why I learned to knit

on knitting | the merry gourmet

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.

on knitting | the merry gourmet

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.

on knitting | the merry gourmet

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9 Responses to “why I learned to knit”

  1. Jenni — January 24, 2015 @ 7:30 pm

    More than enough reason to knit. I love that white hat, and the sweater–just lovely! My grandmother taught me when I was five to knit and to purl. She died shortly thereafter, and it didn’t stay with me. I’m sorry I didn’t retain that gift she tried to pass down.

  2. Janis — January 24, 2015 @ 7:31 pm

    Exactly! Great post sweetie.

  3. Lana | Never Enough Thyme — January 24, 2015 @ 9:41 pm

    I feel exactly the same when I crochet 🙂

  4. You are inspiring! I’ve tried knitting multiple times but it’s not for me. I’ll live vicariously through your creations!

  5. Emily — January 25, 2015 @ 10:40 am

    Honored and glad to be the impetus for your new hobby! I’m so impressed with your quick progress and looking forward to seeing that sweater!

  6. Paula — January 25, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

    You are a quick learner and a lovely knitter! I’m so glad that you enjoy it and that you find it very calming and relaxing.

  7. Eileen — January 25, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

    I crotched a huge blanket for my daughter and gave it to her for Christmas. And then I bought a loom set and made hats and scarves too. There is something therapeutic about learning, making, and giving. I’m not wishing you cold days in Florida, but I hope you get some use out of the hat – it’s too pretty not too.

  8. Gail — January 25, 2015 @ 10:38 pm

    That round needle scares me. I look at knitting instructions and my eyes glaze over. I feel horribly intimidated and stupid.

  9. Cheryl — January 26, 2015 @ 8:29 am

    Bingo.
    Bring your hat with you when you come here, you might need it in the mountains. And if not, you will at least blend in with the hipsters.

    When my Dad was in chemo the cancer centre had random balls of yarn and needles all over the waiting room. Perfect for nervous hands and hearts.

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