Scout asks, I do.
1. How and when did you learn how to knit/crochet? Who taught you? You know, I always say that I learned to crochet when I was 19 from my Gram. We were in the back seat of my parents’ car on a road trip to a family reunion in Ohio. She was making delicate little doilies and curtain pulls, and I wanted to learn, too. She was a terrible teacher, and my mom laughs when we talk about that trip. She recalls how I argued with Gram that she had to let me fix things instead of taking the crochet away from me and doing it herself.
The story is true, but it wasn’t actually my first crochet. Sometime when I was around 14, my mom taught me to make hairpin lace. It’s one of the only crafts my mom did, and I’d forgotten that she taught it to me until I made my Funky Scarf this fall.
I didn’t learn to knit for almost another ten years. In November 1997 Martha Stewart Living had an article about knitting. I’d wanted to do it for ages, but had been busy with quilting and college. I decided that I could teach myself (I did teach myself quilting after all), so I went to the moth-ball smelling yarn store in Peekskill (which has since moved into a delightful, bright, fresh-smelling location), bought a skein of purple wool and some needles, and stood at the counter as Janet, the owner, cast on for me. She showed me to knit English style, but I didn’t get it. Then she showed me Continental, and I was enamoured. I’ve recently read that those who start with crochet often find Continental the easier method. I made a lot of errors with that scarf, so I took a class in January 1998 and was on my way.
2. How has this craft impacted your life? (besides financially!) Since I can remember I have always been passionate about making things. There were the dolls made out of rags, the cigar box movie theaters, the brown bag puppets. I’ve also always liked fabrics and fashion. Knitting gives me the satisfaction of creating stylish items. I mostly knit for others. I like putting time into a gift for a loved one. The more precious time becomes to me, the more I like doing this. Knitting gives me a way to relax if I’m worried or stressed, a place to bond with my friends. Really, if we weren’t getting together every week for knitting, I doubt we’d get together every week. Something would come up and hanging out would get delayed. Knitting also helps me to be more patient. For one, I’m a slow knitter; there is no quick knit for me, just a less slow knit! If I have to wait (like at the DMV, for instance) I have my knitting to occupy me and entertain me and keep me patient.
3. Pick at least one person to talk about who you have met through the knit-world and why you are thankful to have met them. Feel free to get all mushy. I can’t pick out individuals. Instead I want to talk about two communities. The first is my Albuquerque SnB. The first time I went it was me, Laurie, and Beth. I left for the summer not long after those quiet meetings, and when things started up in the fall, Scout and Carole were there. Soon we were taking over half the restuarant–the knit the Guild knitters joined us, we DID take it over! I had hooked up with Noelle through Knitters not Quitters, and she started to come to Tuesday nights at Flying Star. I began Friday night craft nights once a month for my UNM friends, and often Cari and Noelle would come to those as well.
There was a lot for me to love about being in New Mexico. It was exciting to live on my own, away from all family and having to handle things by myself. It gave me space to heal from the end of my marriage. I was learning constantly in my graduate program. I was surrounded by stunning natural beauty. But despite developing friendships at school, without my SnB friends, I would have had a different experience.
The graduate student population I was with was a lot of fun. I made some friends I will have for life. I craved a place where comps and literature were not always the underlying focus, though, and SnB gave me that. I’m more than a student, after all. I’ve been successful in my work before I decided to leave it for school. I was older than many of the other graduate students, which didn’t always matter, but I loved that I could talk about childhood stuff and Scout and Carole were right there with me. I loved that I could talk about something that left me uncertain about how to act, and Mona would decisively say the right thing. I loved meeting Molly and Amy and Lauren and Carmela, and everyone. I loved that I had a place that wasn’t about the pressure of my daily, overcrammed life, a place where I could fondle yarn and dish about patterns and blogs. I loved the strength of the friendships I developed there. Every Tuesday at 7, I feel just a little lonely now.
I’m lucky, though. I moved back to the area where I grew up, and two of my best highschool friends still live nearby. They’re both knitters, and we try to get together every week. Cae is an exquisite knitter. She’s made some of the loveliest items I’ve ever seen. Sara is an adventurous knitter. She sees a pattern, decides what she wants to change and makes it her own. Like my SnB pals, they help me to be a better knitter, and I have a blast hanging out and chatting about whatever is going on in our lives.
4. Comment and let me know when you post this in your blog so I can read them all. Go tell Scout, too, ok?