Earlier this week, I was asked how long I’ve been knitting. The simple answer is for over 35 years. But the story is much more than that.
Making things with my hands has always been a part of who I am. I can always remember creating things: drawings, stories or stuff out of fabric scraps or cardboard. My Barbie Dream House wasn’t made of pink plastic but of shoeboxes and scraps of fabric. It worked just fine.
In the summer of 1972, my late Aunt Leslie took me and my two cousins on a road trip from Baltimore to Orlando. It still amazes me that a 31 year old single woman thought driving all that distance with her three nieces, ages 6, 8 and 10, would be a fun way to spend two weeks in the summer. But I’m glad she did. It is still one of my favorite memories and it is when I first began to learn to make things with yarn.
In Florida, we stayed with my Great-Aunt Lydia. When we arrived, Aunt Lydia gave each of us a gift she had made. It was a small yellow purse with a surprise inside. The purse was made from the bottom of a plastic Lemon Joy dish detergent bottle. Yarn had been attached to holes made around the bottle and then crocheted up to make a drawstring purse. When opened fully and folded down, the purse became a bassinette and held a small baby doll. I was fascinated by it and asked Aunt Lydia to show me how she made it. She patiently showed me how to make a chain stitch with yarn and a crochet hook.
After that trip, I wanted to learn more and so checked out a library book on how to crochet. For the next few years, I only made simple skirts for my Barbie dolls but eventually, I progressed to making things from patterns, like afghans and even granny square sweaters.
In my twenties, I became frustrated by the then, limited sweater patterns for crochet. I decided to take a knitting class at a local yarn shop called Wild and Wooly. I learned to cast on, do a knit stitch and purl stitch. We made a simple garter and stockinette stitch vest. I enjoyed the process so much that I signed up for the next class to learn how to make a sweater. In that class, we learned a bit about shaping, how to make cables, how to put the separate pieces together for a finished sweater but most importantly, how to read a pattern.
I’ve knit ever since but I enjoy it much more now. For many years, knitting was something I’d get the urge to do when the weather turned chilly. I’d knit something for myself or a family member on large needles that I could finish quickly so I could move on to something else. Now, it is more about enjoying the process of creating and learning.
I knit every day. It is my creative outlet, my stress relief and my meditation. I’ve found during the past few years, this has enabled me to become much more adventurous in my knitting. I knit socks on size 1 needles, try complex color work or cables and have even knit a sweater with a steek. (For non-knitters, that is where you knit a sweater in the round and then cut it open to make it a cardigan. See photos below.)
It’s been a rewarding journey from that 10 year old with a scrap of yarn and a crochet hook. I look forward to where this journey takes me next. Until next week…..Kim