Sunday, February 23, 2014

N for Niddy Noddy

If you are a knitter as I am, you probably know what a niddy-noddy is. Or, maybe not. I just learned what one is recently.

A niddy-noddy is a tool for winding yarn into a skein, the beautiful twists of yarns that await your inspiration for turning them into a something gorgeous.

I prefer looking at yarn wound into skein rather than 'caked' (a cylinder that pulls from the middle). I can feel the weight and visualize how it will knit up better in the skein than in a cake.

My favorite pastime outside of knitting and cooking (and reading too) is to peruse a new yarn store. I don't do it often because it ends up costing me more than is reasonable on my income at this time. Plus, I have so much yarn it's hard to justify buying more until I finish the projects in my current queue.

I originally learned to knit from my babysitter when I was six or seven. My mother was into knitting at the time, a cherry red sweater vest with a cable pattern and pearled buttons on the front. I knitted a red blanket for my barbie dolls. Later, I started an afghan with a chevron pattern in the earth tones that were so popular in the early 70's. I'm still not overly fond of earth tones, but like them better than I did then.

I didn't knit after that until I was in college. I needed a pastime for the evening when my then infant daughter was sleeping and I wasn't doing homework. I made a fair isle style pullover and took a knitting class at the local yarn store. I also started a blue cardigan that is still languishing on the needles. It had bobbles and a subtle lace pattern. Sometimes I think I will finish it, but instead I think I will unwind it and save the yarn. It's a beautiful cotten silk blend that is a bit nubby. I can see it as a scarf/mitt combo or even a pair of stockings.  I'll figure it out eventually.

I also have a sweater that I knit for my daughter that only needs assembly and a button band. I think if I hurry, my youngest granddaughter who is about to turn two will be able to wear it.

I didn't knit again for many years. I picked it back up again when I was getting ready for surgery. I started simple, with a pair of slippers. The pattern is from Fibre Trends for felted clogs. I have since made several pairs, for my family, friends and myself. That also has led to several sweaters, scarves, dishcloths, cowls, and hats among other things.

I think knitting appeals to me because it offers me a creative outlet but still is very linear so doesn't require me to completely set aside the analytic part of my brain that is always present due to my profession.

I love the community of knitters. Ravelry.com was a revelation to me. The best way to explain it is that is Facebook for knitters, crocheters and spinners. It was the first place I found that I didn't feel like I needed to hide my knitting. There are young, old, middle-aged and everything in between knitters there sharing their patterns, their FO's (finished objects) and advice. It's almost as wonderful as a knitting group. Due to demands of my business, I haven't been able to attend some of the knitting groups I've tried out over the last few years, but am hoping to be able to soon. In the meantime, Ravelry has turned out to be a great substitute and supplement once I'm able to participate again.

I don't get nearly as much time as I would like to knit, but am hoping to change that soon. It keeps my hands occupied, keeps my mind active and the satisfaction of creating something handmade makes me happy. I look forward to the day when I can retire and spend time knitting sweaters for the great-grandchildren I hope  have then.