I’m a terrible knitter. I’m dead slow. I regularly drop stitches – in fact, so regularly, one could argue they could be part of the pattern, if they weren’t so varied in size.
I lose track of patterns, I forget where I am. I once knitted a hat that was shaped like a Mobius Strip and thus could never ever be worn. Or taken off the needles.
And god help me, with tremendous hubris, I made some poor soul an afghan for her wedding present – one with great holes and a distinct non-rectangularishness. Frightening. Warm, and it took me weeks and weeks to make, but…no.
If I were more patient, I’d learn how to fix dropped stitches, but I always lose the threads when I pull out a few to get at the missed one and so I end up pulling out the whole project and rolling it into a ball. One ball of yarn spent several months in the back of my closet, being punished for not behaving. I think there are a few half knit projects in there, too, all thinking about their respective badnesses.
So, I’ve got to ask myself, why in tarnation do I persist? How many simple scarves does one person need?
Well, there’s a few reasons I still tie bits of yarn in knots, and I think there’s something to be learned from them, so I thought I’d share them with you.
- Knitting is like meditation. The repetitive actions soothe the mind, allow it to play elsewhere. You are DOING something, ergo you are not wasting time, but you are also thinking, putting your subconscious chicks in a row.
- It keeps me humble. Everyone CAN knit. Not everyone can knit well. (and let’s not even mention….gasp…crochet!). Every time I start a project I am reminded of how little I know compared to so many others, about how much I have to learn.
- It’s a survival craft. Like baking bread or tying knots or sewing, it is one of those things that I (or rather, you) can do from first principles, from spinning the raw wool to making clothing. Come the armageddon, I shall at least be able to drape myself in large squares of knitted grasses. I find this vaguely comforting, tho god knows why.
- It’s a sensory delight. From the cheapest acrylic to the most dainty cashmere, wools and cottons and silks and bamboos slip through my fingers, providing sensory stimulation and the inevitable need to squeeze. My knitting pals pass skeins of yarn around our communal table and we ALL SQUEEZE EVERY SKEIN. It’s always topic of comment, from the gritty linens to the softest baby yarn. And the colours!! Such fun to play with and imagine.
- And that brings up the best reason to keep knitting – my knitting pals. Knitting is a terrifically democratic hobby – you can be a yarn snob (as I confess I am – I take so long to knit things I resent spending days on a cheap yarn) or a bargain hunter. You can insist on wool, or wander into the trendy yarns. You can be bad at it, as I am, or stupendous at it, like many of my pals, and you are welcome. No one is turned away. You knit and talk and knit little relationship groups together, form friends, link to new friends, develop a community just as you knit together your scarves or sweaters or socks. It’s amazing to watch and I treasure my knitting friends, who tolerate my descent into needle felting. (You can stab things and there’s no stitches to drop!
As with most important things, it’s the people that make the hobby. And the hobby that makes the friendships. Stories are shared over knitting that wouldn’t otherwise make it to air. I am so grateful for the friendships this seemingly simple task has brought into my life.
As for the rest of you, you non-knitting types, what’s stopping you? It keeps fingers nimble, it’s good for men, women and children. Come, join in. You’ll be welcome.