My Virtual Sanity

Have you ever felt the need to share your thoughts with virtual strangers just so you can pretend that you have adult conversations during the day? Well, that's what I'm about to do. Be prepaired for my life as a stay at home, obsessive knitter, and my attempts to stay connected with the rest of the world.

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Location: Denver, Colorado, United States

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Things I have learned

I have decided to forgo another picture of my sweater until tomorrow. It doesn't really look a whole lot different from yesterday, other than the fact that the back is completed. Instead I was checking my email from the different yahoo groups that I belong to, and pondering the amazing knitting journey I have been on in the last several months.

For the previous 2 years, my husband and I played an online role playing game called Final Fantasy IX (aka FFXI). I spent WAY too much time on this game, and probably neglected my real life too much. If you can answer that you have ever turned down real life get togethers, etc in order to make a meeting you had scheduled with virtual friends online, then you have a problem. Believe me I know. Well, then I got pregnant again.

My desire to spend more time with my family grew very intense, and then the nesting kicked in. I NEEDED to make things. It helped that it was also approaching Christmas, and I have a large family. I have 4 siblings, several sets of grandparents, etc, and we have never taken up the tradition of drawing names, so every year about October I go fishing through my craft corner and try to figure out nice, inexpensive gifts to give to my relatives. This year I decided that I had plenty of yarn. I should knit something. I found a pattern for some gloves in one of my House of White Birches books "Knitting in the Round". I really like the books they send me, and always buy them. That's probably why they keep sending them to me...LOL, but I get annoyed that they send them without asking first. Anyway, I decided that I could make gloves for my sister, mom, and maybe my 2 grandmas. This was the very first time I ever used double pointed needles (dpn). It was absolutely thrilling. After I finished 2 pairs of gloves, my kids kept asking if they were for them, and I realized that they both needed new mittens, so I made 2 pairs of child's mittens. I then noticed I had some soft pink fuzzy yarn left over from the 2 pairs of gloves and made my 1 yr old niece a pair of mittens too. On and on it went. By the time it was all said and done, I had made the following for Christmas (or birthdays close to Christmas) as gifts:
  1. 2 pairs of adult gloves
  2. 3 pairs of child sized mittens
  3. 3 pairs of "pocketbook" slippers
  4. 3 pairs of baby socks (1 lace, 1 fair isle)
  5. 1 cabled hat
  6. Boa yarn Teddy Bear
They were all small projects, and I think that is what propelled me forward. They were quickly completed, and most of them were new projects for me. I felt accomplished and very proud.

It was the beginning of December that I officially quit FFXI and also officially lost all of daily conversations that were not with my husband or my children. Part of the reason that I got sucked into FFXI was that I craved interaction with other people throughout the day. I figured that since my new obsession was knitting, I'm sure I could find some knitting groups online that I could chat with. I am astounded at what I have found! I now belong to 5 different yahoo knitting groups, although I only converse regularly with 3 of them. I have also learned more about my new craft than I knew about crochet and knitting COMBINED in my entire life before joining these groups. I used to have strong prejudices that there were simply some things that were better knit than crocheted, and vise versa. I always thought that lace was a crochet thing. I've learned that it absolutely is not. I still think that sweaters look better knitted than crocheted, though. Unless it's my beautiful shell crochet sweater that is designed to be worn over a tank top or something (Garage sale find as a teenager, how cool is that?!)

So, here is a small list of things that I have learned in the last few months since joining these wonderful Yahoo lists, as well as new things that I have tried:
  1. There are at least 3 different methods of making knit and pearl stitches. Maybe more. None of them are "wrong", but each has it's place. (I am a "combined knitter")
  2. How to use and love dpn
  3. Twist yarns every couple of stitches in Fair Isle to minimize floats, and work LOOSE or it will be too small for the body part meant to fit in there (head, foot, etc).
  4. How to make socks
  5. Heal flaps AND short row heals
  6. Kirtchner stitch (aka grafting)
  7. Perfect invisible "mattress" seams
  8. Shadow knitting
  9. Double knitting
  10. The Russian Join! (gotta love that)
  11. Different textures of needles feel and work differently with different types of yarn.
  12. How to make a center pull ball using a marker, large knitting needle, whatever.
  13. LACE!
  14. Making Gloves and mittens
  15. Picking up stitches
  16. 3 needle bind off
  17. Loop stitch
  18. Knitting backwards (although I haven't gotten my tension to be the same forwards and backwards yet)
Things I still want to try:
  1. Dying yarn
  2. spinning yarn
  3. What is "intarsic" or whatever... not insartia
  4. Felting
  5. Modular knitting (gotta find that book at the library)
I know that there is more than this, but my mind has run blank. I am amazed at the wealth of information that there is on the internet, and love that we can all be a community when we're all so spread across the world. After all, how cool is it that there are now twice as many knitters in the knitting Olympics as there are actual athletes in the real Olympics?


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