After days of staring at hand-knit scarves and hats on Etsy and trying to decide if I should buy one, then deciding the ones I liked were too expensive but continuing to bookmark them, I finally thought: Why don’t I just learn how to knit? Or, at least try. There must be a million online tutorials for this sort of thing. If I get good at it, I can make stuff. If I fail, I know I have to buy a scarf.
So after a quick search to confirm that yes, there are millions of sites claiming to instruct knitting, I walked to the yarn shop in Delft. (I already knew there was a shop full of colorful strands I have often wished I knew how to use.) An eight Euro investment got me a set of needles and 100 grams of green yarn. The saleswoman helped me select a pair of needles based on the yarn I had chosen. (They’re 8mm.)
This morning I woke up and said, “Today I am learning how to knit!” Several hours later, I have managed with much tribulation to produce the following:
Not all online tutorials are created equal, as you might have guessed, so I was bouncing back and forth between about five of them. And online tutorials are not the same as having a friend show you a stitch! I am a little “go big or go home” so I tried immediately to start a thirty-five row scarf, and after undoing it three times decided the best thing was to practice with just five stitches and make a little square. More often than not I wind up with misshapen loops sticking out in odd places and have no idea what I’m doing wrong. We shall see how this progresses.
So here’s my question: what do you make yourself, and what do you just go out and buy?
I think the main item I am accustomed to making at home instead of buying prepared is chicken stock. I make 6-8 cups at a time and only buy it if I’m in a pinch. I had a brief phase with making necklaces one Christmas, but discovered that the expense of buying all the nice beads did not truly make for economical gifts. I once made fresh mustard. That was really tasty. I have a friend who makes beautiful handmade greeting cards, and my sister has made usable bakeware in a pottery class.
The markets here are full of fabrics (Christmas prints now) and buttons and yarn, and lately I’ve just been wishing I were craftier! Perhaps the knitting is the culmination of that urge. Any knitters out there? Tips? References? Cool things I should make?
And for those of you who prefer weather discussions to arts and crafts (I know who you are):
Remember when we arrived in Delft (July) it was light out until midnight? Well, the reverse trend has arrived. When Tim leaves for work around 8 a.m. lately, it is black as midnight outside. It’s really eerie. He now commutes in the dark, all the bicycles with their lights on. The evenings have been dimming earlier, too. Fall here is quite rainy, and it often rains quite hard. Last week some particularly hard-sounding rain turned out to be hail!
We met up with some US friends on a European tour this past weekend, and unfortunately they were treated to an absolute blitz of rain on their only day in Delft. Sorry, guys. But you definitely got the authentic experience!