I have always been drawn to the yarn aisle at Michaels - the color, the texture -I just can't help myself. I have even attempted to master the art of knitting many times over the years. It is such a soothing craft, the perfect thing to do while you binge watch your fave shows and yet I haven't ever been able to stick with it and finish a single project I started. I think I may actually be coming up on year three for my attempt at making a pillow cover.
Learning a new craft is definitely good for my soul, but there is something about learning from a real person - who can steer you in the right direction when you suddenly have a tangled mess - that might just be important for me and how I tend to learn best. This month our Michaels Makers Challenge was all about learning something new, so of course I knew instantly where I would focus my energy. I had the pleasure of attending one of the classes they offer at Michaels, for beginning knit, and it was fabulous.
Clearly I need a little of that peer pressure or team effort thing going on, because this is quite literally the first project of this kind I have ever actually finished! The class size is kept small so the personal attention to each student is amazing. Note to self... if you pull the yarn from the middle of the skein, it doesn't roll all over the place and tangle the dogs in a crazy mess. Duh - might have been good to know several project starts and many moons ago... I am in no way a good knitter at this point (terrible actually), but I understand some of the basics and feel comfortable enough now to venture out and try some other projects and maybe even a new stich or two.
The pattern for making this clutch is very simple... I did 85-90 rows with 30 stitches in each (about 10 inches in length), with the basic knit stitch. I dropped the first stitch in each row to create a nice looking side profile (also called slipping a stitch) which means that instead of knitting into it as I would for the other stitches, I simply slid it onto my right needle, then knit into the second stitch. PS - turns out a pattern made entirely with the knit stitch is called a garter stitch. How is that for confusing.. Once my rectangle was the right length, I cast off with a knit bind method (I think) that involved knitting into two stitches, then bringing the first stitch over the top of the second. Then you are left with one stitch on your needle so you will need to knit an additional stitch and pull the firsst over. Do this till you get to the end and cut your trailing yarn and pull it through your single remaining loop. Then I simply used a darning needle to sew the sides together after folding up the bottom 4 inches. I couldn't find a diagram for this that worked so I got creative and did something similar to an embroidery loop stitch. It worked so yahoo. To add the fringe, I chose an alternating color and cut it into 4 inch strips. I folded each in half and pushed the looped end through the bottom edge row of my fold, which was actually my cast on row, and tucked the dangling ends through the loop I just pushed through. So easy...
If you are like me and a group activity is exactly what you need to try something new and craft among friends, check out the class schedule at your local store. They rotate throughout the month and some of them are even free - you only need to buy your supplies - but that is the fun part anyhow, don't you think? If a class isn't quite your thing, or you don't live close enough to a location to attend, one of their craft kits would be a fabulous way to explore something new and learn a new skill!
I have my eye on the next class in the beginning knit series, because I absolutely love the project and checking two completed projects off my list is usually what it takes for something to truly stick. Is it like that for you too?
If you would like to see what the other Makers learned this month and need a bit of inspiration to help you decide which class to take and what to make, check them all out right here!