Who taught you to knit?
As a knitter, do you ever get asked that?
Along with, "oh! my grandmother used to knit!" "What are you making?" "is that knitting or crochet?" "can you make me a ________?" "you should sell those!" and "did you make your____?"
and many more unsolicited questions and comments when I am knitting in public. I get it, it goes with the territory. Usually I say something pretty banal, and then think of a million snappy and witty responses about an hour later.
One question, that I usually also answer with the boring answer, "a friend" hung in my mind tonight, as I sit, stand, walk around following my son, and knit.
I would not be able to make such quality clothing for myself, or be able to share them with my family, friends, and customers worldwide- if it were not for the afternoon I sat down on "a friend's" couch and learned to knit.
It was the summer I moved to Dancing waters fresh from college. I was interacting with everyone there, in the gardens, in the orchard, in the kitchen and at meetings. There was one woman who lived there, that we barely saw, because she was busy being an amazing professor at a college nearby. I always admired her outfits when she left in the morning to go teach, and she informed me, that she made them! she knit them! I was mesmerized!
I always have had an interest in fashion design, costuming, and making clothing from a time before ours look modern and fresh. I had the great privilege of having many an outfit created especially for me by my mother, who is an amazing seamstress and hand quilter.
What was I to do when I moved out of the house, did not have access to custom created clothing, yet still had a yearning for unique fashion? well, I of course frequented the thrift stores, antique shoppes and resale places everywhere I went, just in case I stumbled upon a treasure.
When this craft that my grandmother did to make afghans and baby blankets for everyone in the family, turned into a art from that could also make gorgeous garments, my world turned and I was hooked.
I suppose literally, Because I actually learned to crochet first. Never did crochet catch on with me, I can still do the basics of crochet, and add a nice little lace edging to a finished garment- but It just does not hold my interest like knitting does. (maybe we can talk about this in another post)
The best thing that crochet did for me, was set up my habit of holding tension. I knit continental, so, I hold my yarn in my left hand, and pick the yarn as I go. This means I do a very minimal amount of moving my fingers and the yarn about, making my overall knitting time, much shorter than everyone else I know.
When my friend sat down to teach me to knit, the very next day, she had no idea (or maybe she did) that she was handing me my passion, my refuge, my comfort, and so much more.
She has taught me a skill that I will carry with me, and hone for the rest of my life. I don't think I could go another day without knitting.
I take projects with me every time I leave the house, just in case I get some unexpected knitting time. When I accidentally forget my knitting, or leave it in the car, just to run in for a moment, I find myself always wishing that it was there by my side- even 30 seconds of knitting time, is knitting time.
it almost kills me to sit down and write this post, because I am sacrificing knitting time to do it.
Like many of you, I am sure, I use every moment I can get to do a little knitting, and at the end of the day I can be heard saying "just one more row". My favorite "room" in the house is where I store my yarn, notions needles, and other haberdashery.
It is certainly an impossibility to put down in words just how much knitting means to me. When I enter the library, or a book shop, I no longer look at any other section, it's only knitting. The moment I enter the yarn shop, I feel the weight of the outside world, the anxiety of walking down the street, fall off at the door. I am home, with all those rich colors and interesting textures.
I experience extreme anxiety, debilitating anxiety. Regarding all sorts of stuff, even the though of doing the dishes is sometimes enough to have me incapacitated. Still, Knitting, I can always do some knitting. I know how to do that, my body knows how to knit. so, I can always pick up my needles, put my yarn in my left hand and keep going. It's a hundred, a thousand, 10,000, tiny accomplishments, and that's something. There have been many days, where I can do naught else but knit. Seeing that I have accomplished something, seeing all the rows, and all the individual stitches that I created, it a tonic to my soul. I know, when I see something I've created, or that I am creating, that I am doing something. something worthy of all the time and effort I put into it.
I cannot imagine where I would be today without knitting. It is foolish to try. Countless times, knitting has kept me from a deep dark place, has created happiness, has kept me warm, has put a smile on someone else's face, has warmed my family, has brought joy, and frustration, has challenged my mind, has taught me new things, made me understand the math I couldn't grasp in high school, and so much more- Actually every day knitting does this.
So, I am incredibly thankful that I can knit, I am so thankful that my friend gave to me the tools to pursue this lifelong passion, so grateful that they inspired me, and still do with their amazing creations. So blessed to have such a TRUE friend. thank you thank you thank you.
Thank you for being a part of my life's work.