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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Knitting as Sport

When I was very young (a long time ago!), I spent some time as a flight attendant.  While in training, one of the instructors told us that we were not allowed to read or knit during flight time.  This struck me as a strange statement:  Knit? During flight time?  I could imagine the urge to read during red-eye flights, but knitting seemed pretty strange to me.

Before long, I began to understand this urge better.  It is so very easy to fall asleep during a long night flight, but reading only makes it easier to fall asleep.  Knitting requires a little more concentration.  I did not know how to knit, and I wasn't about to risk my job by carrying it along, so the thought was put aside.

As time went by, I married and started a family.  I bought a "how to knit" type of book, supplies and taught myself the fundamentals.  I ended up making two baby cardigans for my first-born.  As I look back on this, I realize that I did pretty good for a first time with knitting.  However, there was one thing that really frustrated me:  sewing the pieces together.  Hated it.  That was the end of the knitting.  Today, that first-born has made his own family, and I have retired.  So what am I doing?  Knitting again.

As is often the case, the times they have changed.  Knitting is now done with cable needles and can be done in one piece.  Virtually everyone in our extended family had to endure my knitties for Christmas.  I have learned a whole lot more, and enjoy it lot more.  I definitely recommend Custom Knits by Wendy Bernard, ( and Fitted Knits and Glam Knits by Stephanie Japel (  These books have helped me to re-learn knitting by using one-piece knitting techniques. 

Husker is a pipe smoker, but graciously goes out to our deck to smoke and read or work puzzles at his little table.  During the winter, he bundles up, but still occasionally complains about the cold and reminds me that he moved from Nebraska to get away from the cold.  Soooo -- I made him a watch cap and fingerless mittens (so he could hold his pipe and pencil), and he loved them.  In fact, I think the mitts are probably worn out (he frequently wore them in the house, too!) and he will need new ones next winter.  All of my initial efforts at knitting were more caps, fingerless mitts, and scarves.

Then came the big time -- I made shrugs for myself, 3 granddaughters, and 1 g-granddaughter.  Lots of shrugs get lots of hugs.  Finally, the time came to tackle a pullover for Husker.  This proved to be a more difficult task than I had anticipated.  I used the recommended yarn (cotton) and my gauge was on target.  Despite this, the sweater seemed to stretch under its own weight, and I kept pulling it out and starting over as I reduced the size.  I knitted the body from the bottom to the armpits and pulled it out, knitted one sleeve from cuff to armpit 4 times before I was happy.  (Am I a Type A?)  I finally got it finished, and it looks good, but I do not recommend cotton yarn to anyone.  In addition, I began to think I had carpal tunnel.  I went online about it and discovered that others who knitted with cotton yarn had the same problem.  Another reason to avoid cotton yarn.  The color does not seem to appear quite right in the pix -- it is a deep teal green that Husker picked out himself.

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