“Cheating” at Knitting…

…That’s probably what many of my fiber friends will think with this revelation:  I bought a knitting loom.

Once a month my Aunt Cheryl and I go out for a girls’ day together.  Sometimes our days take us to museums or festivals but usually we wind up in book stores and various crafts’ stores.  Lunch is also a part of the deal…and lots of chatting as we catch up on what we’ve been up to for the past month or so.  My aunt just turned 50 to my soon-to-be 45.  She is my Mom’s baby sister and more like my own sister rather than Mom’s.

But I digress…

When I arrived at my aunt’s house yesterday, she started telling me about this loom she recently acquired and how she’s been using it to make hats, scarves and various other fiber products.  Her enthusiasm was infectious as she ranted on about it.  Soon she was bringing out samples of her work and, I must say, I was impressed–especially with the amount of time (or lack thereof) that it took to make the items.  I confess, I’m not the most patient individual when it comes to fiber arts.  I’ve tried spinning and weaving and I do well with them as I find them both very relaxing.  However, knitting can be a bit frustrating for me.   I have the attention span of a turnip and knitting, which is also relaxing, tends to set me daydreaming…which in turn means I lose track of my pattern, forget where I am and wind up ripping out several rows or calling upon my friend, Karen, for help, not knowing what I did wrong (thank heavens Karen is more patient than I am…lol!)   I’m not 100% sure why but I tend to be impatient with myself, expecting to grasp something relatively quickly.  That’ s the biggest part of my problem with knitting.  I expect perfection of myself from the get go.  I suppose that’s arrogance but I’ve been called worse.

The knitting loom caught on with me so well because it is extremely easy to work with and simple to use.  There are no major patterns to remember, other than keeping track of how many inches you’ve completed, so I can gather wool–no pun intended–until my heart’s content.  It is now 2:30 pm; I started my first hat shortly after church and a trip to the grocery store this morning (roughly around 12 noon).  I am halfway finished, needing another 4 inches to complete it.  Only the slight tingling of tendonitis in my left arm (from holding the loom) slowing me down a bit.  I am hoping to finish it after supper tonight.  The one scarf I hand-knitted took me 2 years to complete…partly because I had so many other endeavors filling my time and partly because I kept getting bored and impatient with myself…and casting it aside.

Yes, bored…bad me!

Now I’m not knocking hand-knitting in the least.  It is definitely a skill I hope to eventually master for it truly is an art.  But, for the sake of producing quality presents in time for Christmas, and also some surplus to possibly sell at some local craft and/or yard sales, the loom is definitely a benefit.  At this rate, I should be able to create a decent amount of inventory in a very short time.  And the best part of it is that it’s fun!   Though the shape is different, the knitting looms remind me of those little plastic weaving looms we all had as children in the 1960’s and 70’s–you know the ones!  We all made pot-holders for our mothers, grandmothers and aunts with them.  It’s also reminiscent of the hook-latch rugs we made as kids–there is a similar tool used with the knitting loom.  It’s actually inspiring me to pick up these two “lost” skills again.  Why not?  I loved them.

Of course, the knitting looms (there’s actually 4 in the package: one for baby-sized hats and scarves, one for children’s, one for ladies’ and one for men’s sizes) are inspiring in themselves.  Knowing how quickly I can churn out a simple hat, I spent much of my time gathering that wool and thinking about other hats I can make: a deep blue for my brother, Shaun; a lovely red for Mom.  I’m already contemplating whether I can make those long cone-shaped stocking caps of my childhood for my nieces.  And, of course, adding pom poms.  Surely, there is a pattern online.  My aunt recommended YouTube for some visual tips and Lion Yarns for patterns.

I can already see myself purchasing the oblong looms and there’s a special one for socks, too.  They are really inexpensive.  The price on this set of 4 was $15 at Michael’s crafts; my aunt had a coupon for 50% off for Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, which Michael’s honors, so I paid about $7.50 for them.  The others are comparable in price.  That falls in line with the self-proclaimed tightwad, too.  And the entrepreneurial side of me says cheaper equipment means I can keep my pricing reasonable once I finally have some inventory.  Eh, in this economy, everyone should have new, quality socks, hats and scarves for lower prices.

“Cheating” at knitting isn’t a bad thing in my book.  The looms definitely have their benefit but they can never truly replace hand-knitting.  They are both worthy skills to master.  I think I’m going to be enjoying them both a lot more…

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