Saturday, 2 October 2010

This Journey Is Like Learning To Knit

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

I think, when I started out on this journey, I thought it was going to be flip flops and applesauce - also known as having more time to do things I love (like wear flip flops) and learn the skills to make things (like applesauce). Oh how wrong I was! For me this downshifting, simple living has at times not been so simple, although it has certainly been memorable and mostly humorous too! There have been many mistakes, teary days, joys and a whole lot of frustration. It has at times, felt all too easy to be misunderstood and some days, living a life which felt far too different from the norm; I've yeared to be part of the simple living, homesteading, crafting posse but didn't have the land or crafting skills to make that happen. Finally, I documented here sometime earlier this year that I was going to simply take my time to get to where I want to be, with no self-induced pressure, no time lines, no stress and what do you know, suddenly it became a little easier. After what seems like years trying to learn to knit, making mistake after mistake (most of which I had no clue how to repair!), starting and re-starting, switching patterns and getting a whole slew of advice, I just decided to knit and knit and knit, adding in a few rows here and there, in my very own style, with no set pattern, all in my own time. Slowly but surely it got easier and over a period of about a month my first real knitting creation was born (pun intended); suddenly I was filled with renewed hope.

Life is a journey, finding the simple, green & frugal lifestyle that is right for you in your particular season can be bumpy, it can be a bit like one step back two steps forward (although sometimes it feels like one step forward two steps back!) and we'll each succeed (at what success is for us!) in our own way, in our own colours, with our very own stripes, in our own time...and let's just say, this knitting gig is here to stay!

Did you ever have a moment where you realized just how far you'd come on your journey? If you are a knitter, what was your first knitting creation?


Paula said...

Mom taught me to knit when I was around nine, but it required too much discipline. So I took up crocheting because it was a lot easier and by the time I was in a jr. high home economics class, I'd gotten an A on a sweater vest that I'd designed myself (but only because I still couldn't follow crocheting directions). I finally picked up knitting again a couple of years ago- my first real project (after the lap robe and scarf) was a sweater for my husband, who is a lot longer and bigger than the largest size on the pattern. So I had to estimate and mess with the pattern. It turn out mostly okay, but was too tight around the neck, and when he put it on, it was a little longer than he was used to and he said it made him feel like a serf. Then last year I learned how to knit continental style and learned how to knit with different colored yarns using English on one yarn and German on the other. Now my hats have different colors and patterns in them, and next week when my mom comes to visit, I'm going to teach her how to knit, continental, or German style.

Rose said...

Mum and my great aunt taught me to knit when I was five. I knit up and down on a dusky pink garter stitch scarf that winter but I don't remember when it was finished if at all.

The next winter I knitted a jumper for one of my dolls. Mum or Auntie did the armhole and neck shaping but I proudly did all the rest.

That was --eek! -- fifty years ago.

Hathor's Bath said...

I've never learned to knit - I was hopeless at it and my mum had zero patience. I pretty much chalked it up to me being a failure at pretty much everything (yeah, self esteem issues abounded during my early years).

Later on a friend of mine knitted crochet hats for her hippy friends, and she set me down and with care and attention showed me how to do it. I made a small hat for my young son (which turned out to be too small as his head was huge!) but at I managed.

It was the first of many things in which I realised that I could actually sew, cook, crochet, and do a bunch of things which my mum had told me I wasn't good at - basically through the realisation that my mum was in all honesty a rubbish teacher (and possibly not the greatest mum in the world, either).

Den said...

I'm not a knitter, but I love this analogy. I'm doing my simple, green, frugal thing in a challenging country (Montenegro). A lot of materials/ resources just aren't available/ affordable here - so if I've only got string to knit with (to continue the thread, pun intended!) then that's what I'll use!
I like the fact you gave yourself a break & chose to make life easier for yourself - me too... It's part of the 'simple' philiosophy for me. part of my old 'unsimple' life was trying to have/ do/be it all and I've released myself from that pressure.
Sure, I don't grow & do all that I would like but it's all that I can do right now and its a BIG step forward.
So, well done you (and me!) and keep the posts coming... I rarely ahve time to comment here but Imlove all that you & the rest of this community does to share the joys, the woes and more importantly for me (cos I'm a detail-conscious kinda gal!) - the nitty gritty of how to DO this stuff and survive it!

Psylova said...

Thanks for this post - I am a newish knitter and on my own journey to the 'simple life'. I totally agree - we can put far too much pressure on ourselves to live up to what we think others expect, or we can take pride and enjoyment, and therefore fulfillment, in our own journey. said...

Because it requires two hands, I never mastered knitting. My left hand, my mother always told me, is just there for decoration. But crochet I can! I got a fire lit under me a few weeks ago when I read Radical Homemakers and had a hard time bridling my desire to do it all NOW. I made a list of what I can do, what I want to do more often and what I want to learn. I'm taking my time going through the list, one thing at a time. The list is short now, but it won't be for long. And I may never be bored again!

Dea-chan said...

I taught myself to handsew at approx. age 4, was taught to crochet around then (have made many, many crochet projects), and have had 6 people attempt to teach me to knit. No joke, about 6 people, not including the number of times I'd take a "teach yourself to knit" book and take a stab at it myself. This lasted for years. And then, somehow, it clicked -- one of the tricks for me was to use wooden needles. The metal ones are too slick, too pointy, too... much.

Happy to say, I am now not only knitting socks, but creating a sock pattern for my fiance who has the weirdest feet in the world (they're shaped like a wedge -- flat footed, wide, and constantly increasing).

I think aside from the wooden needles trick, part of what made knitting click was I was knitting with friends -- we'd make pots of tea and sit and knit for hours. That can make all the difference.

Stepping Back said...

My first knitting creation when I was little was a stripey green snake draft excluder!
When I re-taught myself knitting in my 20s I made one scarf before moving on to hats, cardis etc. I love small, quick projects.
I cannot for the life of me master crochet though!

Leslie R. said...

I'm just learning to knit! My first project was meant to be a small scarf, and came out perfect....a perfect triangle! :(
I'm working very hard on a headband now and can't wait to lookk back on my learning times!

erins said...

Tons of Grandma's favorite dishcloths. But my first knitted project I am really proud of were a set of fingerless gloves with mitten covers. I started that project and struggled the whole way through but I was so proud that I had made them!