Monday, January 21, 2013

Knit and Purl

After I completed my lacy keyhole scarf (blogged here), I dove straight into the next project in the Craftsy Knit Lab class which is a seed stitch cambridge scarf. It consists of knit followed by purl. After completing two rows which took me a really long time, I decided to abandon the project. I felt it was foolish to jump into another long scarf project which will take ages to complete when I'm not really proficient in neither knit nor purl.

I thought I would just practice my stitches by just making something simple which won't take up a lot of time. I knitted two little bitsy scarves - one for my Mell-chan doll and one for Bear. I chose pink for Melly not because she's a girl doll but it was the only colour I had in the weight of yarn I needed. I chose blue for Bear not because he's a boy bear but he's chocolate and blue and chocolate go so well together. I added little fringes to the ends just by using a lark's head knot which you use in Macrame.

The blue scarf is all knits while the pink scarf is all purls. I have discovered that the effect of knitting every row is the same as purling every row. I have also discovered that my last two fingers on my left hand are incapable of holding the yarn. They're just plain useless. These two scarves helped me "master" my knits and purls. I made a few mistakes here and there. Knitting can be very relaxing. Your mind empties and it's just you and the knits and purls. Occasionally my mind wanders off and I forget if I knitted or purled. Lately I've felt some stress and anxiety and I noticed that whenever I needed to feel calm, I just have to pick up my knitting and suddenly I forget all my troubles. It is especially good on a long trip on the train. I can get claustrophobic and having something to distract my mind will keep the panic attacks away.

Last night I brought Melly out of her box as I wanted to do a photo-shoot this morning. I think I've left her in the box for too long because she smelled like something old. So I had no choice but to wash her. Washing a doll is no different from washing a child, no?

I used L'Oreal shampoo and for her body I just gave her a good wipe. Wow, she's dirty!

I realised that conditioning her hair would be a little nutty. That is why I restrained myself. I left her in the balcony to air dry her hair.

Here they are. My Melly and Bear in their new scarves. Doesn't Melly look sparkling in her clean hair? She smells good too. Bear as always looks a little aloof.

After my two little scarves were completed, I needed a more challenging project. Again, I wanted something that could be completed in a short while. In the Craftsy Knit Lab resource, there was a link to a waffle knit dishcloth pattern here. I checked it out and thought it was great as it had knits and purls in the same row. It would make a good practice.

Here's my result. I used a 4mm needle which I discovered is a size I like very much. It's so much easier to handle and I managed to knit quite loosely as opposed to the lacy keyhole scarf where the stitches were very tight. I made quite a few mistakes - knitting when purling and vice-versa. Also I dropped a few stitches and discovered them too late. Lastly the binding was really tight. I'm still fumbling when it comes to binding off. Overall it was really enjoyable knitting this project. Remember previously I was saying I couldn't tell the difference between a knit or purl stitch? Well, this project helped me see the difference a little better.

One other skill I needed to pick up for knitting is to learn to count the stitches and rows. For the dishcloth project, I wrote down on a notebook which row I was making. But sometimes I lose myself so it's an essential skill. I checked out this video on youtube and it does explain a little how to count somewhat.

I've also learnt to unknit and unpurl which you really need to learn right from the start. In the past, I used to rip out my project because I made an error and I didn't know how to fix it. That's probably why I gave up on knitting before. The thing is I keep forgetting how to unknit and unpurl but now I have a solution. On Craftsy, there are these little videos which show specific techniques for knitting and every time I need to recall how something is done, I just bring up the videos and I learn all over again.

And this is something I want to share with you. If you are new to knitting or wish to take up knitting in the future, you should sign up for this Craftsy class called Creative Cabled Necklines. Let me give you the reasons why.

1. It's a FREE class.
2. It gives you access to Knitter's Handbook which are short videos showing you the stitches and how-tos. (I think any of the knitting related free courses such as Know You Wool will give you the same access as well)

To get this free class, you need to sign up for a craftsy account here. (p.s. I don't benefit in any way if you sign up)

Once you have "purchased" the class for $0, you need to find your way to the Technique Library tab. There's your Knitter's Handbook. Click on it.

Click on each section and explore. Each video is very short and precise and some has slow motion. And I shall say it one more time. It's FREE.


punkychewster said...

OMG, i didn't realise how small the scarves were until you put them into perspective - on your models! Great job!!

Bethany said...

You're coming along well!! I remember when i first learned to knit--I stitched so tightly my fingers were swollen and red the next day, and I broke the yarn during the bind off. Knitting/crochet are my soothing relaxation activities. I remember reading in a book once about a girl who would sit on the bus and knit and knit a giant square, then unravel it, and start all over. As it was a morning bus with many of the same people someone finally asked her why she did that. She told them that her therapist told her to knit to relax. She didn't care about making anything usable, but the movement and rhythm did indeed soothe her so she kept on with her one ball of yarn. That story always amused me :)

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