I found following my first hip replacement that I got so bored I needed something else to do. I decided to teach myself to knit and so armed with new multi coloured double knit, a pair of size 4mm needles and a website that showed me over 50 different patterns I could create with just knit and purl stitches, off I went.
I now have over 20 – 50 (ish) stiches by 60 (ish) rows – squares in red, jade green, purple and multi colours and also numerous hearts which some days will be appliquéd and other days will become an edging – depending on how many I can manage to make. Most of the patterns I have done are seen here on my Pinterest page, and are added to every few days as I complete another. I even have some sparkly wool in red and purple and have made a point of using these the past few weeks so that later I know I did those squares over Christmas 2013/2014.
The plan is to turn them into a blanket, so there is some purpose. Whether they fit together yet I really don’t know. Due to the nature of patterns, some ‘squares’ need to be made from a certain number of stitches in a row, and also require a number of rows to complete them, so some variety. However, I have black sparkly wool to look forward to using to blanket stitch them all together.
None are flawless. I learned how to cast on and started simply with stockinette and garter stitch and advanced a little at a time. I learned how to count stitches and use a row counter to suit me, so I knew where I was up to. I learned what knit and purl stitches looked like, so I could count where I was when I lost count – and how to find my way back to firmer ground. I got past complaining at my husband every time he spoke to me and I lost count and can now (mostly) manage to count and watch tv, or listen to music – or my husband talking – at the same time, though requests for me to respond may have to wait until the end of a row!
I can follow a chart as well as traditional instructions. My first efforts only elicited a couple of rows before my hands ached, but now I can do 20 rows and more while still concentrating and able to pick up the needles again without problems at any time during the day.
I have areas where tension varies greatly. I have learned how to hold needles and wool to suit me, though a little unconventional to others. I have lost and dropped stitches, I have taken back a few when I have lost count or whole rows with bigger mistakes in the pattern and have got a bit carried away. A couple of times I have done too much incorrectly and had to give up and go all the way back to the beginning and start again. I have found ways to adapt patterns to accomodate mistakes or simply accept the flaws and my limitations. Each pattern I have done is of a slightly increasing complexity – progress and learning one step at a time.
My hearts have shown me how to count and work out centres without counting every row, to increase and decrease in a couple of different ways, and also how to scale using different stitch numbers and needle size and still produce a feasible result.
Ultimately I will have a selection of pieces which will hopefully fit together in some way, perhaps not perfectly, to create my metaphorical journey through the process of two hip replacements and the progression to having to deal with the arthritis in my knees too. The process of creating it is almost a metaphor of my own progress and will be a hippy blanket with a colourful story to tell.