Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A New Knitting Skill

I always find it interesting how things play out.  How many times that a chance conversation or exposure to something ends up, down the road--possibly weeks or months or even years down the road, becoming part of my everyday life.  Some people say that is merely coincidence.  For me, it happens way too often, if I really think back, to be more than the random toss of the dice of life.

For years, I had off and on thoughts that I might want to try knitting.  I'd see something that was made by knitting, like it, and wish I had that ability.  But I had so many things on my plate all ready, and knitting seemed like a difficult skill to master, that I would push the idea aside.  Then, in the fall of 2012, DD1 mentioned to me that she thought she'd like to learn to knit.  Actually, I think the way she said it was "I wish I'd had great-grandma teach me to knit when she was still alive." You see, great-grandma had taught DD1 to crochet during her early middle school years, but they had never gotten around to tackling how to knit, and great-grandma died the summer before DD1 entered high school.

DD1's chance mention of her desire to knit reminded me that I, too, had a wish to be able to knit.  And, with Christmas coming up in a few months, my Possible Present Radar was active.  Knitting lessons went down on the mental list of items DD1 would enjoy receiving as Christmas gifts.  Which lead to not just DD1, but also DD2 and myself taking knitting lessons in January of 2013.  The girls enjoyed the lessons, but once knitting was somewhat demystified, for them it took a back seat to their school work and social lives.  For me, however, it turned into a passion.  I knit at least an hour every week, and have an ongoing list of knitted items I would like to make to give as gifts for future birthdays and holidays, as well as practical items for myself.  Socks, in particular, are my favorite things to knit.

Well, it just so happened that this winter, while I was finishing up a pair of socks to give someone else, I saw a picture of some entrelac socks posted on the internet.  Ooh, socks, my favorite!  And ooh, entrelac, it looks so cool.  And so difficult!  My brain simultaneously said "I want to make those" and "I don't think I am skillful enough to make those".  I bookmarked the pattern, but that was it. Entrelac was something I liked the look of, but was sure was terribly difficult to actually do.  Besides, spring was nearly here, and spring begins the busy planting season, and I wouldn't have time to learn something new and complicated like entrelac.  That was that.

About a month later, my local yarn shop (where DD1, DD2 and I had taken lessons in 2013) announced via Facebook, that it would be holding an Enterlac Knitting Class in mid-April.

Coincidence?  Maybe. When I looked at my calendar, there was nothing on it to prevent me from attending the class. The one afternoon of a busy week that didn't have anything slotted for about a three hour time span happened to be the exact day and time of the entrelac class. Still coincidence?  

So I went.  The instructor handed out patterns for a scarf (if we wanted to use 4 skeins of yarn) that could be shortened and made into a cowl (if we only wanted to use 2 skeins of yarn).  Then she had us choose our yarn, and get started following the step-by-step directions.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that entrelac is not hard.  It is really very easy.  It does require concentration, because there is a lot of turning and picking up of stitches to do, but it is not complicated at all. Straight forward knit and purl. I found entrelac to be very enjoyable, and I definitely appreciated all those socks I had previously knit; learning to turn heels and pick up gusset stitches was a skill that made learning entrelac a breeze.

The first full row done.

About 1/2 way,
loving the woven look of entrelac.

Two full skeins done;
another coincidence that it makes a cowl, because I had decided a few weeks before hearing of the entrelac class that I needed to learn to wear cowls (I'm not much for accessorizing).

So, now I know how to do entrelac.  I'm thinking that entrelac sock pattern I saw during the winter will now move up from the bookmarked realm of "I wish I could make this" to actually being on my project list this summer.  Maybe someone in the family will get a pair of entrelac socks for Christmas 2014.  And maybe next winter I'll be wearing an entrelac patterned sweater, handknit by me for me.  Meanwhile, I have a really cool cowl to learn how to wear. :0)

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