Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spreadin the Knittin Love

I began knitting because of my grandmother, who is now 92 and has been knitting for about 50 years. This is a picture of me with her today... we're holding up an afghan she just finished after spending months on it. It is made up of 20 squares, each a different pattern. She is quite proud of it! Over what she guesses is the last 50 years, she has knitted sweaters, tons of afghans, lap robes, socks, slippers, dish clothes, and doll clothes for my mom's dolls when she was little. My grandmother, who has 4 children, 11 grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren, says she taught herself to both knit and crochet by using a book. She says she's just like me... she just can't sit and do nothing!

One day about 5 years ago, I was saddened by the thought of, when she passes away, her knowledge and love of knitting will not be passed on because my mother never learned to knit. I mentioned in passing that I might want to learn to knit and ended up getting a "Learn to Knit" book for Christmas. So shortly after that I sat down and, although it seemed pretty overwhelming, I gave it a go and right away knit a long, skinny, and pretty plain looking scarf (that my son still wears!).

Here is that first scarf I attempted. Not bad for a first try, right ?

For years, about 5, I knit and knit and knit scarf after scarf after scarf, because I quickly learned that knitting is addicting and yarn is like delicious candy. Since I first learned, I've always made time to knit. I started doing a craft fair at my kids' school every November and I usually sell about 13 scarves, out of about 30 that I usually have on display. I give the others as Christmas gifts to the kids' teachers and coaches.

In January of this year, 2009, I found a super easy pattern for a hat (just knit a rectangle, cinch up the top, and sew down one side) and then began making tons of hats. I've probably made over 80 since January. All but about 3 of those have gone to charity.

I love to knit easy, quick things because I lack the patience for anything that takes too long or requires thinking :) I see patterns all the time that I wish I could make, but I just say to myself "maybe later" or "I can't knit that. No way!". I'm hoping one day soon I'll bite the bullet and sit down, read a bunch more about more advanced knitting techniques, and practice with needles and yarn until I can knit anything I want! I'd LOVE to knit stuffed animals - imagine how happy that would make kids in a hospital or a homeless shelter! Until I do bite the bullet, though, I am perfectly content with what I'm doing now. I absolutely LOVE to knit, whatever it may be, and especially if it is for someone else.

I am pretty much always knitting when I'm sitting at my daughter's swim practice. She swims every night because she's on a swim team. Sometimes I drop her off because I have two younger boys that have a hard time sitting for an hour and a half every day :). But, about 3 days a week, we sit and watch her and I knit. People watch me all the time and seem to be in awe that I can actually make something. They find it fascinating. One day a little girl watched me make a hat in utter disbelief and, when I was done, I stuck it on her head and said, "Here ya go!" Her smile went on for miles :) And here's the exciting part: I've actually caused two people to learn to knit!! One has made several hats for Knits For Needs, and one lady came in yesterday with needles and yarn and was excited to see me, saying, "I taught myself to knit!". I helped her with her cast on because, apparently, she was doing it incorrectly.

I have also taught my 11-yr-old daughter to knit, and, every now and then we go hang out with Grandma and knit with her. My daughter has been working on the same scarf for over a year.. hey, she's busy with school and swimming, ok? I plan to teach her my easy hats and maybe she'll like to make some for herself, her friends, and others. We'll see.

Passing on the art of knitting is something that I feel good about doing and I hope others take the time to do it. Being "caught" in public, doctor's offices, ERs (yes, I knit for two hours the other night in the ER when my son was getting stitches. Don't worry, I put it down to hold his hand as the stitches were actually happening), swimming, libraries, coffee shops, book stores, the car (when parked!), and all the other places you find yourself in, really reminds people that knitting is making a comeback and that knitting is NOT just for old farts (sorry Grandma)! Take the time to learn or teach someone knitting today!

I just found this Pledge Bank where you can promise you'll teach someone to knit:

Here are some tips on teaching someone to knit:


  1. Your Grandmother is Beautiful, and so is her blanket!

  2. If you can count, you can knit anything! I taught a bloke to knit from scratch, 2 years later he was running a business making Aran jumpers - stop underestimating yourself, you can do whatever you want - look what you've achieved already!

  3. I love this story. Thank you so much for sharing this part of you with us. :)

  4. Love your grandmother and her blanket! As a "beginner knitter", it is easy to get overwhelmed. The other knitters I know are SO GOOD and have been knitting forever. It helps to hear your story and know that I'm not alone just doing scarves! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Gorgeous afghan! If you're outputting that many scarves and hats you are totally capable of other projects. Believe in yourself! You can do it!

    For many, the key to success on larger/longer term projects is to work on those while also putting out the smaller projects so you still get a sense of accomplishment.

  6. Thank you everyone for all the comments, tips, and votes of confidence :)

  7. Gran's blanket is amazing! You two look so happy together. Made me smile from ear to ear.

  8. You should encourage your grandma to sit and talk with you on camera while she knits something, so she can talk about techniques, her favorite projects and colors, as well as perhaps doing tutorials. It not only would be a great keepsake for you to look back on later, but also could be a wonderful resource.

  9. You and I Have a very similar story about how we've come in to knitting. Your story almost moved me to tears... I hope you go to my site and read my first post about my story too. :) Thank you so much for sharing!