I have been knitting for 60 years off and on. Many among my family and friends have received sweaters or baby blankets, caps and scarves. Considering my first teacher, it is nothing short of amazing that I am a life long knitter.(More)
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When I was 6 years old our next door neighbor Maryann was a knitter. Her daughter Ellen and I begged her to teach us. She started us on slippers for some unknown reason. When I could see I had made a mistake and asked for help, Maryann simply pulled the yarn off the needles and ripped out all the stitches telling me to “pay attention next time.” After a couple times of this I taught myself how to correct my mistakes. Ellen gave up and to my knowledge never picked up yarn and needles after this horrible intro to knitting. I finished those red slippers and wore them until they no longer fit. I am stubborn and learning in spite of Maryann became my sole goal for that summer.
When I was in high school knitting experienced a brief burst of being cool. For a while a group of us met and knitted and someone else’s mom proved a much better teacher. She was encouraging and supportive and full of helpful hints. We all wore our handmade sweaters together on the same day. The question, “Did you make that yourself?” was answered with a firm yes and a great deal of pride.
The college dorms gave me another knitting group and one woman who introduced color and creativity to the whole process. She taught us how to knit without just following the pattern which was a huge gift. Now if I could ‘see it in my mind’s eye’ I could knit it. She was a math major and in love with the mathematics of knitting. She was also a free spirit and an artist of sorts.
Mostly I don’t knit to a deadline but I make exceptions for Christmas gifts. I remember standing in the Phoenix airport proving by way of demonstrating that I could really knit the sweater that was on my needles. This was way before 9/11 but apparently someone thought needles could be weapons. I had finished the sweater for my oldest son and was working on the one for my youngest son. Four hours of knitting was crucial to meeting the Christmas deadline. Fortunately I was allowed to carry my knitting unto the plane and finished the sweater.
Lately I have been working on a sweater for myself. Somehow the pure zen and calm of twisting the yarn around the needles is the perfect antidote to the stress of the news. It calms me. I love the feel of the wool yarn sliding through my fingers. I like watching the sweater grow. I am making up the pattern as I go and the whole process tickles me. I am not knitting this on a deadline but maybe, just maybe if I make enough phone calls, we’ll have gun control legislation by the time I finish.