I first started knitting when I was studying abroad in college. A friend had showed me the basics the year before, and for some reason I picked up needles and yarn somewhere in northern India during that long ago semester. I particularly remember knitting during the independent study portion of the program, at which time the forty or so of us studying together all branched out to different places throughout India and Nepal to do a field-based research project. I was in Darjeeling, high in the tea-covered mountains, and boy, was it cold. Maybe that is why I started knitting, now that I think about it. Anyway, I had a lot of time to myself, and I knit my first scarf. I remember bringing it down to the Tibetan woman who worked at the front desk of the guest house where I had been staying for several weeks and somehow explaining to her, without words, that I had no idea how to cast off. She, without words, taught me. I've been knitting ever since.
Like any knitter, I love me a good yarn shop. I love fancy yarns and unusual fibers and hand dyed wools. I have a gigantic stash of yarn that I just had to have, with no particular project in mind, and I love going to new yarn stores when I visit new places.
Some of my favorite projects, however, come from your average balls of yarn that I buy at Michael's or Jo-Ann's and from patterns that I download for free from Lion Brand. As I've previously mentioned, I'm not the fastest knitter. That said, I love projects that use thick yarn, and I particularly like the Lion Brand Thick and Quick. Over the last few years, I have made probably a dozen of these hats: they stitch up beautifully, are very warm, are flexible for sizing (which helps, since I'm typically mailing them to the receiver), and look adorable. As an added bonus, I can usually finish one in the time it takes to sit down and watch a movie.
Last week, I got an email from Lion Brand with a link to a pattern for socks made with Thick and Quick yarn. Interestingly enough, I learned to knit socks from a Mongolian friend entirely in Mongolian and to this day the only "pattern" I've ever used are the notes I scratched down during our demonstration-based lessons ten years ago. So I think I'm going to give this a try. The floors in my house are always cold, so I'm happy to have a pair of thick warm slipper socks in my near future. I'll let you know how it goes!
Lion Brand Longford Hat
Lion Brand Slipper Socks