Saturday, January 29, 2011

Knit One - A New Kind of Recipe

Ready, set, knit!
NOTE 8-28-16:
Thanks to everyone who has left comments and questions below about this project! And a great big thank you to the 34,000 knitters who have saved my very first knitting project to their boards on Pinterest! I am both humbled and inspired by your interest. Happy Knitting!
❤️ Cora

1 pair CLOVER #17 10-in. Wooden Knitting Needles
2 hanks MISTI ALPACA Super Chunky Hand Painted in Sugar and Sand (SCH03)
2 JHB#458 1 3/8" Genuine Shell Buttons 

Cast on 14 stitches. Knit to desired length for placement of buttons. Knit two horizontal button holes. Continue knitting to finished length. Measure and sew on buttons. Voila!

Guess I still need a little practice on the "finishing up" corner!
I am so proud! This is my first start-to-finish knitting project. In fact, it's the first time I have done more than knit a few sad little rows of yarn before I gave up. I never really knew how to finish things off and disengage the needles (which, as you see above, will need a little more work to perfect!)

On a recent trip to Florida, I told my friend, Wendy, I wanted her to show me how to knit -- and so she did just that! Wendy says she learned to knit in the Girl Scouts, around the age of nine and has been knitting every since.  My mother taught me how to cast on and knit when I was a kid, but I never got past those few wobbly rows.

While we were knitting (in warm, sunny Florida :D) Wendy and I talked about a charming little knitting shop in our hometown that sold yarn, needlework supplies and offered knitting lessons. I loved that place -- The Knitting Nook -- though I never did more than buy pieces of angora we used to wrap around ring bands we made out of file folders. How kind those women were to cut gorgeous balls of angora yarn into 12-inch pieces for a bunch of silly school girls! Wendy says she spent a lot of her babysitting money on yarn at The Knitting Nook, but never gained access to the circle of knitters who seemed to knit a lot on weekday mornings, and our stuffy high school never offered field trips for knitters!

I was drawn to The Knitting Nook's big glass storefront every single time I went to the shopping center, whether I needed yet another piece of angora or not. While my friends would make a beeline for the candy counter of Woolworth's next door, I always took a moment to ever-so-casually peer inside at the knitters. The grouping of comfy old chairs and couches making the knitters circle looked so inviting to me. I longed for a place inside that circle of women talking, laughing and nodding to passersby, while their needles never stopped clickity-clacking through big balls of yarn. And the bins stuffed full of yarns wrapped around the room like a big, cozy patchwork quilt. My fingers itched to feel the difference between a stout, no-nonsense wool and the frothy, romantic angoras. By the time I was old enough to be one of those women, I had moved far away and was a seamstress, rather than a knitter.

Wendy and I shared those fond memories of The Knitting Nook last week, as she coached me along with the project she helped me to select at Knitting with Nancy in Naples, FL. Alas, there was no circle of chairs inviting us to settle in and knit for a while, but there was an impressive rainbow of yarns from around the world. And so many clever and adorable samples of patterns and projects. It was like stepping into a treasure chest stuffed full of a knitter's bounty! I would have been quite content to plop myself down on the floor and stay all day, gleaning all the knitting wisdom I could, but Wendy was working that night and we had to hurry home to get me started on my knitting.

I came away from Knitting with Nancy with two sets of needles -- sizes 17 and 10. I also had yarn for two projects -- two hanks of the chunky 100% baby alpaca yarn I used for my scarf-collar above, and three balls of some Tokyo merino wool made in Italy that is half way to becoming a spiral ruffled scarf. After a few quick demos and pointers, Wendy went off to work and I knitted the scarf in the picture above. Somewhere along the way, I decided to turn it into a collar by adding buttonholes and some pretty shell buttons we found at a gigantic JoAnn Fabrics.  I simply cannot follow a "recipe" completely, always changing something to suit my own taste.

The Knitting Nook has been gone for a long time, but now that I am living back home and finally ready to be a knitter, I miss it all over again. I still look longingly through the windows where it was located and I imagine those women snuggled into that circle of comfy chairs, with the rhythmic click-clack of their needles. Oh, how I wish they were still there, so I could finally take my place among them -- the ladies who knit.

Maybe some of you knit? Shall we pull up some chairs into a cyber circle and share our knitting stories and projects? I'd love that!


lnrnbcs said...

Yes I would like to have a knitting community.
My mother knit. She felt unable to teach me because I am left handed. She has gone now and I have taken up knitting as a way of honoring her as well as feeing her with me.

Cora said...

Thanks, Inrnbcs. I hadn't reread this post in quite a while and I enjoyed thinking about The Knitting Nook and the scarf pictured above all over again. I'd love to see some of your knitting projects. Feel free to email me at CoraCooksBlog at gmail dot com.

babytwinsis said...

Love this scarf. How do you make a buttonhole?

babytwinsis said...

Love this scarf. How do you make a buttonhole??

Kendra said...

Beautiful! I would like to see the back of this scarf or how you put it on. Is it just a wrap around style scarf?

Unknown said...

Its so beatiful.thank you for a haré it

Diann Brown Hayes said...

Cora. Love the buttoned neck wrap around. Would like to know how many stitches you knit from the edge before making the 1st button hole, how many stitches you knit after making the 2nd button hole, how many stitches are used making the button holes, and how many between them. I am going to make one, and will guess at this. Also, there is a great tutorial on making knitted button holes on U-tube.

I am going to try 2 knit stitches at each edge, 3 stitches for each of the buttonholes, and 4 stitches between them.

Unknown said...

Cómo puedo traducir las indicaciones o la pagina a español

Cora said...

Norma, lo siento, pero no hay un patrón, hago punto y añadir los ojales cuando es tiempo suficiente para envolver alrededor de mi cuello y luego terminar. Tejer feliz! (Thanks, Google Translate - I hope this makes sense!)

Cora said...

Diann, thanks for the information about the You Tube tutorial! I'm sorry I don't have a pattern to refer to, but this was my first time knitting, so it was tension and technique practice -- until I realized I could turn into something. My friend and teacher, Wendy, helped with the buttonholes and my "scarf" was transformed into a soft, double breasted collar for extra warmth under a coat or sweater without the bulk of a knitted scarf. Whether it is knitting or cooking, I can't resist adding my own interpretation!

Cora said...

Kendra, this idea grew out of what would have been a regular straight knit scarf. It had so much body and strength that I just wrapped it into a collar and added buttonholes! I wear it under my coat for extra warmth, without winding a bulky scarf around my neck.

Cora said...

babytwinsis, Diann (see comment above) says you can find a buttonhole tutorial on You Tube. Perfect! That is exactly what I will need next time I have to make a buttonhole!

Claire M said...

Just finished making one!!! Love it I didn't need to make buttonholes, the yarn was very chunky and I was able to just pull the buttons through!!! Thank you !!! Can't wait to wear it!!!!!

Unknown said...

I saved this last year & I am ready to cast on...I adore the simplicity of this neck warmer.

Unknown said...

Hi , I am from Kenya and I love knitting. I love the scarf simple and beautiful. Right now am knitting a baby shawl for my Niece who is expecting next month