Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Cast On, Cast Off

What is it, you ask?

Hell if I know, but it's what I've accomplished so far in my "homework" for my weekly knitting class. It's green and lumpy and I'm proud of it, doggone it! I had quite the adventure getting to this point too.

Last Thursday was my first class, and I was nervous as heck walking into the room in my old high school. There are 8 other women in the class, ranging in age from slightly younger than me to little white haired grandmas. Some were complete novices, like me, and some were just needing a refresher on the basics. I was glad I wasn't the only one at the beginning level, but even the other beginners still had a leg up on me, as they had at least been exposed to knitting in the past by watching their moms or grandmas do it.

The first thing the teacher showed us was how to "cast on," which is the first step in any kind of knitting project. Basically it's just getting the first of the yarn on the needle. I can tell you right now that being in a class that has varying levels of experience is frustrating for both the students and the teacher, as the beginners need literal hands on help; at one point the teacher was standing behind me with her hands on mine guiding me through the proper movements. I felt like a 4 year old being taught how to tie my shoes. Everyone else seemed to be getting it except me and I started getting red faced and panicky in my self-imposed humiliation. Ain't social anxiety grand?

Next we learned the most basic of the stitches, the garter stitch. Again, I ended up with the teacher behind me guiding me. When it comes to crafty things like this, I always feel like I should have drool coming out of my mouth while I mutter "duhhhhh." I'm just not good at doing things with my hands (unelss it's on the computer). I know, I know, quit being so hard on myself! Anyway, I *finally* got the gist of it and when I got home, promptly started working on it lest I forget what I just learned.

Enter The Diva.

Runty (yes, her name is really Runty) was under the table I was sitting at and saw flashes of the ends of the needles as I was holding them almost on my lap. Well, what else is a self-respecting cat supposed to do when something shiny and stringy is moving to-and-fro? She jumped up between my knees and started swatting at the needles. Startled, I lost hold and dropped them.....and the whole green lumpy mass of intricate knots slipped off the needle and lay there, mocking me.

It was tangled beyond the point of just being able to slip it back on. I sat there staring at it in disbelief....oh HELL no, that did not just happen! Of course, me being me, I took it as more than just an unfortunate mishap that could be fixed. I took it as a personal failure of epic proportions that represented every failed project of my life. I seriously need to be on meds of some sort. But the real meltdown didn't happen until after I tried to start the whole thing over again.....only to find out that I had already forgotten how to cast on, despite just having learned it a few hours prior.

With teary eyes, I got online and sought out YouTube videos that would hopefully show me how to get started again. Nope. Oh yeah, there's plenty of knitting tutorials out there.....but I watched 3 different cast-on vids, and all 3 showed a different method and all were completely different from the way the teacher had shown us, leaving me even more confused than before. I admitted defeat, went to the living room couch and gave in to my tears, vowing never to go back to the class; what in the world had I been thinking, learn to knit!? Ha!

My dear, wonderful Husband patiently tried to calm me down and talked me into getting ahold of my teacher to meet one-on-one with me to get me back on track before throwing in the towel completely. Oh sure, take the rational, logical way out! ;)

I did, and met with her at her home after work on Monday. She re-taught me how to cast on and sat there with me, watching my fumbling fingers as I finished 4 rows of garter stitches, until she was confident that I could continue on my own at home. Whew!

Note to self: don't let the cats near me at home when I'm knitting in the future.

So, that's been my paranoid adventures in knitting thus far. My next class is tomorrow night where we're supposed to learn how to purl. Pearl? Perl? Who knows.

This whole thing is more than just learning how to's my attempt at trying something new, getting myself out of my self-imposed depressed isolation and making contact with other people beyond my family and co-workers. I've allowed my anxiety and paranoia and fear to rule my life for many years.....and I'm tired of it. I want to be normal, and the only way to do that is to force (ok ok, coerce....happy Husband?) myself to do these types of things.

But hey, maybe I'll be able to make lumpy looking tea cozies in the process!


  1. I want a scarf!! Purple and yellow of course.

  2. Well, I'm damn proud of you, girl! You faced that mountain and you conquered it! (Okay, so it was the cat knocking the green starter-thingie of the needle-thingie...but, STILL.)
    You didn't give up. You melted any self-respecting starter of something scary, unknown and HARD will do...and then you got over it.

    Damn proud, I tell ya!

  3. Don't be disappointed. Made for a great post. I was hooked at "Enter the Diva." Sounds like a reality show that even I might like.

  4. Thanks Kathryn! In hindsight I always see how much I overreact and feel silly afterwards, but when I'm in the thick of it I have no control over my emotions. Meds, I tell ya, I need

  5. The Diva would love having her own reality show. Now there's a cool blog idea!

    Thanks for stopping by, Straight Guy!

  6. I have a friend who is a great knitter. Both in quality and quantity. She is sure that I have an inner knitter.

    I do like the idea of something of something crafty to do with my hands, but I think I already have enough gay bells and whistles without adding home ec class to the list.

  7. Hi I just discovered your blog! The Ginger picture caught my eye-- she's my favourite actress.

    But sort of on topic with these pictures, I'm a terrible knitter. Mainly because I couldn't remember how to pearl, or whatever it's called, so I would knit both ways.


  8. Gay Guy...

    "enough gay bells and whistles..." that made me smile. :) see?

    Hey, if you enjoy it, who cares? I never in a million years thought I'd be doing this as I am SO NOT a crafty person.

  9. Lauren....

    Thanks for stopping by! Yes, Ginger is my favorite as well, and so underrated! I hate it when people only give her credit for the films she did with Fred Astaire, and ignore/discount/forget all the others she did!

    As for the knitting, I surprised myself by getting into it. I can see it becoming an actual hobby and not something I'll never do again once the class ends.


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