Friday, September 30, 2005

Here there be Sea Monsters

Or, so the old maps often read. Cartographers used to put that in at the "edges of the known world." It's one of my favorite parts of old maps, as often there are illustrations of just what type of horror would await someone daring to sail those uncharted waters.

So, what does this have to do with knitting? I've been thinking a lot about how many newer knitters I have heard say, "Oh, I could never do that!" when looking at a pattern, or, "I can't purl." or, "I wouldn't even know where to start!" They are stymied by their fear. "Here there be Sea Monsters," and no one wants to be gobbled up, so they knit, and knit, and knit. Miles and miles of garter stitch. Scarves, ponchos, little blankets for Kitty to lounge on. Now, don't get me wrong. Garter stitch has its place. When I was younger and learning to knit, I HATED garter stitch. To me, it wasn't knitting unless it looked like the smooth stockinette my mother's hands produced. I couldn't wait to learn to purl! And, possibly due to genetics (my great grandmother, I'm told, used to walk around the house knitting socks out of black wool, the yarn in the pocket of her apron) I learned quickly and moved on. I also set my needles down for years when it seemed that all the patterns out there were for crochet (does anyone else remember those years?), only to pick them up again while in college to make hats for a couple of friends. Did I have a pattern? No. Did I have appropriately sized needles? No. Did I understand the concept of gauge? Most definitely not. Did that stop me? No. Of course, the first hat would have fit over a small microwave oven, and the second, for fear of it turning out like the first, was vaguely envelope shaped with two, count 'em two pompoms. They were, however, graciously received, and worn at least once by each of the recipients. Something to be said for friendship, indeed.

Now we come to my own "Sea Monster." I feel confident that I can pick up any pattern I like and create the intended object, but I have been considering dipping my toes into design, and, I'll admit, it scares me a little. I know that I should just think of it as another step. I have experience with garment construction, I know how different knit fabrics behave, I should just stop hedging and fearing the jaws in the depths and do it already. What's the worst that could happen? Well, I'll keep you posted on that!


Blogger said...

I was one of the very grateful hat recipients. I was bald @ the time, as I had been shaved for a show. So, I did not wear it much, maybe a few times, cuz yes, it was a little odd fitting. But there was love behind it, and that made me appreciate it. I am pretty sure I still have that midnight blue hat, packed away in storage, waiting to found, memories included. However, there is so much storage to go through, that it could also be pretty scary. Sea monsters could also be lurking about in those many boxes. Best to stay away for now.

8:35 AM  
Blogger Skiptastic said...

Given your absolute willingness to take something completely complete, tear it apart and start again I cannot imagine what would weird you out about design. Are you being modest? I think so. And I'm not just saying that because I have a stake in this. No, really, I'm not.

9:09 AM  

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