In honor of my 32nd birthday (100000 in binary), I’m bringing you 32 things I’ve learned about knitting.
1. Knitting looks like crap for the first 4-5 rows. Don’t worry if you cast on and knit a few rows, and your dpn’s won’t stay in, your stitches look funky, and the yarn doesn’t look anything like what you thought it should. Knitting doesn’t look like anything useful for about 10 rows.
2. Cables look stretched out and weird, and the plain stitches leading up to them seem too many. Even 5 plain rows look ‘too flat’ until you cross your cables.
3. Knitting 2 socks at a time, toe-up, on either one long circular needle or two circs looks really funny until you get to the heel. Especially at the beginning, when you only have toes.
4. People who don’t knit don’t expect anyone else to be knitting, and especially don’t expect anyone to be knitting full-sized real-people garments. Obviously, knitting is for grannies who knit for babies.
5. If you need 5 skeins of a matching dyelot for your next project, every store in the area will only have 3 or 4 skeins. Every time.
6. While knitting socks, expect to be told at least 5 or 6 times “You can buy socks at [chain store] for $3. Heh heh heh.” Smile, nod, and keep knitting. This person will not understand that it’s the journey, not the destination.
7. Just because someone knits doesn’t mean they’re the same kind of knitter as you. There are multiple styles of knitter, from the process knitter, to the project knitter, to the “I don’t want to move past one color and garter stitch” knitter. That doesn’t make you right or them wrong, it just makes you different people.
8. Sock knitting wasn’t invented to drive me crazy. I just had to find the way to knit them that made me happy. Toe-up, short-row heel, on one long circ, or 2 circs works best for me. I can knit top-down, I can knit on DPN’s, but I will never finish a single sock that way.
9. The more knitting books I read, the fewer knitting patterns I find. The more I look at, the more I see the same shapes in a different gauge, or color, or stitch pattern.
10. When you get a group over about 100 online talking about knitting, especially sock knitting, you should expect the same few conversations over and over again. “Hi, I’m new” “Gosh, sock yarn is expensive”, and “Do you use DPN’s or circulars” are the main 3. A judicious application of the delete button comes in handy.
11. Just because “everyone else is doing it” doesn’t mean it’s not your style. I fought the Jaywalkers, and the Jaywalkers won. I knitted a pair, they were a relatively quick knit, and I enjoyed every minute of them. I have so far resisted the monkey socks. The top-down-ed-ness of them as well as the lace puts me off, although I have been thinking about how to flip the chart lately.
12. “No, I’m not going to knit socks for you” is a perfectly good response to people who request socks. Explaining that you make $x/hour and the yarn by itself is $x usually does it, but this phrase is fine, too. Guilt is not a proper response, as knitting for other people is totally different than knitting for relaxation.
13. Patons Soy Wool Stripes makes people who require their stripes to match and to be a certain length long very happy, but it’s no Noro Kureyon.
14. Counting is not a smart thing to think you can do at knit group. It cannot be done.
15. Fun fur isn’t. It isn’t fun, it isn’t fur.
16. Fun fur has its place, though. Held along as an accent on felted bags or kitty beds, knit (held along) in felted things, it could be hedgehog spines, or squirrel tail fur. This makes it *approach* fun, but still is a pain in the neck.
17. If you need “just one more skein” of something to finish the project you’re working on, none of the yarn stores that carry the yarn you’re looking for in a 30-mile radius will be open.
18. Knitting with a cat in your lap is impossible, but hilarious. Especially if it’s Murrie, because she LOVES string.
19. The call of string is innate in cats. Somehow, in the wee hours of the morning, the yarn calls to cats, making them go insane and attack any yarn or string that may be lying about the house. You can take a project, put it in a ziplock bag in another bag before you go to bed, and, in the morning, wake to your project crossing half the living room, the cat wrapped up in the final third, looking at you with an expression like “the yarn started it!”
20. You should never, ever, ever throw the ballbands away for that project with the 24 different colors of yarn. Even if you think that you’ll be done in a week or two. Seriously.
21. Knitting in the car can be dangerous. You’re a LOT more likely to drop a stitch, and a lot less likely to be able to pick it up, as the car is moving, your hands are moving, and your knitting’s moving.
22. Cabling without a needle is much easier for me to do on sock yarns, with their tiny stitches. Larger stitches seem to be more easily dropped, twisted, or missed.
23. Knitting on the phone is more easily done when you’re talking to another knitter. Another knitter will stop talking when you drop a stitch, mis-twist a cable, or stop to count how many stitches you have.
24. Trekking is meant to be made into fraternal socks, no matter what anyone else says. It stripes, it marls, and it’s too darned expensive to be hunting for a pattern repeat.
25. Bamboo yarn was not invented just for me. It’s just in my head.
26. Noro has its fans, and its detractors. Neither is going to convert the other. No matter how much Kureyon you point at either. (“It’s ugly!” “It’s genius!” “It’s scratchy!” “Not after it’s washed!”)
27. It’s not about how long you’ve been knitting. The best things are “un-vented” by people who either don’t know what they’re doing, or know EXACTLY what they’re doing.
28. There’s no knitting grading system. All the competition is with yourself.
29. Alpaca is really worth the extra couple bucks. Every time. Especially after you wash it. Mmmm… alpaca…
30. Everyone you know who knits doesn’t have to enjoy whatever it is you’re obsessed with now (mobius, sock knitting, some brand new yarn, etc.), but you shouldn’t feel like you can’t talk about it with other knitters just because you’re doing something different.
31. If a pattern and yarn make you happy, knit on! Who cares that you’re never going to use a 3-foot-big potholder if you’re having fun making it?
32. There will always be more things to learn about knitting.