There are many reasons why people begin and continue knitting. It may be to fight boredom, to stop smoking, because it’s fun, to impress a girl, and a million and one other examples. But there are reasons that are deep to each knitter. This is my story about how I began knitting and how it became one of the biggest passions of my life.
To say knitting has been an epic love story in my life would be a vast understatement. It has been so many things for me that at many times seem too difficult to even explain. I will start by saying that when I was young I was told I had learning disabilities that teachers and classmates looked down on me for. I was made fun of, I felt stupid on a regular basis, and my self esteem was in constant need of repair. My “disabilities” were pointed out and put on display for others amusement and I was in constant fear of being called to the board, yet again, to be made a fool of. Obviously I hated school and my academics suffered greatly due to my lack of attention and involvement. My father would call the school repeatedly to tell the teachers and principals to put an end to the teasing but it didn’t stop. So when I went into forth grade I was sent to an alternative school. I was very excited to be at a school where they taught things like music, mythology, and to my greatest pleasure, knitting. Although I had my challenges there as well I would be forever changed by the new skill that was revamping my life and my self esteem.
The first thing I knitted was a scarf, and of course like any new knitter, it wove in and out where I had picked up and attempted to slyly decrease, stitches. I changed colors on the wrong side, I knotted my yarn, and it looked like a great big mess. I used scrap yarns given to me by the school and size 10 wooden straight needles which I still have. And although it wasn’t the most perfect of scarves knitting was something that made me feel good and I actually for the first time in my young life felt like, “wow, I could be really great at this.” It became the “thing” in my life. I couldn’t put my size 10 wooden straight needles down! No one in my family knitted, I didn’t know anyone outside of that school that knew how to knit and for the first time in my life I was unique and talented at something. I had spent my life watching other kids be good at things like sports, talent shows, math, art, etc and now I had something that made me feel good that I was actually good at.
I continued to knit in the following years and I continued to fall madly in love with it. After twenty years of knitting I am still in awe watching a skein of yarn become something. I have neverbeen unimpressed with knitting and all the glorious techniques that can be done. I never wanted to stop learning all the magical secrets knitting held. So I continued to learn and grow and even got my first “real” job at a knitting store in Bellingham, WA. My skill level shot through the roof as I learned about gauge, fiber, knitting books, patterns, other styles of knitting and more. I was enveloped in knitting and the world of fiber! And it was actually through working at that knitting store I discovered that I didn’t really have the learning disabilities I was told I had so many years ago.
Through knitting and my understanding of gauge I was able to finally add, subtract, and multiply like I had never been able to do in school. I remember an older women coming into the store on a cool, Fall, Washington day with some shiny silk lace yarn and a shawl pattern. She explained that she wanted to use her beautiful light blue silk lace yarn with that specific pattern but that the gauge didn’t match. She wanted me to figure out based off of her needle size and gauge of yarn how many stitches to cast on and to adjust the numbers appropriately in order for her to use her preferred yarn. Without hesitating I went to work. I put my elbows on the desk, read the pattern, checked the yarn gauge, punched the calculator, wrote each number down on a post it and then stopped in disbelief. I had just done math! Insane, full blown, complicated, “how the hell did you just do that?” style math! The real kicker was when this women who was two-three times my age said, “oh my gosh, how did you do that?!” I realized in that moment that knitting was more then just a self esteem cheerleader, it was without a doubt, the best teacher I ever had. Knitting had always been there, guiding me, supporting me, encouraging me to go on, keeping my interest, not judging me or embarrassing me or making me feel bad for not being able to do it like everyone else. I was able to do the things I had been told I couldn’t do, was hopeless at, and would never accomplish and I hadn’t even realized it till that moment!
So that is why I became a knitter and stayed a knitter and why knitting is one of the most important parts of my life. The way that knitting makes me feel is incomparable to anything else. The creatively that flows and the magic that happens when I knit still excites me after all this time. The colors, yarns, fibers, textures, patterns, and projects are endless! Each one as fun and as interesting as the last! The sound of the needles, the feeling of the yarn between my fingers. It’s one of the most exhilarating feelings and continues to take my breath away. There are millions of reasons to knit and it doesn’t have to look or sound anything like the reasons I knit. Maybe you want to learn something new, or it’s hip, or it’s interesting or maybe you want to learn just because it’s super awesome, cause it is. No matter why you pick up a pair of knitting needles, I just hope you pick them up and never put them down.