told me I was acting like a kindergarten teacher.
They kindly bought me some gorgeous yarn (that I'd never before come across):
|Classic Elite MountainTop Chalet|
The yarn is quite reasonably priced, IMO, given its quality but to make this shawl will set you back about @75 USD. So it's not a cheap garment. Mind you, who needs a freakin' soft, bias-knit wrap more than me?!?
My mother wanted to make this but we convinced her to wait until her second project. The combo of the chain-stitch construction of the yarn (which is in NO way visible in the final knit garment, btw) and the need to understand how to create increases and decreases - not to mention the very drapey nature of the wool - would have been a recipe in frustration, I suspect. Happily, this yarn is readily available in beautiful, natural colourways, so my mum has her next project sorted.
It's a mark of how lovely it was that I was bamboozled into bringing it into the stash - esp. since it's bulky-weight (a yarn-weight I like in principle, but that I don't gravitate towards in practice). The chain construction really does give it an airy quality so it's not a heavy yarn, even given its gauge.
But to totally switch gears...
...I'll leave you with a small story about a very exciting purchase, my newest Arche sandals:
|Arche Exor Sandal|
Let me just say, these shoes are not cheap and cheerful. They're a current style and I'm not in Europe during the July sales. They set me back $375 USD / $450 CDN, which is a totally absurd price for a pair of sandals, I realize. But here's the thing: They are totally sexy. They are elegant. They work with EVERYTHING (jeans, check / dresses, check / pants, check / skirts, check). They look perfect on my feet. Really. And they're like walking on fucking clouds for 5 miles - first time out. I took them off after a night out - and a day of air travel - and my feet were in perfect shape. Not the slightest sign of friction, let alone a blister.
To have such perfection, one is inclined to pay.
I need shoes that I can walk to and fro in with ease (my ever-maturing feet are my car, peeps) and I cannot bring myself to look anything less than chic as I amble down the street with my cute outfit and a cappuccino. Look, perhaps I should be more chill about things, but this is a time in my life when I'm not feeling particularly comfortable in my skin. If a pair of pricey shoes can up my game, then I'm going to pay and walk on.
But here are today's questions: What was your learning-to-knit personality? Has it changed over time? Did you hate learning to knit but now you love knitting? Have you worked with the Chalet yarn? Did you like it? (The reviews on Ravelry are universally positive.) And what about pricey shoes? Where do you stand on that? Let's talk!