I kid you not when I say that knitting changed all of these things for me. I don't know if it was just finding the thing in my life that just pulled it all together, if it was the right time in my twenties or if I was just looking for self fulfillment in all of the wrong places, but knitting made my life work.
Now it didn't happen overnight, but something magical happened from the moment I cast on those first super tight stitches. People had been trying to teach me how to knit for years, but I could never grok it. My grandmother was thrilled whenever I expressed interest in her knitting and she enjoyed showing me how to knit, but her needles moved too fast and her fingers made it difficult to see how you wrap the yarn around the needle and pull it through the other stitch. I could never clearly see each individual step so it never stuck. That and she always worked on such beautiful projects that I didn't feel comfortable messing up her knitting even at her insistence.
It was a long time before I tried knitting again. Over the years I became convinced that it was something I'd never learn. It was just too complicated for me, despite being attracted to yarn, crocheting single stitch blankets and immersing myself in other crafts. There were beaded necklaces. There were very poorly sewn quilts. There were cheesy cross stitch kits. None of these pursuits left me feeling very satisfied. The necklaces just piled up. You can only wear so many and there wasn't Etsy at the time (or the belief that anyone would want to buy my necklaces anyway). Quilting required a much too fussy attention to detail and the results made me feel like a clumsy mess. The many steps, the fabric washing, the block cutting, the ironing, the sewing all felt too much like work to me, another chore just slightly more enjoyable than washing dishes.
I finally learned to knit when I took the time to teach myself. I bought a Lion Brand learn to knit kit, read the instructions and saw exactly what was happening with each step: insert needle into stitch, wrap the stitch around the needle and pull it through the old stitch. The rhymes my grandmother had used to teach me made the actual motions confusing. Finally after referring to the instructions a couple more times I was casting stitches onto the needle, and then knitting my first row, then another and another.
Watching my first scarf grow before my very eyes something else happened: I learned how to become confident in myself. Each row was its own accomplishment until I had a finished scarf, a scarf that represented an achievement, something I had made with my own hands that actually looked good on me. I became addicted to that sense of accomplishment just as much as the soft yarns and pointy needles that I began to collect. The magic thing that happened when I learned to knit? I finally developed some self esteem.
Pretty soon the more I knit, the more confident I became in myself and soon I was hanging out at knit nights and making new friends. Friends introduced me to more friends, I rediscovered my love of comic books and became interested in board games, which led to making even more friends. It's been 8 years since I taught myself how to knit and I can play six degrees of knitting. Everything good in my life started when I learned how to knit.
Knitting can teach you that too. All you have to do is pick up the needles.
Mom. Wife. Crafter. Succulent Gardener. Co-op Preschool Parent. Housing Activist.
What's going on now?
Became a housing activist. Knitting at city council meetings is much more fun than I imagined.
What I'm knitting:
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