Friday, July 26, 2013

"I Don't Have the Patience for Knitting"

"Wow! You knit that? I could never do something like that myself. I just don't have the patience."

I hear those words on a fairly regular basis from friends and acquaintances, and the funny thing is - those words used to be my own. For YEARS I used to tell myself I didn't have the patience for knitting. I loved the idea of it, and had eagerly learned how to knit and purl as a child, but after an ill-fated attempt to knit a sweater at age 10 (a sweater? seriously? it was bound to fail), I told myself that knitting was something my Mum did, and while I'd wistfully finger pretty yarns whenever I came near some, I knew that it wasn't for me. I loved the idea of knitting in theory, but didn't have the patience for it in practise.

... Kind of an odd stance to take, considering I had the patience to embroider large and intricate patterns for years on end. Something that takes ages longer than just knitting a simple top. I've known for years that my fingers like to keep busy while at meetings or watching TV. But I didn't have the patience for knitting. Nope, sure didn't!

I'd cave every now and again... if I saw a particularly irresistible ball of yarn... when my first niece was born and I wanted to try to knit her something... and when that same niece turned 6 and asked me to "please make some clothes for her knitted doll!"... what's a doting auntie to do? But it never really amounted to much. Sure, it meant that I kept up my skills - even learned simple increase and decrease techniques - but with the exception of that last time (can't let my niece down!) I never actually managed to finish anything... making me think that it's probably not so much the knitting I don't have the patience for as it's the seaming and weaving in of ends!

Then, as it so often happens, I found a book. Yeah, big surprise, eh? This time it was "The Friday Night Knitting Club" by Kate Jacobs. I'd seen it around everywhere I went for quite awhile, and finally caved and got it out of the library. I had no clue what it was about (well, I could make an educated guess, but beyond that), but the title just immediately appealed to me and I had to read it...

I never knew what hit me ;)

As I was reading, I had almost a bittersweet feeling. Like I said, I loved the idea of knitting, and this was reminding me why. But "I don't have the patience for knitting!!!" Nope... sure don't! But... at the end of the book there were a few simple patterns that had been mentioned in the book, and one of them was a small bookmark!!! That had to be a sign. There was something even I could knit, and at 5cm x 15cm, I couldn't really claim I didn't have the patience for it.

I finished it, moved on to "Granny's Favourite Dishtowel" which I ended up knitting 4 or 5 of... two for Henni, two or three for my mother. From that I moved on to various other dishtowels with patterns and knitted about 30 of those (it was my aim to eventually turn those into a quilt... "eventually" may still happen, but I haven't touched them in almost two years, so I'm not terribly optimistic on that account). By then I was slowly starting to accept that maybe I was my mother's daughter, and there was a knitter hidden inside me after all.

The next day I went to my local yarn store and asked for ideas for a pattern simple enough that a beginner could make it, but interesting enough to keep me hooked and walked home again with yarn enough for a nice and easy garter stitch turquoise vest. It ended up being completely unwearable by me (about 2 sizes too big despite checking my gauge!) but at least I finished it - and immediately went on to my next project. It was settled - I was a knitter.

So that's my background. Three years later, who would have thought that I used to claim I'd never knit... These days I seem to spend almost as much time knitting as I do reading, and I'm certainly almost as passionate about it. Kinda appropriate that it was a book that got me started in the first place, don't you think?

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