why I learned to knit
It all started with an Instagram image. The photo was of Emily Hilliard’s partially-knit sweater, a lovely bronze-colored garment, still on a set of circular knitting needles. The caption was something about getting back into knitting and being determined to finish her first sweater.
I don’t know why that particular photo caught my attention, but it did. I immediately commented on it: “I would love to learn to knit.”
That wasn’t the first time I’d thought that, but it was the first time I had written the words and made the thought, the idea of learning to knit, real.
After writing those words, the idea of knitting would not leave my mind. Before diving in – because, really, did I need another hobby? – I decided to research the idea. I turned to Google, typing in such phrases as “how to learn to knit” and “beginning knitting” and, finally, the most important one: “why should I knit?”
It’s that last search phrase that I really wanted the answer to. Why did I want to do this?
When I read an essay by Ann Hood, Ten Things I Learned From Knitting, I knew that I would become a knitter. My research was over.
I bought my first needles and yarn at a small yarn store here in town. I bought a how-to book. Later that day, after realizing that I needed more than a book, I signed up for an online knitting class. I learned to cast on, to make a knit and a purl stitch, and to bind off. I knit swatches for practice. I made a lace swatch out of ugly pink yarn. I made a misshapen hat that I love because it was my first. I discovered some great sources for yarn and patterns online, and I learned that I only want to knit with soft and supple yarn that feels good between my fingers.
I am intrigued and overwhelmed by the number of techniques I have yet to learn. I want to learn them all, and I want to master them, now.
After my misshapen hat experience, I made a second hat, this garter brim hat from Purl Soho. The hat may not be perfect, but in my hands it feels as if it is. The yarn is soft and squishy and the most lovely white. I remembered after making it, however, that I am not a hat-wearing person. But still, I love this hat. I will wear it one day.
I am a scarf-wearing person, though, so now I am making a scarf, this gorgeous color-tipped scarf. I am about 30% done with it, and when it is complete, I will wear every day. Or at least, very often.
I am determined to make a sweater soon. I am considering this one, made of linen yarn. It looks like a wonderful cardigan for wearing in Florida year-round. I think I can do it. I plan to try.
When I pick up the knitting needles and start making stitches, one after another, I find that the noise around me and inside of me quiets, and I am able to focus. The rhythm of the knitting process is soothing and calming. If I was anxious, the anxiety is relieved. If I was angry, my heart rate slows and I can think more clearly. When I knit, I feel productive and creative. When I knit, I feel in control of more than just the needles between my fingers.
When I knit, I am happy.