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Ode to Knitting

Updated: May 6, 2021

The first time I held a pair of knitting needles was in an After-School Program when I was about 7 or 8 years old. While the memory has faded somewhat, I recall with crystal clarity a pair of grey aluminum needles and some itchy green acrylic yarn. I was so excited to hold my first project, one cast on by the teacher after she demonstrated working a stitch or two. As I struggled to balance the needles and yarn in my small hands, I was excited to see my work grow longer and longer somewhat resembling a scarf. I don’t remember if I ever finished it, but I KNOW I enjoyed it. A few years later, I knitted a hat in Elementary School where we all were taught knitting and sowing. After that, I ‘took a break’ from knitting for a long time.

I can’t mention knitting without mentioning my grandmother, because she is without a doubt the one who put me on the path that is my knitting journey, and kept me interested in the craft. If she wasn’t making us delicious food she was either knitting and crocheting. One of my most treasured pieces of clothing is a sweater she knitted for me 30 years ago.

My knitting life has been varied as of late. One of the few positive things that the pandemic has given me is time and that time has been spent on knitting. Lots of projects, some knit with thoughtfully chosen and specifically bought wool, others unexpected and creatively pieced together with leftover yarn. I’ve knitted so much that the ends of my index fingers are blistered and callous.

Knitting holds a special place in my heart, for so many reasons. It calms me, it’s a creative outlet, a connection to my past, something I can pass on to my children like my grandmother did to me, a meditation, an obsession, a nervous habit, a distraction, a tool for focusing, it's art that is finite and expansive at the same time.

The process of knitting can initially feel endless, but once I get started I can literally see something being created right in front of me, at my fingertips, in my lap. I love that I can hold my creation, wear it for all to see - and only I know the memories it contains. The curse words at a dropped stitch, the daydreams and television shows I watched while working on my project. The plot points worked out while adding stitches and counting rows and hoping that I bought enough yarn to finish the sweater. But the hard work, the mind twisting patterns and numbers, all come together in the end in what I hope is a piece of creative and useful art that will still be here when I no longer am.

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