The importance of goals

I do not knit.

I understand the theory. I can (just) produce a scarf. I know my knit from my purl. But my actions in bringing these things together do not result in a thing of beauty. Until yesterday I could not cast on properly, I was doing something proper knitters look down on: half hitch casting on. I can cast off. Just about. In knit, not purl. I can’t increase or decrease.

And this is annoying. Because there are fabulous, gorgeous, light, delicate wafty knitted things out that that I want to make. So my challenge to myself is to go from “I do not knit” to producing a delicate wafty thing, without being able to take my knitting to Mum to sort out the mistakes.

This is the Book of Knowledge. Notice the helpful flash on the corner, so I know it’s suitable for me. It’s truly basic, starting with how to hold the needles. It does work up to the clever stuff though…

Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 7.50.23 PM

This is what I produced today. I had the red ball of yarn and the cute needles stashed away at the back of a cupboard after someone who didn’t know I couldn’t knit gave them to me for Christmas. I think that long tail casting on’s quite OK, and the stitches seem quite regular. I was holding the needles properly and tensioning the yarn through my fingers (how hard is that stuff? But I have the trick of it now). I was doing it the Right Way. I now know how to count the rows, so I can tell you there are 8 rows of 28 stitches. Tomorrow I may try a little light ribbing instead of just stockinette stitch.

Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 7.50.40 PM

This is what I want to be capable of. Not much of an ask, I’m sure you’ll agree! I look at the pictures and go “pretty!”. I look at the words and diagrams and go “pretty scary!”.

Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 7.51.04 PM

And this is my goal – something delicate and wafty. If not this exact thing, then something similar. Maybe I’ll use my multicoloured mohair yarn… or maybe by the time I get there the moths will have munched it up and I’ll need to find something else to make it from.

Screen shot 2014-04-30 at 7.51.19 PM

But there’s a long way to go before I get there, not least of which is learning how to read a pattern without scaring the pants off myself. And it’s going to have to wait till I’ve finished Happiness. I have just quilted square number 52. I’m over halfway. I may finish the hearts for the Friday Finish, but probably not the straight lines…

How’s your midweek going?


13 thoughts on “The importance of goals

  1. tialys says:

    I have those pretty, spotty needles too in a few different sizes and colours. Anyway – you should persevere. I can’t think of a better time for you to learn to knit than now. The internet provides free, face to face, pause if it’s going too fast, tutorials for almost everything to do with knitting you can think of. I knit but had never made socks before. I found the relevant tutorials on YouTube and now I am a sock knitting addict. It’s just like having a real teacher but, because you can do it at your own pace and can pause and ‘rewind’ you don’t have to embarrass yourself by asking him/her to repeat what they’ve just said. I often have to remind myself of particular stitches or a technique I’ve not used before and find them invaluable. Not quite as good as getting your mum to teach you but still not bad.

    • katechiconi says:

      That’s exactly how I taught myself to cast on properly! My mother was a demon knitter; she could produce complicated cabled sweaters while watching the TV and without looking at her hands. I decided early on that I’d never be able to match that. Now I’m older, I realise I don’t need to!

  2. Kirsten says:

    You can do it! I feel I should apologise though. I hadn’t realised when I suggested that pattern yesterday that you are just beginning with knitting. Sorry if I scared you unnecessarily.

  3. dayphoto says:

    For some reason I can’t even get myself to set goals anymore…mostly it’s just get through the day. 😦


  4. I have the spotty knitting needles too. I find them cute but a bit ‘grippy’ – the yarn doesn’t slide along the needles as easily.
    My first knit was an Aran jumper when I was 15. Ambitious? A bit crazy for a beginner? Oooh, yes. But I learned that there are really only two stitches: knit and purl. If you can do those and read a pattern (follow instructions), you will be OK.
    It was only recently that I learned about other casting on and casting off methods (other than the basic ones mum taught me). You are way ahead, bandying terms like ‘long tail cast on’ about!
    You are smart; you will be OK. 🙂
    And everything looks good in red.

    • katechiconi says:

      Gosh, did you finish the Aran jumper? I think my problem is that I look at a pattern and it looks like impenetrable code which I’ll never break. Plus there are things I don’t know how to do yet, most notably increasing and decreasing, without which many patterns are impossible. Once I’m more comfortable with what stuff like: Sk1, k1, YOK2tog, YOK2tog, k1 means, I expect pattern reading will fall into place. And those *repeat from here thingys, too… I’m with you on the spotty needles. I like the idea of bamboo, but if I’m going to carry on with them, I think I need to zap them with some wax furniture polish to make them more slidey. Anyway, I’ll persist with the knitting. But first, I have to finish Happiness!

      • Yep. I finished it in 2 months in a knitting frenzy. It is the only jumper I made for myself that I still have. I think that makes it an antique.
        Those abbreviations soon make sense. I always keep the ones I need (with translations) in a list beside me as I knit.

  5. anne54 says:

    Your red knitting looks fantastic — not a dropped stitch anywhere! Which brings me to my Little Piece of Advice: it is handy to know how to fix your own mistakes, such as dropped stitches, and it’s really just a matter of understanding how the stitches are made. And my other Little Piece of Advice is keep practising!

    I agree with you about patterns. I can usually sort out knitting instruction, as I have been knitting for a long while. However, I am new to crocheting, and I struggle with those patterns!!

    • katechiconi says:

      I think it would be a lot less intimidating if they didn’t look like something the Enigma decoder needed to sort out… I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it eventually, but just now my heart sinks at the sight of rows of code! I haven’t got to the bit about fixing dropped stitches yet, so it’s just as well I haven’t dropped any!

      • anne54 says:

        Believe me, the day will come when it is automatic and you wonder why you ever bought that Enigma machine to decode it!

  6. Emmely says:

    Good luck! You are way ahead of me in the knitting skills department but I recognize the want to be able to create lovely cables…

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