Last night I finished knitting this purple hat, which I will send to a children’s hospital through my college’s chapter of Project Sunshine, a national organization that aims to create a sense of normalcy for children and their families during long hospital stays.
It isn’t the most technically perfect knitted item in existence, but I am still extraordinarily proud of myself for it.
The last six months of my knitting career could be characterized with the word “struggle.”
Since joining IC Project Sunshine in September, I’ve struggled through our weekly meetings, comically trying and failing to create anything of value for a child in need. The president and vice president of the club taught me to knit, but I proceeded to do it wrong and ended up with three rows of knotted mess and a serious self-esteem issue. I gave up, unraveled my yarn, and started over.
I finally learned how to do the stitching right, yet somehow again managed to mess up. Realizing that what I was knitting looked strange, VP Lisa turned to me at one of the meetings and said, “Sabina, how many stitches do you have on your needles?”
“I think 48,” I replied.
At this point, Caitlin, the president, stepped in. “There is no way that’s 48 stitches.”
She took my needles from me and began counting. When she got to 48, she had only made it about a third of the way through all the loops on my needles.
So we turned it into a game entitled “How many stitches are on Sabina’s needles?” I guessed 137, Caitlin guessed 170. Even Lisa said her guess was unbelievably high, but Caitlin stood by her 170. Each member of the club submitted a number, and uproarious laughter filled the room as Caitlin counted the stitches. Every time the number surpassed one of the member’s guesses, Lisa turned their name red.
In the end I had 171 stitches on my needles. Caitlin was victorious, and she will always have that as a source of pride.
Considering that 171 stitches is over 3x larger than a child’s hat size and is even too big for an adult, I decided to stop wasting my time and my yarn, cast off (it turned out to be a strange collar-looking thing), and start a new project that would hopefully become a hat.
I cast on and began knitting. Again, I thought I was making a hat, but ended up with too many stitches on my needles. After completing several rows, I cast off, and I had what looked like a doll-sized scarf. I started yet again, this time deciding I wouldn’t cast on many stitches and instead try to teach myself how to purl (a different type of stitch that many hat patterns call for).
I expected it to go horribly wrong, which honestly you can’t blame me for given my track record, but I was actually okay at purling. I completed the pattern and ended up making the tiniest hat you’ve ever seen. It’s certainly too small for any human child, and probably even too small for some baby dolls.
While knitting a hat like my purple one is nothing to some people (some of the members of Project Sunshine can knit something that size in an hour or two), to me it was a serious accomplishment. My final stitch came with a great hooray and some Twitter bragging to everyone in the club who has watched me make my catastrophic knit goods over the past six months. I may have struggled a lot, but I finally have overcome the hat humiliation of 2013-2014.