For my birthday in November of 2014 I received what is usually called a “crank knitter.” These are devices with either 22 or 44 needles which knit in a circle. While there are instructions for knitting flat panels with them, I’ve never taken the time to master it myself, but I have enjoyed making dozens of tube scarves, neckwarmers, and reversible winter hats with it.
I had already been making legwarmers for myself with knitting looms and selling the extras on Etsy—once I started making them I couldn’t stop myself!—and moving to a crank knitter just seemed like a natural progression for one who is intimidated by “real” knitting needles. I became absorbed in learning all I could about it, and even referred to YouTube videos to see how other people were using, maintaining, and inventing with their machines.
Which, dear reader, is when it began.
I happened to be searching YouTube for ways to close the open ends of the tube scarves, and happened upon one Margaret Olander. She has maintained her channel, Sheepishly Sharing, for about three years now, and her chronicled adventures have served as a wonderful resource for this bungling crafter. One of her videos taught me how to close scarf ends with a crochet technique, and it worked beautifully!
In searching for other tips and tricks, I’ve come upon many other crafters’ podcasts, which I began watching regularly, until one day I realized that knitting and crocheting podcasts have almost completely replaced our Roku box as my primary source of screen entertainment! I eagerly await the next podcast as much as the latest Big Bang Theory episode, and being able to follow these real people—actual “reality” television—is almost like being in their knitting group. I will likely highlight many more podcasters in the coming months.
Give me a laptop, a hook, and some yarn, and I’m a happy gal.
This has, of course, contributed to another phenomenon at my house, in which my husband insists that the yarn is multiplying and must be caged in a corner of the living room lest it take over the entire house. It intensified when my mother suggested I find a way to use the crank knitter to make her some cotton dish cloths, as her hands were too arthritic to knit her own—and she gave me the cotton yarn and crochet hooks to do so. It didn’t work for me in the knitter, but I did find a video—one of hundreds—which demonstrates how to crochet one. I spent several weeks painstakingly learning the simplest of stitches, my fingers tangling into painful knots. I marveled at the work of those crafters who could produce something besides a rats’ nest or a wadded-up bundle of acrylic.
Once I mastered that, I moved on to other things—wristlets, headbands, and this year my craft resolution is to learn to crochet a sweater and a pair of socks, which technically I’ve already accomplished, if you consider that my standards run more to “function” over “form.” I consider it one of those SHTF skills (which for my household is defined as “one of us has lost our job or become disabled” rather than “I’m going to stockpile all kinds of alarming things and rant about the government” kind of situation”. As my skills grew, so did my yarn stash. A year ago we repurposed our corner computer cabinet to hold the ever-growing stash, and already it overflows.
Perhaps the yarn will take over after all. Just don’t tell my husband!