In an ideal world, I would have an unlimited number of hours in the day to devote to knitting. It’s relaxing, productive, and creative, and somehow it manages to be simultaneously mindless and challenging.
If I could, I’d spend my entire day knitting. Sadly, I don’t have the talent necessary to make my own patterns, let alone sell them. I’m also not skilled enough with my needles that I’d be able to make a living off selling my handiwork. But if something were to happen and I no longer had to work, I know how I would spend my time.
There’s something immensely satisfying to me about identifying a project, watching it come together, and being able to take full ownership of it. When I started knitting, I was a graduate student in French literature, a field in which no paper or presentation is ever really finished. There’s always more work that can be done– additional research, a few more edits, one more peer review, a rewrite… knitting served as the ideal antidote on the days when I felt like nothing I was working on would ever come to an end.
These days I’m no longer in graduate school, but knitting still provides the same comfort it did when I began. It’s an endeavor in which I have complete control, one in which I can easily measure my progress. On occasion, I take my projects out just to look at them, and wonder at the fact that I’m the one who created them.
I love going to brick-and-mortar knitting stores and walking through aisles of colorful yarns of various textures. Online, sites like Ravelry and Knitty make it easy to find patterns that make me drool, and the number of instructional resources is endless. My mom taught me to knit, but the Internet has helped me remember things she’s told me, or better understand techniques I had difficulty mastering in spite of her tutelage.
In the years I’ve spent with needles in hand and a skein at my side, I’ve moved from simple scarves to my latest attempt: a sweater. There’s nothing more fulfilling than watching this garment come together– in a way it’s sort of magical. Even though I know I’ve put in hours of labor, I can’t help but look at the sweater, with its shaped waist, boatneck collar, and the beginning of one sleeve and wonder who made it. It couldn’t have been me, with my clumsy hands! Knitting has an elegance to it that I never would have thought I could possess. But maybe that’s the best thing about it: just as you define the shape of your project, knitting defines who you are, and reveals things about you that you didn’t know were there. Maybe it’s more than just a series of loops; it’s the creation of an experience, a memory, a bond, and sometimes even a life.
Amazing how something so seemingly mundane can turn out to be so profound.