Moving to the South has given me the opportunity to visit my grandparents much more often. I am so excited about this not only because I get to see them more often, but also because they know how to do a lot of things that I would like to learn how to do, like vegetable gardening, cooking country specialties, preserving food, and knitting.
I have already begun my adventures in vegetable gardening with Papa this year and have uncovered with Granny and Grandmother the secret of a Southern kitchen.
It’s shortening or lard.
And some other things that I can’t tell you.
I think the rest of it comes with time and experience and being able to tell when it “looks right.”
So, feeling fairly accomplished in my other endeavors (ha), I dove into knitting with Grandmother last week.
She taught me how to “cast on.”
After securing the end of the yarn to the needle with a knot, we prepare to cast on.
There’s lots of winding the yarn through your fingers to be able to control the tension in your stitches.
This reminds me of that cat’s cradle game that I used to play on the bus as a kid.
Then we put the needle through the loop and cast on a stitch. It took me a while to get the hang of this and realize that I need not re-loop the yarn through my fingers for each stitch.
My initial stitches were a bit wobbly and loose. I have tension issues. I think it’s because I am prone to tension headaches.
My successful stitch to mistake ratio was about 1:1.
Grandmother was very encouraging and told me it just takes practice. Or in my case, LOTS of practice.
Here was my first pass at knitting that only a Grandmother could love.
I got home and had to remember what grandmother had taught me. Good thing I took pictures.
My sister was here this past weekend and while we were watching TV, I tried to knit a few rows. Every few minutes my sister would look over at me and crack up at my bewildered facial expression.
I have since pulled out many practice rows and started from scratch.
This is my latest work of art.
As you can see very clearly on the bottom right, I have some holes. Along the way, I have dropped and added stiches. To clarify, I have not added back the stiches that I have dropped, but rather the dropped stitches remain as holes and the added stitches are on the ends of my rows, resulting in a rapidly slanting piece of knitting. I don’t really know how I am doing this, but I’d better figure out what I am doing wrong soon before I need longer needles.
I would also like to point out that while my alternating pattern of knitting and purling has resulted in an interesting banded look, this was unintentional. Each of these stitch switches represents a moment where I forgot if I had just knitted or pearled so I just did a little rock-paper-scissors to decide on which the next row would be. I’m terribly methodical like that.
I think it’s time for another lesson.
Y’all come back,