Thursday, July 03, 2008

Has It Really Only Been This Long?

I skipped yesterday's post because I have been working on this one. Today marks a big day in my life. No, it's not my birthday and it's not the day DF and I started dating or got engaged. It's the day that I met a very special person in my life who ended up teaching me about fiber and who tried to teach me how to crochet, but was as puzzled as I was when my first crochet pieces turned into bird's nests instead of flat fabric. Four years ago, I met Kim. I can't mention her full name on here since her profession requires her to not be blatantly on the internet like that, but when Kim reads this, she'll know who she is.

It all started in college. It was summer time and I really didn't want to be in classes, but I had to be. If I was going to finish college on time and without going into debt, I had to take these classes. One of them was second year Spanish. Anyone who knows me knows that I am perpetually early to everything. So much so that it sometimes drives people crazy. So I walk into class, fully expecting to be the first one there, and there in the front row is this woman. She has a hook in one hand, yarn in the other, and is just crocheting up a storm. I sit behind her and she whips around and asks me if I am a good student. I told her I thought I was and we decided we would be study partners for this class, especially since both of us were early and concerned about our grades.

After a rather comical mock interview with Frida Kahlo (this is just for Kim since it was just me, her, and the teacher who witnessed this fiasco of broken Spanish), I finally asked Kim to show me how to crochet. I has come under a little stress around then and she always talked about how doing that seemed to keep her sane, so I figured what the hell. After class, we drove over to Michael's where Kim introduced me to Susan Bates crochet hooks (which I still swear are the best hooks around), and helped me pick out the yarn to make my friend a baby blanket. We then headed over to my house, sat down, and Kim showed me how to chain. Yeah, I was good at chaining. The rest I rather sucked at.

She had to go before we got to the end of a row, so I continued to try to crochet. For some reason though, my rows were getting shorter and eventually looked more like a nest than a piece of fabric. Conveniently, I had a bird at the time and gave her the crummy piece of crap which she turned into a toilet anyways.

I got frustrated and put the yarn away. The class ended, and I still didn't have a decent piece of frabric. I even confounded Kim with my problems, so I broke down and bought a book on how to crochet. I remember the moment it finally all clicked. It was something magical. I chained, single crocheted, and lo and behold, chained before turning, and created a straight row. I created another straight row. Soon the rows began to pile up and I had about 10 inches on my first scarf. Sure, it was made out of crappy acrylic, and sure it didn't look pretty, but hey, it was my first scarf. I continued for two days on the scarf until I had about six feet. I decided it looked horrid and told one of my coworkers what I thought about it. She thought it was unique since I had made it, so she took it and used it. When Luanne died, I helped go through some of her things, and there were the two scarves I had made her. One was the crummy green acrylic one and the other was the Harry Potter Gryphindor scarf. I cherish them both.

I immediately decided after knitting my first scarf that I needed better yarn. The Red Heart was scratchy and it hurt my hands after a while, so I trotted down to Michael's (yeah, took me 2 years before I learned there were yarn stores....) and bought some Lion Brand Chennille Thick and Quick. I pumped out a scarf in about two hours with that stuff. I liked it so much that I went back and made another. I was obsessed from the very beginning.

Fast forward a year and once again, Kim was doing something that was catching my eye. She was using two sticks instead of one hook. I asked her what she was doing and she told me that her friend Jane had gotten her addicted to making knitted felted bags. I liked how flat the fabric was, so I decided I needed to learn to knit too. I ran to Michael's that afternoon, bought a book and a Boye Needlemaster set (yeah, figured I would get addicted, so might as well get a bunch of needles), and by the end of the day, I had made a really crappy garter stitch blob. I won't even call it a thing because it resembled nothing I had ever seen. I made the mistake of putting it down and then picking it up again, but didn't realize where the yarn needed to be. So inadvertantly, I made a bunch of short rows.

That was all it took. I was addicted to both knitting and crocheting, and I can blame it all on Kim. Now, want to help out on some of my debts since I know that there's some that was fiber related? :oP

I have definitely gotten better at both since three and four years ago. The knitting and crocheting has gotten me through a lot. The adage of I Knit So I Do Not Kill People is more true than I care to admit. It's kept me sane through a lot of stuff in the past few years, but more importantly, it has helped me to make new friends. Kim even introduced me to the blogging community, so blame her for that too :oP I don't know what I would do without you guys! Just to see a comment pop up and know that someone took the time to read about what I was doing is the most strangely comforting feeling sometimes. It fascinates me that anyone would want to read my rambling thoughts as it is, much less my addiction to all things fiber related.
I may have gotten better, but the crochet and knitting fates don't let me forget that they still rule. Point in case:

My first attempt at a felted slipper crochet pattern from two nights ago. Uh, yeah, still needs some work...

But I'm also reminded that I have improved when I see something like this:

A pair of Broad Street Mittens out of my own handspun. Four years ago, I would never have dreamed that I would be spinning my own yarn, much less making something that actually resembles what I want it to look like.

You guys rock! Thanks for sticking with me for over 2 years of blogging and 4 years of fiber-ing!

Knit on...


Dana said...

It's always so great when I get to hear people's "I learned to knit because of..." stories. You are a fantastic craftsperson, and I really admire all of the things you've made. Congrats on your crochet-o-versary! ;)

Plain Jane said...

Kim is a super neat lady! We've been friends since back in the days of the RIME network (pre-internet) when I was trying to help her learn to knit via emails. {g}