Wednesday 16 March 2016

You're never too old to learn something new

I love to learn new things.  When something takes my eye that I fancy trying, I am a woman on a mission. 
You've probably guessed from my blog that I'm a keen cook.  Which is why I attend a monthly Cookery Club at a local restaurant.  The chef gives demonstrations on a theme and we watch how to make the dishes and then sample them along with a drink that complements the dish.  Today's theme was chocolate.  Which explains how, by 11 am today I had eaten a double chocolate chip cookie, a slice of dark chocolate and almond torte and two different white chocolate baked cheesecakes.  And a glass of sherry.  Only small portions I have to say, but boy did I not need any lunch when I got home! 
And I was keen to get home because, inspired by Sian , I am trying my hand at knitting socks.  She's showcased some amazing works of art on her blog and she makes it sound like it is a relaxing and rewarding pastime.  Whilst I've knitted quite a lot in the past, I've never tried anything quite like a pair of socks.  I asked Sian for recommendations on wools and general advice and made a list of what I wanted that I could pass it on as part of my birthday 'wish list'. 
So, with a ball of self striping wool and 5 double pointed needles I set myself the task of finding an easy pattern suitable for beginners.  Not so easy as you may think - once you start reading them you realise that some involve language that only an experienced knitter will understand.  After an hour or so, I found one that spoke my language, the pattern was printed off and away I went. 
Have you any idea how awkward it feels to be knitting on 4 needles?  Well if you have ever wondered, it feels very awkward to start with.  After three false starts, I was off.  The tension on the needles was very similar to the tension in my shoulders as I concentrated hard on keeping stitches on needles and wool unknotted.  I was just settling into a bit of new found confidence when Coco decided that the only place in the whole house that she wanted to sit was on my lap.  On top of the wool.  By the time I went to bed, 6 rows of ribbing were looking ok. 
I started afresh the next day and was soon knitting back and forth in a happy routine.  Confidence was high, and I was already planning the colours of the next pair.   As I stopped for a coffee I thought I'd read the next bit of the pattern.  Which involved heel flaps.  And gussets.  Slipping stitches, decreasing stitches, picking cast off stitches back on 4 needles, condensing the stitches to 3 needles, then back to four and don't even ask me about the method for doing the toe area. 
Still, I quite liked the look of the tube of knitting that I was achieving and decided that if it all went horribly wrong, maybe I could turn them into ankle warmers and bring back a bit of 80s fashion.

But I'm persevering and I'm half way through my heel flap,  I still don't really understand the next bit on joining bits back and turning the corner but I'm working on the assumption that it will become clearer as I work through it, one stitch at a time.  Failing that, there's always YouTube!  Anybody else out there having a go at something new this year?


Ruth said...

As the owner of two pairs of socks made by Sian, I am in awe of that self-striping wool ... what a marvellous invention!

Deb @ PaperTurtle said...

I was going to suggest YouTube and then you mentioned it at the end of your post. I used four needles when I knitted a small hat for my baby niece a couple of years ago. It felt awkward at first, but I got the hang of it. Fortunately there were no heels or toe parts to what I was making! Can't wait to see your finished sock, and hope you love it enough to make another one to complete the pair! :o)

Patio Postcards said...

Your self striping yarn is so pretty. I bet there are a lot of very good knitters out there that can help. Knitting is not something I could do, it involves sharp needles & when you said 5 needles I nearly fainted, I always thought knitting just involved 2 - now my turn to learn something new today :)

Sian said...

It definitely all becomes a lot more clear as you work through the instructions. And once you have done it once it gets a lot easier! I bow down to your use of all those needles..I am stuck using my one little circular for now. You'll have a sock in no time!

Sandra said...

Heel flaps, 5 needles, condensing to 3!!! I just about know knit and purl. Ok,I'm truly in awe of you.

My goal is to learn to crochet this year ... Go on, tell me you can do that too, while cooking a chocolate feast lol. Xxx

alexa said...

I'd have needed a huge chocolate input to face the challenge of all those needles! I have trouble holding two ... So hats off to you for your courage and - looking at your photos - not inconsiderable skill.

helena said...

looking great - I do love the magic of self striping yarn - I've never attempted socks even though I do very fiddly things with a crochet hook. Looking forward to seeing the finished item (and even 2 of them!)

Susanne said...

You lost me once I knew there were more than 2 needles involved. I am in awe of both Sian and you - even more than before.