Anything But Practical| Crafting and Inspiration

The Beginning: The Best Book Ever to Learn Knitting and Crochet

Anything But Practical

Monday, December 28, 2015

Way back in the day, I worked third shift in a factory, assembling wax floatwalls to sprues for casting. I was 21, had no children, and lived with my sister. If you don't think that's lonely and boring, you haven't done it. Once I had finished building my epic yard sale kitchenware collection, perfecting the Gorgonzola and chicken omelet, and had worn out a couple pairs of sneakers taking lonely walks around the NH mill town I paid my rent in, I needed something to do. Something to while away the time that I couldn't justify spending on making margaritas on the rocks and watching the same two Eddie Izzard DVD's over and over again. So I got this book (ISBN 0-7621-0405-8), a soft skein of black yarn, a pack of crochet hooks, and a set of knitting needles, and sat myself on the couch.

Despite the title, this isn't actually a post about how great this book is. It's about my willingness to spend days on a product that I will ultimately frog and rewind and restitch, because the product is actually my pride in mastery. My first project that got tied off was a 12 foot garter stitch scarf (in that same black yarn) with gloriously even, if monotonous, stitches that I wore until it got lost in the depths of a different sister's household. I have three sisters.

So what I did was sit on the couch, look over the directions carefully and make the decision that because crochet requires holding the yarn in the left hand and I was learning both, that I would learn to knit continental. It is a decision I have never regretted, especially after I tried out intarsia and therefore had to learn to knit english style. There's a lot of elbow throwing going on with right hand knitting. Also, as advertised, it really is easier to switch between knit and purl with continental style. The next step was just making... that is, just make a lot of stitches in an unending tape of swatch, flipping through what really is a comprehensive library of stitches whenever I felt like I had a reasonable grasp of what was going on. I did a ten or so foot long swatch of knit first, then crochet and ripped them both out. I recommend this method. I don't have any pictures, but I don't really know why you'd want to see them anyway.