Sunday, April 25, 2010

I used to tell people I could learn to do anything but knit....

Today is day one of Eskimimi's Knit and Crochet Blog Week, or as it is has come to be known, KniCroBlo, which I personally enjoy much more! I have never stopped being 14 years old, have I?? (Then how did I get so old??? I guess that is a question for another day...) Anyway, Eskimimi has thoughtfully provided prompts for blogging for the whole week, to light the proverbial fire under our patooties, and I have decided that this will be a good way to get moving on the blog posting and maybe make new imaginary blog friends! So the prompt for today, day one, is this:

Starting Out

How and when did you begin knitting/crocheting? was it a skill passed down through generations of your family, or something you learned from Knitting For Dummies? What or who made you pick up the needles/hook for the first time? Was it the celebrity knitting ‘trend’ or your great aunt Hilda? TAGGING CODE: knitcroblo1

True story, I used to actually say in job interviews that I could learn to do anything except for knit. I think it got me a job as a bookkeeper once, which it turns out is something that I CANNOT actually learn to do.... (Seriously, you need a bookkeeper so you turn to an art historian??? What were we thinking??) Now, I have turned that clever hook for job interviews into a terrible lie....

We were always big crocheters in our family. My grandma was rarely without a project, my mom dabbled occasionally, and I was always crocheting something... My grandma could knit, though, and knitting had taken on magical proportions in my imagination. She had this cardboard tube of aluminum knitting needles, all the shiny round ends were at the top when you opened the tube like a futuristic silvery bouquet. I opened that tube probably a thousand times when I was a kid. Many times, armed with K-Mart acrylic yarn my grandmother tried to teach me to knit. I was impossible. I have never seen such horrific lumps turned off a knitting needle in my life.... Pathetic. And my threshold for that kind of frustration was very, very low. I have always picked up new crafts easily and this seemed like the worst kind of mockery of my skills. If I was that terrible and frustrated, it must actually be impossible!!

This only added to the mystical appeal of the craft. Magically, OTHERS were able to do it and I couldn't.... To this day, whenever I cast on a summer weight sweater, I think of my Aunt Billie who knitted away in the eighties at our house on the cutest North-Carolina-summer weight sweaters. (Those of you in the South know what I mean by North-Carolina-summer!!) I couldn't look away! So perfect, so beautiful, so impossible for me to understand. I was so jealous! My mom and I both remember being amazed that she was KNITTING SOMEPLACE OTHER THAN ON HER OWN COUCH. Foolish, foolish non-knitters! We have come to understand now.

Fast forward through many years of such incidents: jealousy, trying to learn from my left handed mother, blobs of yarn, crying, throwing knitting needles.... See our heroine in graduate school, stressed to the eyebrows, feeling like class going, test taking and paper writing comprise the entire universe. I had seen a girl in Starbucks a couple of months past knitting away on what I now know to be the Lady Elanore Stole, an object of great desire to this day. I probably creeped her out staring at her, the way her fingers flew, the peace she seemed to be working in.... I was already foolishly buying Interweave Knits and wallowing in impotent envy of people who could produce such beautiful work. I found out that the Carrboro Arts Center hosted classes and a new session of Beginning Knitting was about to start. It was a steep fee for a student without a full time job, 180$, but what are student loans for, right?

There I ended up, at the police station in tiny little Carrboro, whose arts center was too small to accommodate the class! Our teacher was this amazing Scottish woman, whose name I sadly cannot remember, who had a MASTER'S DEGREE IN KNITTING. What a concept! A Master's Degree in something I wanted to do for fun! She was incredible. Worked some kind of magic on me, and somehow I picked up every new stitch and concept like I had been doing it my whole life. I feel as if my brain had learned to knit over and over but my hands had been stubborn. It was like that class was the final "CLICK" that it took for my HANDS to learn to knit. Duck to water. Made a mockery of all the tears and throwing things of the past. I have never looked back.

I enjoyed it so much and became so obsessed with the activity that The Mom picked the needles back up when I learned. She hadn't knitted since the 70s. The rest is history. Here we are today, never without a project or two at hand, unable to visit a coffee shop or friend's house without yarn. Fiber fairs, multiple notebooks of patterns, online shopping, Ravelry, knit-alongs.... Knitting bliss!

I can honestly say that nothing has ever made me happier than the magical transformation of string into something beautiful. The magic has never been lost. Look at this! I made string into a SOCK! Wow, that is pretty and I can wear it! To say nothing of the pure alchemy of creating lace out of nothing!! I shrug aside any suggestion that my life is unbalanced, that this has become an addiction.... If this is unhealthy, I don't want to get better.

So, there is my story. When I get home for the evening I will share fresh pictures of Aeolian, which is marching along, and Passiflora that I have shamefully not been able to restrain myself from casting on! (See, obsessed!)

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