One of my students came in yesterday and said “I brought you something.” I assumed it would be something like her math homework or a grapefruit. Out of her backpack popped a ball of purple yarn. She’s seen me knitting and heard me talking about my “Personal Project” before.
Today I’m bringing her a pair of knitting needles. Perhaps we can knit together 🙂
And perhaps one day my classroom culture and knitting skills will enable me to knit amidst a focused, on-task bunch of students the way Sarcasymptote plays his ukelele.
Before my trip to China, Thailand, and Korea last summer, I asked my friend Josie to teach me how to knit. I wanted to She’s a self-taught knitter who can probably knit an awesome cowl during an episode of Scandal. She also teaches 8th graders, so I knew she’d have patience with me! We met at Gather Here in Cambridge to pick out some yarn and needles. I picked out some lovely pink and orange yarn and a pair of bamboo needles. We then sat down to knit at Dwelltime. Josie taught me how to cast on, then had me practice it several times while she watched and helped me correct my technique. She then taught me the knit stitch and purl stitch. I realized that I should have picked up some larger needles and thicker yarn, because I kept making mistakes with the more delicate pink yarn. Josie lent me the thick gray yarn that she’d brought to demonstrate with, and it was much easier to work with and develop a knitting groove! I appreciated that she also helped me fix my knitting when I dropped a stitch or somehow got into a mess. That’s where I can’t be a self-taught YouTube learner; I need a teacher’s attention to help me fix mistakes.
A few days later, I picked up some thicker yarn and another pair of needles at Michael’s (pro tip: there’s a teacher discount) and brought them on the plane with me. This was pre-“lifting of the electronics at takeoff” ban, so my fiance was a bit jealous that I could stay happily busy while he couldn’t turn his iPad or laptop on. He also knitted several rows–he’d learned in 7th grade and never forgot! During our flights, I ended up knitting a somewhat lopsided rectangle. I’d forgotten how to purl so I did all knit stitch, and didn’t feel confident in dealing with dropped stitches. I also didn’t know how to bind off, so the rectangle still sits on its needle (and got paraded around by me to some girlfriends at our New Year’s Eve party).
In keeping with my Happiness Project single-tasking and removing of mindless apps, I would like to develop my knitting habit further. Instead of just focusing on the “don’t” aspect of removing the apps, I’m aiming to purse more positive and productive activities. My first goal: knit a coffee cozy.
My friend Rebecca posted this great article about developing sustained success. It emphasizes deciding the type of person you want to be and proving it to yourself with small wins. So instead of starting with a huge blanket or a complicated infinity scarf, I’m going to start with this simple pattern and leverage the support of skilled knitting friends.
Photo Credit: Whirly Bird Blog
I would like to graduate to these cool cable knit patterns next.
Gray: Maru Wool on Etsy Pink: Wayside Violet on Etsy Yellow: Heather Rhoads on Ravelry
A LivingSocial deal for Stitch House in Dorchester appeared in my email today, but I opted not to do it. I’ve been interested in going to Stitch House for a while, but I also realized that I need to set myself up for success by making it almost idiot-proof to get to knitting class. I could just see myself wasting the LivingSocial deal because of the distance from home on weekends or being tired after work on the weekdays. I signed up for a Gather Here knitting basics class on January 29 and will be planning a knitting party with girlfriends shortly after!