I still can't find the damn charger for my camera. This is very annoying. I have pretty FOs to show you!
Tonight was the second week some friends of mine and I have gotten together to have a little impromptu knitting circle. More specifically, for the second night, I have tried to teach two friends to knit. I thought I was pretty good at this. Right before I left Philly, I sucessfully taught two friends how to work the wool and sticks -- I even had one of them doing cables by the end of her first lesson (she was really ambitious and unusually dextrous). But today was a totally different beast. It might be because I was unprepared -- I woke up at 6:30 this morning to go running over in Kentucky and spent the day out there, dealing with various elements of the personal problems I mentioned in the last post. Not the best mental space to approach teaching. I didn't have my usual array of needles and yarn (to teach them weight and appropriate needle size) or gauge swatches that can teach how to recognize knits and purls, twisted stitches, yarn overs, and dropped stitches. I only had one piece of my own knitting with me, and it was a particularly complicated pair of socks on size 0 dpns. Not the best teaching tool. I might have struggled because one woman was using a kinky purple almost-novelty yarn (not a good first yarn -- too hard to see your stitches, too hard to keep an even tension, too hard to run smoothly through your fingers). I struggled to articulate what I was trying to say -- how do you explain the long-tail cast-on to someone in words? For some reason, watching me and repeating wasn't working. I completely failed at reminding another friend how to purl because she knits American and I have always knitted continental (at least as long as I can remember). I have no idea how American knitting works, and I had no books to consult. I feel a little discouraged. I guess what's important is that they aren't, but...
Most importantly, I found the whole experience educational -- It made me realize how far I've come in the last year and a half and how much of knitting is personal discovery. I've developed a whole new understanding of fiber, color, and texture in the last year, just from messing around on my own. I've figured out what techniques work for me and what don't, what kind of needles I like, what happens when you use needles too small and too big, how to pick up dropped stitches, and how to fix mistakes without frogging, all without guidance. So much of the process of knitting, I'm coming to realize, is intuitive and can't be taught. For some reason, today, this amazed me.
Also amazing -- earlier in the afternoon, I went over to a friend's house and had a few beers on her porch. The sun was shining and I could hear the wind rustling the leaves down in the holler. At least I thought it was leaves, until I looked up and realized that it was a wall of rain. I sat and watched the rain come up the valley until it hit the house, a torrential downpour. All the while the sun shone, and there was an enormous, if faint, rainbow. It was an incredible thing -- much like watching the weather roll in across the plains out west. But here I was, in the middle of a dense patch of mountains. So unexpected and so beautiful.
I'm giving myself a few more days, and then I'll find some sort of alternative to digital photos, because lets be honest -- photoless posts stink.
P.S. Yesterday, in a fit of craving, I made bagels. Real, honest-to-god bagels. I was skeptical about whether it would all work -- I'm very, very picky about my bagels, which is why I've not had one since I moved here. But I was incredibly impressed with this recipe and pretty pleased with myself. They had the perfect crunchy outside, chewy (but not cakey, doughy, or bready) insides... delicious. With a longer rise nexttime, they might be pretty damn close to perfection (for bagels made by hand on an electric stove in a kitchen in central Appalachia, that is).