Another of my rose photo’s from DeviantArt. I really love roses – can you tell?
Edit: I was thinking (I know…) how about I turn this into a sort of Meme – tell me your knitting story – leave me a comment that you posted it on your blog and pass this along. I only have 10 readers or so (sob) but I know those 10 readers have more readers and so on. Let’s write our knitting history down!! (now if this has been done before, sssshhhhh, don’t tell me, I’m into being delusional right now) So the official meme question and it’s just one: HOW DID YOU BECOME A KNITTER?
Anywho, I got to thinking the other day (no snarky comments here!) and of all the labels I can give myself, Woman, Mom, Wife, Knitter, Eater, Quilter, I was thinking – I’m a converted Crocheter. Yes. That’s right. It’s the very first thing I ever learned to do. And I was taught at the side of my Great Aunt Marie’s armchair when I was only 4 years old. Yup. Granted, I made lots of chains, but really, she had me crocheting little circles that miraculously turned into doll hats for my barbies. Now, it’s not like I come from a long line of crafters. My Aunt Marie crocheted. My Nana, her sister, crocheted. I remember vaguely one of my aunts showing me how to cast on for knitting when I was probably 10. But that was it for my exposure to crafts. I used to have to wait for Aunt Marie to come for a visit – she lived in Brooklyn, we lived on Long Island, and then we could crochet. I made Granny squares – which I no longer like. Sweaters, scarves, hats, slippers, vests. You name it – I crocheted it. I did pick up some needlepointing on my own when I was in my teens, but I lacked for real teachers. The most I remember my own mother doing is crewel. And I know she sewed slip covers for cushions and what not – I just don’t have any memory of seeing her do it.
I met my husband when I was 19. His mom did everything. EVERYTHING. She sewed, she quilted, she cross stitched, needlepointed, petipointed, needleweaved, rug hooked, plastic canvassed, you name it, she does it. And she knits. And I would watch her. And say to myself, well, damn. I can do THAT with one needle. I don’t need TWO needles. What the heck is that other needle for anyway? Why do twice the work? What’s the point? And speaking of points – someone can hurt themselves on those pointy stick thingys.
Well, I married her son when I was 22. We spend a lot of time with his mom. She would do whatever she was doing at the time. I would crochet. I even dabbled in some cross stitch. I would needlepoint – for awhile I was so hooked on needlepoint, I was THE needlepointer. We were very happy. Life was good.
I became pregnant when I was 26. And then, overnight, in a surge of hormonal need, I had to KNIT baby booties. But, I wasn’t a knitter. I was a crocheter. Knitting was a whole new thing. I elected my mother in law my new knitting teacher. She showed me how to cast on, which I somehow retained from my long ago experience with my Aunt. She showed me the Knit Stitch. She showed me the Purl Stitch. She showed me upmost patience. She watched me, as I sat on her couch, left needle jammed against my left leg, right needle flying wildly about in the air as I tried to complete the stitches. She shook her head. Sadly. I think, no, I know, she thought, this girl. I love her. But she will never be a knitter. No. Not this tense, twitching girl sitting on my couch.
Those baby booties – never knit them. I still have the book – we won’t get into that right now – I’ve already told that story here. Then one day, when my son was still a baby, my MIL told me about this machine. A Knitting Machine. Really. A machine that does the knitting for you? No needles to hurt someone? No need for the husband to enter rooms in a crouch, fearing the knitting that frequently got thrown across the room in fustration? We must find this machine. And we did. We went to a Singer sewing machine store and found us that knitting machine. And we both got one. And I knit. I took classes. I knit some more. I watched the fabric just flow from that machine……..all those perfect stitches, row after row. It was amazing. And a funny thing happened. I started to understand knitting. Understand it. Do you know what I mean. I got the construction of the stitches. I knew what to do to pick up a dropped stitch. I knew how to decrease and increase. I could do all this on that machine. I got it. No longer did I have to cradle my mistake knitting in my hands, run it out to my car, place it carefully on the passenger seat, drive to my MIL’s, just so she could pick up a dropped stitch. I got it.
And I picked up my knitting needles again. And I started to knit. I didn’t jam the needle into my leg. I didn’t flail the other needle wildly in the air. I didn’t throw the knitting across the room. I knit. I did it. I overcame every habit I developed using that one crochet hook. I became ambi-stitcherous. I still crocheted – blankets and things I needed fast or big. But sweaters, garmets, delicate baby things? I knit those. I’m not saying knitting is better. I don’t want hate mail. But I prefer to knit my garments now. Over the course of time, I had a job as a machine knitter. I bought another knitting machine. I sold the first one. I quit that job. I hated that job. I picked up my needles and I haven’t put them down since. I still have that last knitting machine and would sell it in a heart beat. I haven’t used it in years. There is nothing to compare for me, the comfort, the calm that comes from two needles and some yarn in my hands.