Monday, January 26, 2009
Knit One, Purl Two...
When I was in middle school, my mom taught me how to knit and crochet. I don't remember anything that I made at the time, but I did like it. Last year on my annual camping trip with a group of women, I was re-introduced to knitting. Several of the women were in the process of knitting sweaters, socks, baby hats, etc. When I got home, I bought a "teach yourself to knit" kit, yarn and a set of needles.
My first project, a scarf made with a boucle' and eyelash yarn together, was beautiful. I still wear it often. Excited, I bought more yarn, needles and a couple of knitting magazines. Then, I got busy and did not knit again until I put my garden to bed in October.
Then, I knit my sister a scarf (like the one I made for myself). Mary, one of the women on my camping trip, was making a felted purse during the weekend. Felting involves knitting then putting the item in the washing machine to create a tightly woven fabric (like felt). I had a book called "One Skein Wonders" that I had bought last year. I found a pattern for a felted bag and decided to try it.
My first bag was made with a brown, super bulky yarn and it came out great. (Thanks, Brenda from City Knits for your help!) By the way, a great place to learn to knit, pick up great yarn, books, needles, etc and support a local business is City Knits in the Fisher Building in Detroit. Their website is http://www.cityknits.com/
To finish my new bag, I added some beaded ribbon and bought some fabric to make a lining. I am not very good at sewing. Anyone who knows me will tell you, I can hardly get a button on straight. My first attempt was a little clumsy, but everytime I carry this bag, I get compliments.
Since then, I have made two more bags. I have had several offers from friends, family and total strangers to buy my bags. I have also had requests to make various items. (Several of these offers have come as a result of knitting in public). Recently, I was offered $65 on the spot for the red bag (pictured at the left), which was made with Shepherd's Wool, from a Northern Michigan-based company, a mohair blend yarn, and two leather straps cut off a purse I bought at a local thrift store.
I have also made a big purple totebag from a wool sweater that I felted in the washing machine, then cut and sewed. The strap and buckle is a repurposed belt.
I have always loved creating things. I love the satisfaction of baking my own bread, culturing my own yogurt, growing fruits and vegetables. It must be the relatively immediate results and sense of satisfaction of finishing something. Knitting has the added bonus of creating something that has the potential to stay around for a long time.
To enhance my kniiting projects, I have decided to learn to use a sewing machine. I found an old one on craigslist right after the holidays and purchased a user's manual. The last time I used a sewing machine was in high school and the resulting skirt was unwearable. Hopefully, this time will be different.
With encourage from several friends (Hey, Sonji!), I am now looking at how to turn my latest obsession into a business opportunity. Who knows?