I’ve been trying to teach myself how to knit and it isn’t going well. Knitting is probably an unusual hobby for a thirty-something gentleman to pick up, but I’ve had a desire to learn a craft hobby. I want something to do aside from just sitting around and watching TV that’ll help me disconnect from the internet for a while. And arguably, in today’s age, is watching TV even really disconnecting when it’s streaming from the internet? I digress…I love the internet and being a tech-head. When you go to school with it and use it at work and even play with it in your free time, you can’t help but learn to love it. But sometimes being so connected is a real addiction and it’s a problem for me sometimes. It’s healthy to sometimes break away. And knitting is something that won’t really put any points against my nerd card, so it’s a good place to start. Plus, if I get really good at it, I figure that I’ll never really be short on gifts to give or maybe even sell! (By the way, if you’re so inclined, you can buy Almost Epic-branded merchandise now with more designs to come! Take a look, I’ll love you forever!)
With this thinking, I bought myself this relatively inexpensive “Learn to Knit” kit on Amazon last spring. I’ve flipped through the instruction booklet a few dozen times, gotten myself familiar with the bamboo knitting needles and the somewhat scratchy-feeling yarn (I’m told it’s probably cheap acrylic), and just can’t figure out what exactly it is that I’m supposed to be doing. I’m having trouble even doing a simple slip-knot to get my first project started and it’s so frustrating! I feel like I’m back in high school again, where the 15-year-old version of myself got too convinced that art mattered and that he needed to take like 100 art electives. Then he totally sucked at drawing, painting, ceramics, and photography. How it’s possible for someone to be terrible at practically every artistic medium is puzzling, but that’s just who I am! Now years later, that kid is trying to learn how to knit. Laughable as it is, it’s going to happen, okay? Maybe…just not that particular summer.
Summer is winding its way back my direction now. School is out for me again until the fall semester starts in August, so I’m ready to start shoring up some of those long-anticipated personal projects of mine. Knitting being at the tippy-top of the list as a holdover from last year. A friend of mine from work even gifted me a large sack of surplus yarn she had from her own home, so I feel like I really need to get it together and put it to good use.
So last weekend, my father and I decided to break out the old “Learn to Knit” kit and, instead of trying to rely on the vaguely illustrated instructional booklet, we came up with the smart decision to look up YouTube tutorials. I’m always telling Dad that you can learn how to do basically anything on YouTube. Anything you can conceive of, there is a professional on YouTube who is willing to record a video showing you how to do it. They should actually call it LearnTube. I eventually found the video below from Chandi at something called Expression Fiber Arts, who sells some legitimately gorgeous yarn. She slows down the process and shows you how to get started, how to handle the needles, how to cast on with your yarn, and finally how to really get started knitting! This is the perfect instructional video for someone who is interested in learning how to get started knitting.
Except…that it didn’t really work for me either! Chandi does a great job in this video and I feel like it could teach basically anyone but me how to knit. It even did a great job of showing DAD how to knit, who was only there as a casual observer and for moral support! Frankly, I feel a little bit stupid since Chandi’s video says that it can teach someone “even if [they’re] clueless,” and it did not achieve that with me. I’m still struggling to even get the basic slip-knot to secure onto the needle, much less the part where you actually cast on and get started knitting. I’m honestly beginning to feel just short of hopeless.
My next step is going to be attending a knitting class. I’m hoping that getting into the same room with someone who knows what they’re doing will the key to figuring this knitting puzzle out. Last year, an advisor at a nearby satellite location of my school did a knitting workshop for student beginners. Fingers crossed that he (yes, another male knitter, haters!) decides to do another one sometime soon. If not, I may even invest in the money to take a class at a nearby JoAnn Fabric store or maybe the more local Mass Ave Knit Shop. I have had a few friends who know how to both knit and crochet offer to try and teach me, but at this point I’m so embarrassed by my ineptitude that I’m almost afraid to take them up on it.