Last week I was at knitting group and was having a simple chat with a friend about knitting. I would say that I am the most yarn obsessed person in my group, and this friend would be the least. She knits rectangles in various sizes, garter stitch only. I taught her to knit several years ago and she will not venture past this skill level, even though she is truly capable. That is just fine as knitting is whatever you want it to be. While chatting I said, "I think knitting changes peoples lives." She almost choked on her coffee and proceeded to laugh hysterically at me.
I stand by my statement. But the statement is true for crochet, weaving, beading, scrap booking, needlework, sewing, painting or whatever type art/craft form you choose. I happen to choose several of these.
I was taught to knit by several women I worked with in my first job out of college. I had moved to Lynchburg, Va with a friend to work in state institution for the physically challenged. Yes, they still had institutions in Virginia, and I believe they still do. It was interesting work and I really liked it. But I was away from home and needed something new. I watched these lovely women knit everyday at lunch so I asked them to teach me. They were ruthless, ripping out every mistake and making me knit it perfectly. I think they took great delight in my awkwardness. I so fell in love with yarn and the knitted stitch and before you know it I was making scarves, blankets and a couple of summer sweaters.
I don't think I really ever stopped knitting after that. I have taken a few months off here and there but it has always been a part of my life. It is a part of who I am and what makes me, me. I have knit to keep myself sane, calm, awake and busy. I have taken refuge in a yarn store to simply be with beautiful yarn. I have taught many, many people to knit . They have in turn told me it helped them get through their divorce, health issues, parenting problems, or work issues. I have been blessed to share this craft with young children and friends, including my Mother-in law. I actually am teaching my Sister-in-law how to crochet.
The only true hiatus I took from knitting was when I was undergoing cancer treatments 10 years ago. I would look at the red sweater in my knitting basket and I just couldn't knit. Every time I looked at that sweater I felt like throwing up, well actually I felt like that a lot anyway. My sister kept asking me to knit, she knew I was in big trouble if I wasn't knitting. I just didn't have the energy. Finally Claudia, my wonderful sister took me on a field trip to the yarn store, to pick out a new project for me to plan. I think when she saw me planning to knit for the future she knew I was on my road to recovery. I have taught several friends to knit after they have been diagnosed with cancer and they said it helped them through the process, something new to focus on when everything else is out of your control.
I think in this day and age of computers, iphones, smart phones, ipads, text messages, emails and big screen TV's there is a place for the simple act of creating.Believe me I love technology and all it has to offer. But at the end of a busy day, when I finally sit down I want to pick up my yarn and needles and settle in to the repetition that calms me. I want to search out projects that challenge me, and some that just let me not think at all, but let my fingers do the thinking. I love to give a gift of my time and my creativity to someone I care about, even if they don't understand all the love and planning that went into it.
Why do you create? Do you stand by my statement, too? Those lovely women in Virginia will never know how the simple act of teaching me how to knit, years ago, has had such an impact on my life. How about you?