"It's easy," my friend Dina said as I watched her knitting needles flashing in and out. "You just do this," she said and she demonstrated a purl stitch. And it did look easy as I watched her effortlessly knitting the ribbing for a winter beanie. Still, I was hesitant. What would I make I wondered aloud. I love to knit but didn't have a project. "Fingerless gloves," she suggested. For each hesitation I voiced, Dina had an answer. "Youtube it." "Make it up." " You can do it."
I've done the same with my friends who don't make. "It's easy" I tell them. "You can do it I say." And it is true, they can. But because I am so confident in working with my hands and making things, I forget what it is like to be new at making. I dismiss their concerns. I forget that it is easy for me because I do it all the time.
Buoyed by Dina's belief in my abilities I went out and bought some wool, keen to get knitting and make myself a pair of fingerless gloves (hopefully before the end of winter!). I love to knit - such a good craft for someone likes me who finds it hard to sit still and do nothing. With knitting you get to sit still and do something! I know how to do very basic knitting with chunky, home-made wooden knitting needles and thick wool. For this project I am using very fine knitting needles, thin wool and also trying to learn a new stitch.
I am beginning to think I have bitten off way more than I can chew! I'm up to my fourth attempt and my second ball of wool. The first ball of wool had the most amazing shades of blue and grey but is quite rough and hard to knit with. The second ball of wool is smoother and feels amazing but I am still struggling. There's the awkwardness of trying to master a new skill as I manipulate the wooden knitting needles. The difficulty of getting the coarse wool to do what I want. The frustration of dropped stitches. It's doing my head in! But I'm going to keep going cos it's addictive and I don't want to let a craft beat me.
It's not all bad news though. Thanks to my lovely friend Dina, I now know how my friends feel when I blithely tell them that it is easy to sew a skirt without a pattern. Easy for me perhaps because I know what I am doing but a complete mystery to them. It's a a big reminder of what it is like to be making for the first time. And the other thing I am learning is the importance of perseverance. I really want those gloves and I am going to keep trying until I make them!