A few days ago I was knitting on my favourite chair thinking knitty things and the slight obsession about knitting struck me as rather funny. After all, it came on so suddenly five years ago(!) and rather than being a bit of a time filler, it has taken on more and more importance in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fibre maniac – I haven’t (yet) branched out into weaving or spinning or herding my own flock of rare breeds to harvest their wool, but I regularly plan for the next knitty challenge and relish it with as much excitement as a child waiting to open Christmas presents. So I started to make a mental list of why I knit. And for the curious amongst you, they’re the same reasons as to why I crochet. I then ran out of head-space so I thought I’d write them down.
- I love the excitement of taking off the band from a new ball of yarn – at that stage the possibilities are endless.
- I love the look and feel of yarn. Almost any yarn except for “baby” acrylic and similar nasty polyester concoctions. The shapes are all different – some are tightly bundled, others are squishy. It’s a feast for the eyes to behold. .
- I love pretty knitting needles. They feel so warm and smooth and the colours are eye-candy.
- The rhythm of stocking stitch is soporific and calming. I can be miles away solving an intractable problem or daydreaming about our next holiday whilst knowing that I’m pushing the project to conclusion. Bliss.
- It’s great to see a new pattern and work out the intricacies. Or decide to follow it to a certain level and then go “off piste” and make it up a little. I love how designers from different countries write their patterns differently and certain knitted items are always finished the same way e.g. English cardigans always have a button band which is added on last.
- I love the maths of designing a new pattern – how the numbers all add up when you increase then decrease. The mirror image repetition of lace. How maths can lead to something so tangible as a jumper and so ethereal as a 2ply mohair concoction.
- I love the endless challenge – a new technique, a new “nobbly” yarn, making up a new way, a different edging, beads, three needles, using crochet techniques in knitting etc. etc.
- I love the pride of a completed project. I may pick holes in the finish or notice that one slipped stitch or less than perfect Kitchener – but deep down I’m proud as if I were a race winner.
- I love it that inspiration can strike anywhere. I stare embarrassingly at people who are wearing something knitted that has caught my eye. The most recent occasion, I noticed that I kept on staring at the ample chest region of a woman sitting opposite me in a long, and bit boring, meeting. I realised that she noticed me looking and thought it was best to come clean. I collared her after we finished talking business and asked about her jumper. Thankfully she then understood exactly what I was looking at!
- I love the fact that there are so many different types of yarn and projects out there, it is unlikely that I will ever knit the same thing twice or run out of knitting challenges. The thought that one day I will say – done that – is sobering, but I don’t think it will happen.
I can go on. Knitting has been a solace, a friend and it ties me to the past (all those who knitted before me) and the future (all those who are yet to learn). It centres me, calms me and ensures that I’m rarely bored.
Why do you knit?