I've always loved crafts.
The first fiber related craft that I remember was the little cards with holes punched and shoelace type things that were to be threaded through the holes - I was so excited to be sewing!!
When we got engaged in '82, I thought it would be nice to have an afghan and matching pillow for my 'hope chest'. I bought a kit at Lee Wards for a white afghan knit in 3 panels, crocheted together and then embroidered. I was ok with the crochet and embroidery but my panels were tilted to the right - still have no idea what I did wrong. That project took a long time, it was a number of years until I wanted to knit again.
At some point in the late 80's I decided that I needed another afghan. This time I bought Lion Brand acrylic, a Red Heart booklet of patterns, and another booklet that claimed to make knitting easy. That's how I learned to make cables. But again that project took several years to complete.
Eventually (mid-late 90's) I was inspired to try a third afghan (for my daughter to take to college - I had several years to work on it before she would graduate), still was not enthralled by knitting though.
One pretty spring day in 2003 I wondered into a LYS and was overwhelmed by the choices of fiber and color - it was total sensory overload. Who knew there were so many choices? Decided then and there that I had to knit something - the owner helped me choose a pattern, yarn and needles. She asked if I needed smaller needles for the ribbing - being so inexperienced, I replied, "is that how it's usually done?". She also asked if preferred straights or circulars, bamboo or metal, etc. - being completely clueless I said I'd take whatever type she recommended.
Went home and was completely confused by all the pattern abbreviations - what the heck did it mean when it said 'yarnover' and how could anyone know how to 's1k1psso'?? So much for that pattern. Instead I chose a tank with cables that was in a Vogue Knitting magazine at the library. I figured that should work since I knew how to make cables and I could read the portion of that pattern that said how many to cast on - so off I went and ad-libbed my way through it. It didn't fit very well but I certainly wore it proudly.
Another year later and I wanted to knit something so decided on a striped scarf for my daughter. Being big on Disney colors at that time, she chose turquoise and lime Lion Brand Microspun from Michael's...
(This is a later version of the scarf and hat to go with it)
I soon ended up back at the same LYS and the owner invited me to attend a knit-in held at her shop. She promised that it was quite a nice group of ladies that loved to answer knitting questions.
At that first knit-in I learned that: I was twisting my stitches; I was a continental knitter; and that I was way out of my league! Barb K. was knitting a patchwork sweater with some funny looking needles (they were Addi turbos); Pat J. was learning to knit a hat with strange two ended wood needles; Pattee G. was baffling over a sweater that began in the center; and Kim M. was knitting gorgeous gloves with three strands of fine yarn. Then there was me with my stockinette, curling at the edge, sometimes twisted stitch, boring striped scarf.
That was a real eye opener - I didn't know there was so much to know about knitting! It was fascinating. I went home determined to figure out what it meant that I was twisting my stitches, before that evening I had no idea that there was a certain way that the stitches should go. I found an on-line site with videos (valleycafe.com which later became knittinghelp.com) and then the light bulb went on.
From there I searched for local knitting groups and found through the Greater St. Louis Knitter's Guild that there was a weekly knit-in at a nearby bookstore. I remember calling Denise C. and being rather apologetic that I really didn't know how to knit but was interested in attending a knit-in. She kindly explained that knitter's love to teach others so that was no problem.
So in the summer of 2004, that is where I first met Robin C., Tyann L., and re-met Kim M. and Barb K. (same Kim and Barb from earlier). All were members of the Guild and encouraged me to attend the next Guild meeting, which I did and later joined.
I was quite inspired by all the beautiful projects that everyone was working on. The monthly programs were really interesting, my favorite part though was "show 'n share". Everyone was so nice. I was quite surprised that everyone knit during meetings!
From there the rest is history - I couldn't soak it up fast enough, my fingers couldn't keep up with all that I wanted to try. I was soon a "Knitter" with a capital "K" as defined by the Yarn Harlot. I made so many nice new friends who all liked to do something that I liked to do - what a new concept that was!
Once I learned a technique I wasn't happy to knit straight from someone else's pattern and began modifying existing patterns, then making up my own designs. After being asked so many times 'where did you get that pattern' I thought it would be fun to try to have a pattern published.
I applied for membership to the Professional Knitwear Designers Group (which later became the Association of Knitwear Designers to learn more about the knitting pattern publishing side of the industry and get advice for submitting free-lance design ideas to magazines. Diane Z. was assigned as my mentor and patiently answered my gazillion questions.
In 2005 I took a deep breath and submitted two designs to Knitter's magazine fully expecting them to be returned with a rejection letter any day. I was absolutely floored when they were accepted for publication.
Since then I had a third design published by Knitter's and another appeared in Vogue Knitting.
Recently I decided to try my hand a self-publishing beginning with a lovely design for a sock named "Ariel" - a subject for a near-future post.