“I won’t bother you again, I promise.”
“Just one hour, if you don’t like it I’ll never bother you again, I promise, just try it!”
I win! That’s how most of my interactions go when I offer knitting lessons to my family.
My Mom had great tension, all of her stitches were even, except she won’t focus and says she won’t remember anything the next time she picks it up. Taking into account that she’ll read the same book twice and realize two-thirds of the way in that’s she’s already read it, I stopped bugging her. But seriously Mom, that little blue scrap came out great, if you ever want to pick it up again…
My Aunt was really good. She’s incredibly determined to succeed at everything the first time around. I almost thought she’d want to make a sweater right away but she was cool with a coaster. We actually didn’t get to the coaster, I ended up teaching a friend of my brother-in-law’s so I filched her needles and yarn and gave them to him. Marl, if you still want the coaster let me know, I’ll bring you more supplies.
Alas, I couldn’t get my sister to give in. She’s even more obstinate than me, and that’s saying something. She does sew though so I’ll let the knitting lesson slide. For now.
My boss is super cool. He won’t knit though, but we made this complicated deal involving Mario Kart (I don’t even understand the terms) and he’ll hold the needles if I beat him. I did once. Yay!
So, after all these adverse reactions to free knitting lessons I’ve grown slightly more cautious when I ask people if they’d like to learn.
“Let me teach you to knit [or else]! It’s fun!” I said to my Japanese teacher.
“Oh, I couldn’t my Mom tried teaching me and it was too difficult for me.”
I gave this some thought and changed tactics. Instead of asking her after every Japanese lesson I decided to ask her every other week. I don’t know why but she did change her mind. The bulk of what I taught her was over 2 weekends about 6 hours each lesson.
Project 1: A hat we designed together with an allover pattern
Project 2: Striped shawl with small amounts of easy lace
Project 3: A top-down short sleeve cardigan
And then she ran with it and figured out on her own afterthought thumbs for gloves, designed her own window curtain (it’s stunning), and is now working on sweater #2. The best part of all of this: She hasn’t even been knitting a whole year. I kid you not.
I also knit with friends at work and coworkers. The groups have changed a lot over the years, people come and go but there’s still such a desire to learn to knit or crochet. It’s amazing, it seems like the fiber arts mesmerize people at a deep level, not everyone wants to learn, but they can’t look away as you work. It’s great! I offered to teach my coworkers and interns at lunch time. I wasn’t sure if they’d take me up on the offer, but it turns out I didn’t have to worry, they all love it and come to me with their questions. What makes this so great for me is that they all learn fast. Very fast.
D1 wanted to make a knitted amigurumi. I try not to dissuade anyone so I figured I’d walk her slowly through it. Again, my fears were for naught. She’s on her 3rd toy already and they look incredibly professional. Did I mention one is in Fair Isle?
My downstairs office friend is on her second hat already and knits on the subway. That alone is quite the accomplishment, with all the distractions.
D2 wanted a blue bunny. So, she made a blue bunny, with a mustache, collar and tie. How can you top that?
Y’s dog needed a new sweater, we worked off an old one to copy the size and she only had one leg left and the seaming and then I got a text last night that she finished it on her own! Her dog loves it!
A wanted gloves, one down one to go, but then Scarfy Thing popped up and that became her new project. Welcome to the world of multiple WIPs!
You can knit or crochet anything. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. My recommendation is when you first learn make a nothing. A nothing is a square or rectangle that will be a complete and utter mess. It’ll have dropped stitches, it’ll widen and shrink in random areas, it’ll look like a cat chewed it up, swallowed it and threw it back up. Use this piece of fabric to try out new stitches and techniques, to increase and to decrease, whatever it is you need to learn for your first project. And then start your first project! What’s the worst that could happen? You’ll have wasted some cheap acrylic yarn but you’ll have learned from mistakes and your second and third and fourth projects will just get better and better!