I started knitting when I was 19. My boyfriend’s mother taught me. Despite the less than quality relationship with the boy, the memory of his mom and I sitting on their couch laughing about my ability to drop stitches is a fond one.
I have wanted to learn to knit for as long as I can remember. I grew up watching Grammy, my paternal grandmother create treasures with her hands. Sewing. Embroidery. Knitting. She was a magician to my five year old eyes. She passed away when I was eight, before she could teach me how to knit, but not before instilling an appreciation for it.
At 19 however, the lesson didn’t stick. University, part time jobs, friends, parties – the stationary component of knitting didn’t play well with my lifestyle.
Fast forward several years. I was dating a wonderful fella who would become my husband. The quality relationship tapped into some deep rooted tradition. A love for cooking and baking took hold. And the desire to knit resurfaced. All of which, by the way, was very much to my surprise. Seriously. Maturity does odd things to us all, I suppose. Me? I learned to balance my love for bright lights, big city and high heels with quiet evenings in cuddled up fresh scones and knitting.
Now, several years later still, my love of knitting has blossomed past my surprise love of home economics. I am married and a stay at home mum. Sanity is the name of the game! I need to sit at the end of a long day while engaging my mind just for me. I can tune out of mummyhood for a brief spell and tune in to Sarah.
What’s more, I’m laying down the foundation of tradition and values for my own daughter. We speak a lot about purpose, respect, and value in our house. In our time of instant gratification and answers found at the click of a button, I want my daughter to understand effort and hard work is rewarded. It’s a big lesson for a small four year old. Not one she’ll fully understand until she’s much older, I know. On a small little scale however, knitting can teach her that.
We plant seeds and wait for a garden to bloom. We stir up ingredients, set the kitchen timer, and wait for the ding to signal fresh chocolate chip cookies. And stitch by stitch I create something with my hands. Sometimes that thing comes easily, and other times it is one full of tears that I’ve had to rip, tink back, and rely on knitterly friends to see me through. I have to put the time and work in to see a finished object.
Nothing born of knitting is useless or frivolous. While it may be another shawl in an already large pile of shawls; time, thought, and energy was put into its creation. Appreciation for things comes from having to earn them. We artisans earn our finished objects. Maybe that’s why it took years for knitting to grab me: I had to get to a spot in my life where slow paced, small-things-in-the-big-picture, and hard work had perspective. After all, that twenty page paper in third year history was hard to slot in to the scope of it all.
I get it now. I appreciate it. Perspective abounds.
Most days, knitting is about ME. No question, hands down, it is my selfish piece in a day usually about another person. Truthfully, that’s important for my daughter to see too. It’s important for her to watch me step back and indulge in something solely for me, something that brings me absolute joy. Maybe that’s all it’s really about and I tell myself everything above to justify my ever expanding stash…but that’s a conversation for another day.
I’m curious, why do you knit?