Few ideas surfacing for budget solution

Every now and then, I like to attempt to do something to appear like a normal, adult, domesticated human being.

Certain things come easily. I enjoy cooking and baking, so I threw myself headlong into creating new and different varieties of cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip cookies. Other things, like cleaning, are a bit more difficult to embrace. Still others, left unchecked, turn into obsessions.

At the beginning of December, wondering what to get for a friend who already has everything, the bright idea struck me. Well, that might be a bit of an understatement. Said idea crept slowly out of the shadows, ran up behind me, and whacked me a good one upside the noggin.

?I?ll knit him a hat,? said my mouth, as my brain flopped around uselessly in protest.

I?ve taken random stabs at learning to knit and crochet before. I finally conceded defeat when I saw that all of the afghans I attempted to crochet tended to assume the shape of a capital A as they neared completion, and that no amount of fringe could correct that.

As for knitting, I knew that the pointy ends of the needles were supposed to do wonderful, miraculous things with yarn and magically create sweaters. Easy, right? Even the A-line problem of crochet would be OK, since hats are supposed to get smaller at the top, aren?t they?

Armed with a ball of yarn and some of my mom?s old knitting needles, I scoured the Internet for a pattern I could handle. In other words, something that only said knit and purl.

It then occurred to me that I should maybe refresh my mind (in other words, learn how) on what, exactly, knit and purl were and how I should go about using the pointy ends to make the yarn do them. Hooray for YouTube.

Off I went, knitting and purling like crazy. So crazy, in fact, that I had to start over a few times before I got the hang of making them go together like the supposedly easy directions told me to.

Another lesson learned: just because somebody on the Internet says it?s easy, doesn?t mean it will be easy for YOU. Still another lesson: when a pattern says knit in the round, straight needles don?t work. Knitting in the round for the first time should always be supervised by a competent adult, possibly with a first aid kit.

As the hat neared completion, I was beset with worry. Was it time to get smaller? Why wasn?t it getting smaller by itself like the afghans had? Eek! Double pointed needles? What am I supposed to do with those? After much muttering and many replays on YouTube, I finally finished the hat with a sigh of relief, and not a little pride. I knitted that! Me! By myself!

To admire its glory, I tried the hat on. It sat on my head like a wilted flower, hardly the epitome of usefulness and masculinity that it was intended to be. Panicking, I wondered how to shrink acrylic. I briefly contemplated making another one, but by that time, the knitting had infected me. I planned to make everyone their own special hat. I didn?t have time to make a whole new one! Finally, I cinched the bottom with some elastic, and my intrepid hubby gave it the manly OK.

From then on, there was no stopping. I kept plugging along with big needles and super bulky yarn. I tried slightly more difficult patterns. Then, giddy with my newfound talent, I tried an easy lace hat for my niece. This one had more letters in it. Instead of K2 P2, it said funny things like SSK, P2tog, and SKW.

Back to YouTube I went. By now, I was getting faster, and thought I might have time to make one for myself. The siren song of lace tickled my needles, and I set off on a pattern for a lace beanie. I kid you knot (haha), the angels sang. I got lace! I can understand this! Wow!

Then some well-meaning friends persuaded me to join Ravelry, the online knitting and crocheting community. New worlds of possibility opened for me, and they didn?t need to include the word easy. Off I went.

Now it wasn?t enough to try new patterns, I wanted to try more yarns. Good old Red Heart just wouldn?t cut the mustard anymore. Off I went to the yarn shop. I?ll admit it, I?m dangerous in there. At this rate, I?ve got enough projects in my queue to last me till next Christ?mas. Must knit faster.

Even my hubby doesn?t mind. He says he?d rather I spend money on yarn that I can put away in a box than on critters that we have to keep feeding. And his head stays nice and warm too, which can?t hurt.

So, if at first you don?t succeed?or even if you make a terrible mess of something?try, try again. Maybe something will strike you just right and you?ll have a brand new talent. Gotta run for now. I really need to finish that last scarf so I can start a new shawl.

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