Why I Knit – And a Brag

My blog has been silent for a few weeks. My laptop had a nasty virus and it took a looooong time to take care of it. I learned very quickly that while I love the new iPad, it’s totally worthless for typing anything longer than a Facebook status update. So the blog has been on a little vacation, and I have all these posts rolling around in my head.

We’ll get to some of the more serious posts later – and I know after my first training session this weekend I’m going to have a lot more to say about it all – so let’s start here, with a little something about why I knit.

I learned to knit during my semester abroad in Ireland. It rains there just as much as everyone says it does, but it was hard to wrap my mind around it until I was living it. Every. Single. Day. Oh, it was wet. And gray. I loved Ireland once the homesickness passed, but I had cabin fever in a bad way.

This mostly manifested in my cleaning our flat and doing a lot of crunches, but I definitely drove my flatmates nutty with my constant need to keep myself busy. One day, my flatmate marched me down to the craft store, put a pair of needles and a skein of purple yarn in my hands, and took me back to the flat to learn to knit. I think she wanted me to sit still for a while.

That was 9 years ago, and I’ve been knitting ever since.

The more I knit, the more I love it. Using two sticks and string, I make fabric. It’s magical. It’s mathematical. It appeals to my logical side while inspiring my creative side.

I make clothes. I make things that keep people warm. The things I make wrap people in love and warmth and softness. I love to see my girl wearing a sweater I’ve made or hubby wearing a hat I knit.

And aside from all the warm and fuzzy, I don’t know if that flatmate (now my best friend) knows what she gave me 9 years ago: she taught me how to sit still.

I have a serious issue with quieting my mind. I am always, always, always thinking. I’m that person that has to have the tv on or the radio playing to distract part of my mind so I can focus on something else.

Knitting lets me be quiet for a while. Studies have shown that knitting actually produces the same type of brain waves as meditation. (Cool, right?) Knitting is my meditation. I can knit stitch after stitch, row after row no matter how stressed or sad or frustrated I am. And as each stitch falls off my needles, I feel a little more calm, relaxed, clear.

And at the end, I have something warm and woolly to wrap around a loved one.

I like a challenge when I knit, so a while ago I took a class in the Aran knitting style. (think Irish sweaters) I took the class from a charming and witty woman straight from Donegal. I could barely understand her as she drew complicated diagrams on the chalkboard and walked around the room, watching us clumsily slip stitches back and forth to make cables and bobbles. Her idea of a written pattern is nothing like a conventional knitting pattern, but I was determined to make a small sweater and master the Aran style.

Eventually I cast on the first stitches of a Merino Diamond Lumber 22″ and started to knit. And knit and knit. I cabled and slipped and moss stitched until finally I ended up with this.

Rowenna in Her Aran Sweater

And here’s the brag: I am so stinkin’ proud of this sweater. I’ve never been prouder of a piece I’ve made. And the journey of making it brought back so many wonderful memories of fluffy sheep in deep green fields, a friendship made, a lesson learned.

My mind was never more quiet than while I worked on this sweater for my girl, and I don’t think that really crystallized for me until I was done. This sweater taught me (reminded me?) how much I’ve come to depend on this stillness and how grateful I truly am for the friend who taught me.

So thanks, pal. See you soon. ❤

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Marita on January 19, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Ooo. That is just the nicest thing ever. I’ve thought from time to time how nice it is that you still like to knit as much as I do, but I don’t think I’d ever realized it means that much to you. Also, I am amazed and impressed beyond belief by that Aran sweater. Your daughter is one lucky and well dressed little girl!

    I am so glad that you are a part of my life and I will always be grateful that we wound up in that flat together.

    Reply

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