This is my sweet and hilarious friend Sarah Winkler. Sarah is one of roughly 162 people who’ve told me in the past year that they know how to knit but they never do it. “Why is that?,” I make a habit of asking. And the answer is pretty consistently the same: They learned how to knit; they may (like Sarah) have also learned to purl; but they never got past the rectangle, so they lost interest. And who wouldn’t? Having heard this story over and over — from creative, competent people — I’ve made it my mission in life to help.
Helping begins with hats.
I haven’t asked Meg whether this is specifically why she had me start there, but a hat was my first project, and I’m of the opinion that a hat is actually the perfect starting point. (Can never thank Meg enough for having been my guide.) Even if it’s just stockinette with a rolled brim, a hat requires you to learn a few core skills — knitting in the round, shaping/decreasing, tracking your progress against a very basic pattern, AND! double-pointed needles — in a fashion that is gradual but not drawn out. You have time to get comfortable with one skill before being asked to try a new one, but little chance of getting bored before that next challenge comes along. And when it’s time to switch from the circular needle to the double-points? You can’t believe you’re going to attempt a thing like that, and then you can’t believe you did it. The finished hat feels like a real accomplishment, doesn’t take as long to complete as a boring old garter-stitch rectangle, and leaves you with much greater skills and confidence.
Sarah is a perfect example. After years of knitting indifference, she’s caught the fever. In the space of two weeks, she knitted the green beanie for herself and then made another for her husband — adjusting the proportions and trying her hand at stripes. Now she’s eager to do a pullover, and I can’t wait to teach her. She’ll be leaving me in the dust in no time …