The Language of Knitting


I remember when I learned to knit. I was 26 years old, pregnant with my first child. I can only attribute it to the surge of hormones coursing through my body, that I would insist on casting aside the crochet hook that had been in my hand since I was four years old, and replace it with not just one, but two knitting needles. Big, long honkin knitting needles. I was determined to knit my baby a pair of booties – never mind that I could have crocheted said booties, in my sleep, in 5 minutes. Oh. No. I was going to KNIT THEM. Fortunately, I had the perfect teacher – my wonderful Mother in law. Actually, she’s not only wonderful, but incredibly brave. She taught me the fundamentals of knitting. Or tried to. I would sit with her, in her living room, one needle shoved under my arm, the other flailing wildly, trying to knit these teeny, tiny booties. My husband started calling it “sail knitting”. Why? Because whenever he walked into the room and knew I was knitting, he would duck, just in case, in a fit of knitterly rage, I would throw the knitting, thereby making it “sail” across the room. (Those booties never happened. I eventually bought a knitting machine – got the whole thing of how knitting is constructed, sold the knitting machine and have been hand knitting ever since. )

Why was I such an angry new knitter? Besides the obvious awkwardness of trying to manuver two knitting needles and make something other than a really loose holey thing, I just couldn’t understand all those knitting abreviations. All that new Knitting Language. “tog” What the hell? Can’t they say “knit together” are we that lazy? You would have thought I could have caught on, having a background with crochet abreviations – but, ah, no. That would be a big NO. Too much information – I kept wanting to confuse it all, make it the same. I don’t remember when it made sense to me. But it eventually did. I learned a new language. The Language of Knitting. And it makes me incredibly proud. I speak Knitting. I can’t speak any Italian other than a few choice cuss words, but knitting – I speak. Fluently. And if you speak it at me, or to me – I get you. No problem. I’m THAT good.

So, why is it then, that there is a knitting term, that just instills panic in me? Does anyone else have this happen to them? It not really a very scary term. Maybe it’s because most everytime I see this term, it’s in CAPITAL letters? Maybe the flip floppy stomach I get when I read it in a pattern is because I think someone is deliberatly trying to scare me? What am I talking about……..”AT THE SAME TIME”. yes. At the same time. See. when you write it little, it’s not like your mother is yelling at you to empty this dishwarsher and AT THE SAME TIME, make sure you don’t break anything. Simple, I can do that. But when I see this in a pattern – “continue to increase every 4 rows and AT THE SAME TIME, start the decreases for the neck”………pure panic. Do. I. Have. Too. Can’t I do that AFTER the increase? Don’t they know I can’t rub my tummy and pat my head? Walk and chew gum? Hasn’t anyone told them this yet – hey knitting pattern writer – are you just messing with my fibrofog mind? Didn’t your pattern specifically state “easy to follow, quick knit”? Is that your idea of easy and quick? I’m stunned.

Now don’t get me wrong – I have done this. Quite successfully. I always accomplish said tasks and it’s pretty much AT THE SAME TIME that they want me to do it. It must be knitters anxiety. It just sets my teeth on edge. I grip the needles a little too tightly. I count a little too much. I keep a few different post it notes more than I need. It’s me, I know. I shouldn’t let the language get to me. I don’t know when this started – but I sure hope it ends –

AT THE SAME TIME I get to that part of the pattern!

And just to make sure you don’t think I’m entirely stupid – I passed my Paraprofessional Praxis. I’m now Highly Qualified in the State of New Jersey – I took that test and AT THE SAME TIME, I passed it!!!


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