“I learned to knit, but I just never got into it.” I hear this countless times while teaching knitting classes, or discussing hobbies with friends, but I have never understood how it could happen. How could someone have knitting needles in their hands and not feel that surge of happiness like I do?
There is a certain learning curve for knitting, I understand that. However, I listen to the click of my needles late at night, and can’t help but feel calm and relaxed. Knitting is my way of slowing down and listening to myself. My thoughts wander deeper and deeper into my mind as I absent-mindedly count out the *k1, yo, k3, yo, sk2p, p1, k3tog, yo, k3, yo, k1* of my pattern.
These are the moments when I know myself. I am able to process the experiences of the day with every purl stitch and I can just sit in the present moment and work on one thing at a time. The rest of the time, I am so frantically working towards the end of the day that I miss most things as they speed by. I couldn’t tell you what I ate for breakfast, I can’t remember where I set down my phone, and unless it’s written down somewhere, I’ve most likely forgotten my entire to-do list.
But just a little bit of yarn and that all turns around. I can tell you what row I’m on, what pattern I’m making, and I can even tell you what I was daydreaming about when I finished that last piece. I sit there with the familiar motions and let the rhythm calm my mind like beautiful music.
Nobody really taught me how to knit. I remember someone working on their own pair of socks who tried to quickly explain what they were doing so I’d stop asking questions. I remember picking up a ball of yarn and using the needles to make a horrible mess of knots when I was 8, but I had no skill then. It just sort of happened — one day, knitting was as seamless a part of my life as walking or tying my shoes.
In my college years, knitting was never too far from me. I kept a ball of yarn and needles in my backpack and I could finish a chunky knit infinity scarf over the course of one lecture, or a beanie by the end of a 3-hour session. Professors usually asked me if I was paying attention, but never really cared if the person in the back of the room was paying attention — just as long as they were awake. When I passed with flying colors, they were floored and joked about how knitting should be recommended coursework.
At my dead-end job in retail (which I loved, can’t you tell?), I had a ball of yarn in the pocket of my horrible, awful, red vest. I worked at a craft store, so nobody complained as long as the counters were clean and customers were attended to. In fact, a few of those customers now know how to knit because the work was slow and I had time to show them the basic knit stitch.
Eventually, I taught knitting and crochet classes at the store. I loved the idea that there was one more knitter in the world because of that work. When they came in for another skein of yarn to work on the week after one of my classes, I was overjoyed. Keep knitting, I thought. Keep knitting through all the hard times and all the knots and tangles!
There is a camaraderie I felt with those people in the yarn aisle, shopping for their next project. These people understood what so many out in the world had missed. Those frustrating growing pains of learning to knit had paid off and now they were knitters. They could sit down on a couch, in the park, on the bus, anywhere and create something from a pile of yarn.
Through every dropped stitch, matted skein, and fumbled stitch, I’ve created a skill and habit of creating. I find peace and happiness in a ball of yarn and then I transform it into something breathtakingly beautiful. It has its flaws, an irregular stitch here or there, but that is the monument to the hours of quiet and stillness that I spent learning to listen to my own heart while the click-click-click of the needles kept me grounded in the task at hand — and that is why I knit.
This post is part of the Grace Notes blog hop. You can find more posts celebrating life’s everyday magic by visiting Grace Notes.
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