Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

Charming Activities: Knit & Purl

My jaunts of writing-related disappearance have been primarily the result of 3 things:

  1. Schoolwork
  2. Family obligations
  3. Knitting

My coursework is coming to a close for the fall semester, providing a brief respite before picking up again for the winter, and I’ve been keeping myself occupied with knitting. I learned to knit several years ago, while on vacation with my grandmother, and I’ve knit off-and-on since then. I’m not very dedicated in my approach to knitting; I have a tendency to knit intensely for a few months, take on a project beyond my capabilities, become incredibly frustrated, vow to never knit again, and hide my yarn and needles for an unspecified length of time. Then, when I’ve completely forgotten about my previous failure, I chance upon my yarn and needles and decide to try again.

I enjoy knitting primarily because it gives my hands something to do; I like to be occupied rather than idle. I can knit while riding public transportation. There’s not much else that I can really do on a bus–reading gives me a headache. My current project can be tucked into a totebag when not being worked on and pulled out for a few stitches or rows while standing on the train platform. I can knit while watching movies (or television shows, such as the current three episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic over and over and over and over and over and over again…my poor, poor husband…) or having intimate conversations with friends over a pot of tea. Even better than merely being able to do the activity is that after a certain amount of work I have something to show for it~ I absolutely cannot sew, although I’ve always wanted to and regularly attempt to be taught yet another time, so creating knit objects, however simple they might be, makes me feel quite proud of myself!

The View from My Knitting
Although I ~can~ knit on the bus, that’s not the only place I knit. Sometimes it’s nice to cozy up with my stuffed shark, some tea, and a good movie.

The concept of “hand knit” can sometimes conjure up terrifying images of multi-coloured itchy sweaters, but that’s only a teeny-tiny portion of what can be made. There are so many options for yarn and so many beautiful patterns that there’s something for everyone’s taste. I’m working on knitting accessories for Christmas presents, and I’ve found perfect projects for everyone from my “I don’t want anything for Christmas” mother to my teenaged-and-way-too-cool-for-the-likes-of-a-silly-Alice stepsister. I am absolutely enthralled with the yarn shops of my city–I can find everything from expensive-expensive “do I dare breathe on this” beaded silk to inexpensive superwash wool.

Since my discovery of the needles and yarn, I’ve knit several scarves and am now moving on to wrist warmers. I have sparkly-eyed dreams of mittens and socks–all in due time. My goal–which I dream of as my pièce de résistance of knitting–is to make the Chocola-chan scarf patterned in the Gothic & Lolita Bible.

Chocola-chan Scarf
Chocola-chan is a white cat with a round face and jeweled accessories~

I own the Chocola-chan coat, and thus envision it perfectly accessorized with the Chocola-chan scarf. The pattern is available in English in the Gothic & Lolita Bible English edition volume 4. (I’m not sure which volume the original Japanese pattern is in.) The pattern itself is not excessively difficult, but it is a bit more vague that I would prefer. I want to make the scarf from a very nice yarn and avoid any inconsistencies due to mistakes, so I’ve been avoiding making one until I feel more confident about my abilities. Chocola-chan is too cute to be made to suffer from my lack of skill.

Instructions for Chocola-chan
The English instructions for the scarf were clearly edited from the original Japanese, but I don’t think I could attempt this based on the Japanese instructions.

There are some other knitting patterns from the Gothic & Lolita Bible that I’d like to try, such as a lacy hairbow and scallop-edged mittens. It would be nice to make them in a colour to coordinate with my winter coat~ The mittens that I usually wear are not very warm at all.

Mittens, Bow, and Brooch
I think these mittens are adorable, particularly because of the pom-pons~

As knitting is my current fascination, I’ve been spending a lot of time on Ravelry. (My username is MilkyTea.) Ravelry is a community for knitters, crocheters, and (to some extent, at least) spinners. It is also a marvelous database, providing a quick and easy way to search through thousands of patterns–whether they’re from books, from blogs, or from magazines. You can type in the name of a yarn and find important information even if you’ve misplaced the label. Projects can be registered and detailed on the site, you can keep track of your yarn and needles, and you can take notes of patterns you like that you might want to try in the future. I love how everything can be kept so organized.

I’m also fascinated by the sheer number of instructional knitting videos on the internet. When I learned to knit, that sort of thing didn’t exist. When I forgot an important step I had to spend quite a while bent over my “how to knit” book, feeling very confused, until I had a chance to see my grandmother again and have her show me what I was doing wrong. (For almost a year my purl stitches were actually knit stitches…just…amazingly convoluted. When I finally realized how to actually purl I thought, “…No wonder all of my ‘patterns’ have looked exactly the same.” It was a sad time. A few minutes on YouTube or Knitting Help could have prevented that.)

Rose and Knitting
This is how the inside of my totebag typically looks…although the bear is no longer wrapped in plastic.

Rose, my adored BABY, the Stars Shine Brightusakumya friend” teddy bear, has become my knitting companion. She’s usually hiding in a totebag along with a skein of yarn, needles, and a sheet of notes. (Sometimes I tuck the notes under her arm so they’re easier to find.)

Maybe someday, when I finally conquer the Chocola-chan scarf, I’ll move on to making cardigans or boleros like those that Angelic Pretty and BABY, the Stars Shine Bright release in the cooler months. I think they’re beautiful, and I’d love to have a nice layering piece that I had actually made. I’d be able to pick whatever colour would best match my wardrobe and make any other adjustments. It could be fun~

Does anyone else knit? (Or crochet? I find crochet fascinating but haven’t managed to figure out anything other than making long loopy chains.) Have you tried any of the Gothic & Lolita Bible patterns?

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