Knitting for Dummies, by Pam Allen, Tracy Barr, and Shannon Okey, is my lifeline! It breaks down knitting to its simplest - keeping me out of trouble when that project has presented a new challenge. It is also the perfect accompaniment and teacher in learning new skills and tricks of the trade. What would I do without it? While not every problem in life or in parenting is as easily solved as the challenges we face in knitting, through this craft, I have managed to learn a lot about myself as a human being and as a parent. I hope I can share these experiences with you, and in turn, we can spend some time together learning from each other...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Try Something New!

I love the idea of trying new things out.

My sister and I have always had this unspoken agreement that when we go shopping, trying things out is essential to knowing if we like them or not.  The same goes with food.  ("No, mami, todavia no lo he probado.  Asi que no puedo decirle 'fo'. Tienes raz√≥n.")  Similarly, I often tell my son that trying things out allows us a taste of the food, the clothes, or whatever the activity, so that we can make better decisions.

This past spring, in the spirit of trying new things, my family and I visited New York City (NYC).  Let me clarify when I say "family"... my son (10), my brother's son (15), my sister (forever young), my partner Jon (we often joke that he's 90-something), and I together on vacation.  While it wasn't any of the adults' first time in NYC, it was the kiddos' (the almost tween and the teenager's) first visit to the Big Apple.

On life through a young one's eyes...

Because the adults had been to NYC so many times, we seem to have forgotten how wonderous a place this is!  My son was perplexed by the big city, the traffic, the people.  I often found myself quoting my aunts, uncles, and grandparents who lived in NYC while we were growing up, when they all had to rein us in every time we went for a walk. "P, keep an eye on us or hold my hand!" I would say often.  But it is difficult to follow or not just stare when you are surrounded by skycrapers, beautiful greenery (as in Central Park) and so much activity.

By the second day - and based on my lesson learned when P and I went to Disney World many years back - I surrendered to the experience of just enjoying it all as if it were all new to me...

On those new things...

It was on one of those days when I was walking around like my ten-year-old that I noticed the most interesting ad.  In its center, there were two chopsticks with knitted noodles. (Did you know you can knit with almost anything?!) I laughed and pointed it to my sister and my partner - both knitters.  I loved it.  (BTW, since then, I have researched this further, and of course, YouTube has videos on "how to" knit with noodles and chopsticks. Go figure!)

This idea got me thinking, though... I love my local yarn shops (LYS), and I wondered... Could I find something to knit somewhere else other than my LYS or my LNJ (that's "local noodle joint")?

Since we were staging our home for sale and buying a new-old (!) home which would need some TLC, we were visiting home improvement stores every weekend. (What happened to my LYS weekly visits?! Sniff!)  It was at our local home improvement store that I ventured into two aisles looking for: (a) rope and cording and (b) snaps and closures.  I have always loved the bright colors in which nylon cording (a.k.a. mason lines) come:  oranges, hot pink, yellow, and even pure white.  Could I knit something for "Adam" which was manly-like and wearable using these? 

And so, these necklace and bracelets were born...

Using the infamous i-cord, I cast on four stitches onto the the clasp (i.e., used the clasp as a secondary needle on which to cast on) and knitted the i-cord long enough not to be a chocker, but short enough so that it wouldn't be a "strand of pearls".  To create a second loop, I flattened the i-cord, and reduced by K2tog until I had one stitch left.  When weaving in my end, I left a little loop which could be grabbed by the clasp. 

I applied the same principle with the hot pink bracelet (three stitches instead of four), except that I reversed the method... I cast on separately sans clasp and knitted the i-cord until it was long enough to go around the wrist.  Instead of casting off, I replaced the needle with the clasp and snuck in the end through the cord.  To secure the bracelet, I just snuck in the cast on end into the clasp.  Voila!  ;)

Lastly, I had to try cabling with one of these... Six stitches this time with a three-stitch cabling (to the back)... Could it look like a braided bracelet... I think so...

Knitting with nylon cording was... interesting.  It was rough, and tough, and manly, and... wait... Knitting with nylon cording was... interesting!  ;)  And I think the experiment was successful: I have two orders for bracelets now! LOL!

So, have you ever tried to knit with something different?  If so, what was it?  I would love to hear some other ideas and see some pictures!  Keep me on the edge; I'd like to try something new soon!  e-

Special thanks to Eric S. (again!) who modeled for these pictures.  He was quite the trooper in modeling these and we ended with more pictures that I could ever post... maybe.