Nature Abhors A Vacuum

When my goat-herder son was home for the holidays, he announced that he wanted to learn to knit. I promptly took him to my stash to choose some worsted-weight yarn and gave him a size 8 (5 mm) circular needle. I taught him to cast-on and how to make a knit stitch (Continental, of course).

Alex learns to knit

After a few rows of garter stitch, I taught him to purl and explained the difference between the two–what looks like a knit stitch on one side appears as a purl stitch on the other and vice versa. He caught on quickly and was eager to move onto a real project.

I didn’t want to discourage him by making him knit a proper gauge swatch so I made an educated guess on the number of stitches for him to cast on for a hat. Because I wanted him to fully understand the difference between knit and purl stitches, I had him use a k3, p1 pattern throughout (I thought it would also give him practice dropping down and picking up stitches when he made mistakes).

Then I broke my arm. But he kept knitting (blurriness courtesy of my drug-induced stupor).

Working of first project

After a few inches, he tried on the tube, which turned out to be a little too big for a snug-fitting hat so he decided to turn it into a simple cowl instead and I managed to teach him to bind off. It turned out to be a little too snug around his neck so he’s wearing it proudly as an open-ended hat.

Alex finished first project 2He then decided that he liked the cowl idea so we headed back to my stash and found two skeins of worsted-weight alpaca tweed that he liked. This time, he cast on about 200 stitches to make sure it would be plenty long. But to shake things up a bit, I taught him moss stitch and he quickly grasped the idea of k2, p2 rib for two rounds followed by p2, k2 rib for two rounds. He only got a couple of rounds done before he had to return to Oregon, but he sent me a photo of his progress.

Moss-stitch cowl in progress

Although there are some areas where he forgot to offset the knits and purls in the beginning, he caught onto the pattern and filled the void caused by my inability to knit. Yesterday he sent me a photo of the finished cowl, which he says is “perfect.”

Alex finished cowl

I say “huzzah!”, and am thoroughly convinced that despite some of my concerns during his teenage years, he really *is* my son!

13 thoughts on “Nature Abhors A Vacuum”

  1. This is such a great story. And fitting hiven all the shepherds who used to knit. Glad you are on the mend.

  2. That just goes to show that there really is hope for my kids to learn to knit. What a wonderful thing to be able to share what you love with your kids, in a way that you know will be carried on for at least one more generation! I can’t wait to see what he will knit next. Keep us posted……..

  3. I think that is wonderful that he wanted to learn how to knit and has such an interest. Is he really a goat herder? That is cool and it’s all about fiber sheep, goat, musk ox whatever is available.

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