Where it all Began

fair isleI started knitting because I couldn’t just sit and watch TV. It seemed like a waste of time. So now, I watch far more TV than I probably would otherwise, because I knit every spare moment I have. Today, that’s a lot of spare moments, since I’m underemployed and have been for seemingly forever.

Of course, when you’re knitting, sometimes it’s hard to concentrate on what’s on the screen, so I’ve come to depend on the pause and rewind buttons. Not to mention the re-runs of shows I’ve seen perhaps a dozen times before (you can’t imagine, for that matter, nor can I, how many times I’ve seen each episode of “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” ) It’s almost impossible for me to knit if I’m watching something with sub-titles.

Over the years knitting has become more than a hobby to keep me occupied while relaxing in front of the set. It’s become part of my identity. I won’t go so far as to say, “I knit , therefore I am,” but anybody who knows me for any length of time knows my love of yarn.

My family, save one sibling, is exceptionally supportive, going out of their way to tell me about the compliments from friends for my work. My favorite, and at the same time most frustrating, comment was about a beautiful stranded Norwegian-style sweater I made for my niece. It came from friends of my brother & sister-in-law, who refused to believe it was hand-knit, insisting I’d used a knitting machine. Like a machine could match what I’d done!

On the other hand, both my brother & sister-in-law always expressed how in awe they were of my work (well, maybe not awe, but something close) and instilled that same appreciation in their children. That’s a lesson that goes farther than what they express to me; it will carry throughout their lives for their families and friends.

moms gloves nbgMy mom showed off the gloves & mittens I made for her this past winter to all the women in her apartment building. It gave her a great sense of pride and perhaps a little smug satisfaction to do this. More than that, it’s a way for me to show my love and appreciation for all that she does and has done for me. I hope she knows that that’s part of why I do it. I guess I should make sure I tell her.

A former boyfriend lost plenty of favor in my eyes when he showed disrespect for the sweater I’d spent hours making for him. (In all fairness, my feelings for him were already rapidly failing, but this certainly didn’t slow things down one bit.) Now, I don’t care so much if he was impressed by my ability with needles and yarn, but I certainly cared that he showed no respect in general for developing a refined and expert skill. It’s become a benchmark for any man in my life, how much appreciation he shows for my work.

Alec in sweaterIt bonds me to some of my longtime friends when I teach them a new skill or go shopping for a project with them, and has given me new friends as well. I meet them when I stop by the local yarn store to knit for a few hours with a group of other knitters. It’s with a great deal of pride that I’ll give one of my friends a cardigan for her first-born, and over the years receive pictures of not just that child, but one or more siblings wearing the same sweater.

So a simple hobby started because I got fidgety has become something woven, if you will, into my life.




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