Monday, August 13, 2012

In the Beginning ...

It started with a worm. Rather, it started with several worms that eventually met their deaths in a bathtub as my sister attempted to “clean” them. At twenty-seven years old, my sister doesn’t seem like an accidental worm assassin, but when she was younger she had a habit of sharing her baths with worms that ventured topside. Most people would get the correlation between earthworms emerging from their subterranean tunnels during a rainstorm and why they might not survive tub time, but my sister is not most people (a steadfast believer in the “if you put your mind to it you can achieve anything” paradigm, she probably figured they would evade drowning by sheer force of will). Every time she lifted a limp, water-logged annelid from the basin of the tub she wondered why he had not survived what seemed like a pretty fun bubble bath.

After a particularly harrowing incident involving a night crawler and too much Mr. Bubbles, I decided it was time to end the cycle of senseless earthworm death and my sister’s resulting emotional turmoil. Fortunately, during our last family visit to West Virginia, my great aunt Paulette taught me how to crochet. I admit: I was not the best student. I promptly forgot how to work double crochet and took to creating long crochet chains rather than the granny squares she hoped would be churning from my hook. But to appease my sister’s penchant for bathing with segmented friends, the chain stitch was all I required. A couple dozen chains and a tuft of red yarn secured to one end (for the tongue. Because all fiber-y worms have tongues), and I had completed my first finished object. FO for those of you who understand internet crafting speak.

I presented the worm to my sister wrapped in a Kleenex because it was the closest thing I could find to gift wrap. I don’t remember what she named that curling bit of knotted yarn, but she did name it, and it did take many baths with her. I crocheted several friends to accompany that first yarn worm, but I never managed to move beyond the chain stitch.

Once my sister was old enough to transition from baths to showers, I stopped crocheting altogether. My flirtation with fiber arts did not resume until I started graduate school more than a decade later. This time, a friend taught me to knit. Well, she attempted to teach me to knit. What I picked up from the lesson was how to purl and so I made my first knitted item, a chocolate brown scarf in some Bernat boucle I found at Hobby Lobby, exclusively in purl stitch. Even though that scarf is the ugliest thing I have ever made, it started me on the path to obsessive knitting and sometime crocheting.

It’s been eight years since I started knitting. I’ve since finished graduate school (let’s all cheer for the useless MFA). The Hobby Lobby where I bought that first skein of atrocious boucle yarn is now gone, flattened by a tornado during the devastating 2011 storm season. And instead of knitting for myself, these days I usually have something for my eight-month-old daughter on the needles. I’ve learned a lot since those first crochet chained worms, but I still have a lot left to learn. My next foray in fiber arts? Knitwear design. I’ve followed a lot of patterns – now I want to try creating some of my own and sharing them with other knitters.


  1. I love to check in on your life every so often :) Your old Ashford Traddy has left me and moved onto another newish spinner minus the sheep she wore at the time. Your daughter is beautiful!

    1. It's so nice to hear the Traddy is helping yet another new spinner! I'm currently without a spinning wheel -- it was getting too difficult for me to keep all the balls in the air as a knitter and a spinner, so I'm taking a little break. Thanks for stopping by -- I know it's a bit of a mess around here at the moment.