My tryst with knitting

Knitting – the first time I was introduced to it was sometime after my under-graduation…  as we were waiting for our Engineering courses to start and there was a long vacation in the interim, my friend A introduced me to the basic knits and purls. Now, knitting was a hobby that A’s family had pursued through the generations – her grandma, aunts and mom had all tried their hands at it and aunty had not failed to pass it to on to her daughters too – A and her sis. It also helped that A’s school required them to knit a sweater as part of their craft project in high school – how cool is that?! 😀 Anyway, I remember trying out the basics and also making some swatches of different patterns and that was that – I hadn’t actually tried my hand at any project then.

Many years later recently I came across this – my friend Anamika’s knitting blog and it had me hooked. Through her blog I also saw this and was introduced to a whole new world out there – where knitting was so popular that people were at it all the time – churning out lovely sweaters and cardigans and scarfs and hats and booties and afghans and what not! Gosh! I would log onto these pages and feast my eyes on all the colorful stuff put up. But I never really thought I could take up anything that looked so cool but was bound to be equally difficult.

And then when I told my friends about us expecting the little one, my friend A declared that she was going to knit a sweater for my baby! 🙂  How sweet was that! Voila! I was inspired too – anyway having to spend 3 long months at mom’s place without the regular office routine, I needed something to keep me occupied. I told her I would want to try one too, but didn’t really remember anything that I had learnt ages ago! 😦 She told me, fear not, you have the internet for your guru and youtube literally had videos for everything! Anything more than that I could just hop across to her home 2 streets away and bother her mom (now retired) with my questions 🙂 The very next day I was onto the internet checking out videos teaching the knits and the purls and my fingers were itching to hold needles and try them all out. I even started insisting that the hubby head out at 9 PM and check if any fancy stores nearby would sell knitting needles! His stern admonition had me sulking all night 😀

Soon I did buy a pair and some ordinary wool balls and started trying some basics. A sent me some patterns which she thought were simple enough for me to start. After coming to my mom’s place I pulled along my dad to take me to Commercial Street one rainy weekend afternoon and bought more needles, rolls of baby wool etc and I was set to get started. The patterns that A sent, we found, wouldn’t suit the needles and the wool that we had to get the required gauge; so A went on to do some research on her own to find out a suitable pattern. Meanwhile I scoured the net trying to understand the knitting lingo and abbreviations that were popping out at me in all the patterns.  I decided to try out something which would require me to do these basic tricks to understand the various kinds of stitches and increases and decreases. The result is as you see below – the pattern was actually for an afghan but I used it to make a small telephone cover.

By then A had the simplified and customized pattern for the sweater ready and I started on it sometime in mid-June. It progressed well; I and my family members were suitably fascinated to see it take shape. Thanks to A’s mom, I also incorporated a design midway through it and  the work in progress was humbly and happily displayed to the visitors at home too 🙂 After about a month I completed the body, sans the sleeves. Now the pattern is such that the sweater is knit in round and the sleeves need to be picked up and knitted without involving any seams/ stitching. This requires another kind of knitting needles called double pointed needles or dpns. Unfortunately neither did I have them nor A and her mom. After much looking and asking around and fretting and worrying that I wouldn’t get them in the required size and that my first sweater would remain a sleeveless one, luckily I found a near-enough size at the close-by market area. I bought them and am now in the process of knitting the sleeves. I hope I will be able to complete them before the baby comes along!

Meanwhile when all this confusion about the dpns was ensuing, I was also looking out for some baby hat patterns and had shortlisted a few. I started on one and after a few lines was told emphatically by mom that it wouldn’t fit a doll let alone a baby and had to ruefully unravel it all. Then after many calculations on the gauge and needle sizes, I started with one which would fit a new born. I completed it in a couple of days. My knitting work so far looks like this – I haven’t taken pics of the sweater yet since it is incomplete.

So that is what my knitting chronicles read like till now. I must say that it has been a fascinating and wonderful experience, albeit causing some severe pain in my hand knuckles and bone joints. My hubby and mother-in-law (who used to be an avid knitter in her hey-days), my parents, sis, A and her mom and everyone else has been very encouraging and have inspired me to continue.

Knitting, I feel, is an art-form which is not appreciated much in our society these days – when I read about its popularity in the western world and the opportunities one has with all the material and stuff readily available, I feel sad that we craft-loving people in India do not consider it as a hobby worth pursuing, like singing or dancing. It is still considered as something that only housewives and old ladies are likely to indulge in. As my granny remarked, in today’s age when everything is available in the markets, why would anyone want to invest so much time and effort and indulge in such a tedious process? But I feel – some joys money can buy, but there are others which it cannot. The satisfaction and the joy of having something handmade for yourself or your loved ones, surely is unparalleled?!

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11 thoughts on “My tryst with knitting

  1. Oh wow, you are doing so well! I love that cute hat. Can’t wait to see the sweater.

    You are so right about knitting being ignored in our country. We tend to think that knitting is for old women who don’t have anything better to do. Knitting, as an industry and as a hobby, is very popular in the western world. Some designers earn their livelihood from designing knitwear.

    Welcome to the world of knitting!

  2. wow! the cap is sooo cute 🙂
    hey lemme knw the needle size and the pattern u used for the cap…
    mathe hows it going? whn r u due?

  3. Hey ! First time here- very nice space you ve got here ! Particularly impressed by this knitting section – followed a few more links from your blog, and I am now all eager to do a little bit of knitting myself. Am just barely beginning to learn, from some basic videos et al – Can you point me to some sites which would offer the most basic patterns for beginners ? first time projects types ?

    • Hi, nice to have you here! Thanks for your kind words about my work… I can’t think of any particular sites that I referred when I began, though you could check out http://www.knitty.com for knowing about the techniques etc. Not sure if they have beginner patterns though. The easiest thing I would say is register with http://www.ravelry.com – it is a community for knitters and crocheters from all around the world. There are loads and loads of patterns – free and paid and more importantly there are groups and friends who can guide you. We have our own South Asian Crafters group, and many of us in B’lore keep meeting up offline too. So, if you’re really interested in taking up knitting as a hobby you can check this website. Good luck and happy crafting! 🙂

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