As with most of my other hobbies, knitting is something my mom taught me how to do when I was young. She was the Home Ec. teacher at my school and so designated queen of all things crafty. She taught me how to knit and I made something that I ended up submitting for judgment at the 4H county fair (I knooow) and getting a blue ribbon (at least if I am a nerd I was a high-achieving nerd?), and then as soon as that project was over I never knit anything again. I don’t even honestly remember what I knit that got a blue ribbon– it might have been a beanbag? I thought it was boring and also all I wanted to do was read dragon books, because I was like nine and that’s what I was into when I was nine (to be fair I will still read a book about dragons and be very happy about it).
However, just as with sewing, I started to feel the itch in my mid-twenties and cursed myself for not better internalizing the lessons I had been taught. I mentioned off-hand an interest in re-teaching myself to knit when I was home for Christmas, so my mom ordered a beginner’s kit off the Knit Picks website and had it send to me, because she’s my mom and she’s nice and also because I think she had had enough with reteaching me all the stuff my ungrateful ass had refused to pay attention to almost twenty years ago, hah.
Because she is a teacher and believes in doing things methodically from the ground up, she purchased for me the Level One Learn to Knit Kit, which comes with three skeins of cotton yarn, bamboo needles, basic instructions and a needle to weave the ends back in. It’s a good and comprehensive little kit, and when you are done you end up with…
…a dishcloth. Or rather, if we are being precise, THREE dishcloths, because once you make one you can make two more to really perfect your skills.
This is where the huge difference between sewing and knitting lies with me, if we’re being honest. Because I probably should knit those three dishcloths, but if I’m being honest I sort of want to knit one and then try something else, the way I immediately did with sewing. It’s probably good that my mom got me the Level One kit, because if I’d been left to my own devices I would have tried to struggle through Level Three: Hat, and ended up quitting in frustration.
With knitting, it seems to me, it’s worth it to take your time and get it right. You can always hide sloppy stitches or lack of finishing techniques on the inside of a sewn garment, but if you drop a knit stitch or your tension is all weird (ahemmmm, self) in a hand-knit, it’s going to be noticeable. Knitting is also way slower, so you really have time to ruminate on technique as you go. It’s a good lesson in mindfulness and patience for me, because I do not honestly have much of either– I was convinced three rows in that I was a horrible knitter and would never be good because I wasn’t an instant expert. Hah! Knitting feels very zen and introspective when compared to sewing, full of life-lessons and knowing thyself. It’s a nice change of pace right now, in a time when I am having a hard time quieting my mind. It’s also very forgiving, because it never escapes me that I can just rip it out and try again. There’s something I really like about that. It makes sense to me now why so many people engage in knitting as a form of self-care.
That being said, I’m not sure if I am totally gaga in love with knitting yet the way I was with sewing right from the very beginning, or if I will ever be. So far, though, it’s nice to learn a new skill. Using the diagrams in the book, I can do a long tail cast on and a basic garter stitch. BRACE YOURSELVES, PRODIGY COMING THROUGH. My boyfriend found out they teach a knitting class at the library near us, so I might check that out, too! The older I get, the more I like learning new things.
So, here’s to finishing that dishcloth and making at least one more. I can’t promise I’ll make all three…a girl’s gotta make SOME compromises!
PS- One thing I do for sure love about knitting is yarn. A yarn shop near me is going out of business so I couldn’t help but snatch this beautiful stuff up. It’ll be my reward for myself, when I have practiced enough to be able to make something out of it without ruining it. IT IS SO SOFT HOLY SHIT.
PPS- Sifu in Edgewater is closing– that’s where I bought this. They have really pretty yarn there for 50% off and they’re only open through the 29th! If you like yarn, hurry in there while they still have stock!