DIY Diva: Shit, I CAN knit!

Look Ma! I can knit!

Look, ma! I made a thingie!!

Happy-happy gnu year, people! The DIY Diva here to tell you that I’ve just squeaked under the line in fulfilling one of my crafty goals for 2009.  That’s right!

I – Have – Learned – How – To – Knit!!

I’m sure you are now scratching your head and flipping back through your trusty “the DIY Diva on BAS’s GD Website” files looking for this post in which I lament that I am a hopeless knitting student who can’t knit her way out of a knitting bag to save her life.  Following this post a lot of readers and friends weighed in with their knit-tips in attempts to help me get started on my quest.  Alas, none of  the really good advice I got on the topic of knitting helped me.  That bitch the knit-stitch was still eluding my graceful hands.

I was down in the dumps.  Aside from the fact that in 36 years I had yet to encounter a task I couldn’t master if I applied my focus to it — mean people on the Internet began making fun of me about my lack of knitting acumen.  Like I needed one more reason for mean people on the Internet to make fun of me?  Hurumph.  I was pretty resigned to throw in the towel and declare defeat when a knitting-angel interceded in my dilemma.

Mah Mommy.

Yup, my un-crafty Mom who taught herself to knit so she’d have something to do with her hands while watching the 2008 presidential election coverage on MSNBC was the solution to my shitty-knitty problem.

“Katie,” she said during one of our weekly phone calls as her needles clacked in the background, “I can teach you to knit.”

“Mommy,” I sighed into my cell phone, “I have to learn how to knit by the end of 2009 or I’ll be a failure.”

Flash forward to Christmas 2009: I opened up a big-fat skein of black yarn (my Mom thinks I’m still stuck in my goth phase), big fat purple knitting needles (see?) and the Cool Stuff Teach Me to Knit book.  (Yes, this is a knitting how-to book designed for children.)  I then realized that much like teaching me to parallel park and helping me learn all the state’s capitals when I was in the 7th grade: Knitting was going to be one of those things that mah Mommy refused to let me throw in the towel on learning how to do.

Soooo… we sat down and she taught me how to knit.  At first I watched how her hands moved as she knitted a row, then I tried to replicate the exact movement.  It was a slow and painful process that involved a lot of swearing on my part and on the part of my Dad (every time I fucked up a knit-stitch I would loudly swear, interrupting the Bill’s game, hence the swearing on my Dad’s part)…

But, at the end of the day, I had made the ugly little knit thingie pictured above with my very own two hands.  Go, me!

It’s now serving as a tug toy for my dog Max.

Though I am now confident enough in casting on, knit-stitching and binding off to start on my very first scarf.  (Which I am making for my Paranoid Android dude-friend person in the anarchist colors of red and black.)

This is just a really cool tattoo, it has nothing to do with my article, really.

This is just a really cool tattoo, it has nothing to do with my article, really.

I thought that I would share with you the helpful pieces of information about learning to knit that I have picked up in this process:

-Most books which are designed to teach you how to knit are really stupidly complicated and if you’re knitting retarded, like I am, you might be best using a resource designed for kids. (Note to knitting writers, including my BUST mag ed-in-chief idol Ms. Debbie Stoller: Kids aren’t the only people who need knitting instructions dumb’ed down for them.)
-Really, the best way to learn how to knit is to sit down with someone who already knows how to knit and have them slowly knit, showing you how their hands move to make the knit stitch.
-Buy practice yarn. You don’t want to practice knitting on expensive yarn you’ve bought for a project, as it will end up getting frayed and yucky.
-The first few rows of a knitting project are always the hardest. Don’t get discouraged, knit at least ten rows of stitches before you declare the attempt failed and rip out the stitches.
-Just practice, practice, practice… it gets easier the more you do it.  And, pretty soon you’ll have a knit-thingie of your very own! Yay for knit-thingies!

I actually got so good at the knitting thing over my holiday break that my Mommy entrusted me with a skein of yarn that belonged to my mad-woman knitting fool great-grandma, Genny. I got a little teary at the exchange, even though the yarn is hideously 70s ugly… But, as it was priced at $1.72 from Woolworths I’m pretty sure it is yarn from the 70s, so it’s vintage bitches!

Back next week with a decoupage craft to brighten up the new decade!

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About the author

Kate Kotler - DIY Diva

Kate Kotler is a freelance writer and professional blogger. IRL she is a very nice person, regardless of what you might have read about her on the innerwebs. Kate lives in Berkeley with her dog, Max. You can follow her on Twitter @adorkablegrrl
  • akaRosella

    THANK YOU! I am crafty. I can crochet, I fuse glass and do stained glass, I make jewelry, I sew, I scrapbook digitally but until reading your post, I could not knit! I googled “I can’t knit” and found your post. Having someone come right out and saying that knitting can be a biatch, the first rows are the hardest and keep going for at least 10 rows made me pick up my needles and try again! I knitted! Thanks for being honest and funny!