I’ve figured out something about the way I work, and the way I learn. When I decide to try something new, I go to the library and check out every book I can find on the subject. If possible, I might take a class or have someone show me how to do it. I learned to cook first by taking every cooking class offered in high school. Then I read cookbooks. I followed recipes carefully, step-by-step. For awhile I was crazy about soup. I whipped up all sorts of soup recipes, curried cream of chicken, fresh pea soup, chicken stock from scratch, creamy cilantro soup. And then I started to see how soups work. If you want a creamy soup, cook some sort of starch with the stock and then puree it, put the vegetables that take longer to cook in the soup first and add the others later. I learned how some seasonings work together and how much of a particular herb to use. It wasn’t until I followed recipe after recipe and really understood how the ingrediants worked together and what techniques were used that I felt brave enough to discard the cookbooks and do my own thing.
I went through the same process with bookbinding, reading every book I could find on the subject and following the instructions exactly as written. I took a class, saw the tools and watched what other people did. Then I made books in all sorts of different dimensions using different materials and combining techniques.
I think I’m finally reaching that point with knitting. I knit my first project without a pattern this past weekend (except for the odd garter stitch scarf, of course). It was just an experiment, and it didn’t turn out exactly how I wanted it to, and really, it’s just a couple of rectangles sewn together, but I learned and now I have a little more confidence with my knitting ability. I now know a little more about felting and intarsia and creating a chart to knit from. I also have a nifty little bag just for my sock projects!
I knit the polka dots a little more long than wide, because I knew it would shrink more in length than width, but I should have done one less row, they’re a little more egg-shaped than I wanted. Polka eggs instead of polka dots! I decided to try some blocks of color for the other side, because I wanted to try something different, and frankly, the polka eggs were a pain in the bum.I love the way it felted, it’s so soft and fuzzy and it’s a nice size for toting around little projects. So there you have it, a felted bag from scratch!