It’s easy to see why fiber arts are appealing: You get to use soft materials, your crafts become wearable (find patterns on Ravelry), and when a friend asks where you bought your beautiful scarf, you can tell her you made it!
But fiber arts aren’t easy. From the perspective of a beginner, learning to knit can be a bit...knotty…
“Knits, purls, English style, Continental style, casting on - what is all of this stuff?” I thought to myself, one month ago.
Here are my first few stitches!
Stick with the sticks (a.k.a. needles) for a couple of weeks and you may find, like I did, that from such complexity comes simplicity. Knitting is a pattern-art; once you learn to see the patterns, the craft is enjoyable. A purl stitch is essentially the complement of a knit stitch. Also, the movement is repetitive, which enables rhythmic like movement to emerge from engagement in the craft.
For my first project, a simple scarf, I picked up some forest green wool at Yarns Unlimited, a local fiber arts shop. I chose the color after speaking with a woman working in the store who told me to stay aware from light colors for now. “It will be too difficult for you to see your stitches,” she said. I also picked up a copy of The All New Teach Yourself To Knit book by Evie Rosen. Although the book contains an excellent collection of detailed illustrations, I found that the visualization of 2-dimensional illustrations into 3-dimensional space was an exercise in mental spatial rotation.
I am finding that knitting is more complicated than I ever really thought. In fact, I had never given the intricacies of patterns much thought, but now, everywhere I go I see knits and wonder how they were made.
So what’s math got to do with it? I will keep you in the loop...