Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Have you ever wondered why we like to knit? It's almost as if it's imperative that we handle the yarn and needles on a daily basis or we have withdrawal symptoms.

I was looking in Interweave Knits magazine last night searching for a sweater pattern and came across an article written by Vicki Square, the author of the Knitter's Companion, and it's like it hit home. Below is her article I found in the winter of 2008 issue of Interweave Knits and decided to put it here.

Why do we knit? Well, of course, we knit for fun! We knit because it is rewarding. We knit to enjoy the process. We knit to see the product of our hands. Good reasons all, yet they merely skim the shallow surface of the incredible depth that describes every knitter's life.

We are a diverse human population, to be sure. We come in a lovely selection of sizes, shapes, and colors. We also come in an expansive age range and feature a wide spectrum of skill levels, from pre-knitters (have you invited your friends to learn?) to a walking encyclopedia of knowledge. Consider all the following reasons why we knit, and you'll see our common bond. We knit to learn. We all want to pass Go and collect $200, but we have to get in the game first. Basic rules are simple: cast on, knit, purl, bind off. Remember what a thrill it was with the first success? Each new project opens the opportunity to learn something new and experience that thrill again. Knitters are intelligent lifelong learners.

We knit to relax. Once we have learned a set of skills, we practice them until they come naturally. Learn, practice, relax, repeat. I love to have a project at hand that requires little concentration so that I can absolutely "settle in" and enjoy. Every knitter has a favorite place: one of mine is on my back desk in nice weather enjoying the view. We also have a willingness to try a new place with new faces. Knitters are a personable lot, meeting and making new friends. As long as our knitting is in hand, we're good to go.

We knit to think. It can be alone time, knitting. We all need time to reflect on happenings, conversations, and relationships. We need to meditate on life's truths. We may pray, for ourselves and for one another. It is a time to simply think things through. Schedules, appointments, activities, to-do lists, places to go, and things to accomplish all conspire to steal some measure of personal peace. Knitting helps us to get it back, and it realigns priorities so we can choose the important over the simply urgent.

We knit to soothe. Life is messy, as anyone on this planet can attest, with paved and rocky paths full of twists and turns, hills and valleys. If everything in your life is spectacularly smooth, bask in it! Inevitably, around the bend will be a speed bump, or a road block, or a bridge out. Small somethings can be handled with nary a rise in blood pressure. Large and tragic somethings can be so painful we don't know how we'll live through them. But we knit on. And we are somehow comforted in the soothing repetition of inserting the needle into each stitch, catching the yarn for a new stitch, back and forth, row after row. Knitting's quiet rhythm quiets the soul. We recognize that knitting can very well be a rudder that helps to navigate through life's storms.

We knit for companionship. Don't we love to gather together for long hours of knitting, visiting, knitting, eating, knitting, drinking lattes, tea, maybe fruit smoothies, and did I say knitting? Once done more out of necessity, today we knit mostly for pure pleasure. We experience the joy of seeing others succeed, reach goals, and celebrate victories. Sharing knitting time together is, in essence, sharing life.

We knit to give. Knitters are famous for spending hours and hours, perhaps over weeks and months, working on a gift for a special someone. Love and kindness go into each stitch that makes the whole. There is a deep well of generosity in every knitter I know.

We knit for mercy. I'm telling you, knitters know how to step up to the plate and get it done. They will swing for the fence every time because they are serious about meeting needs. Local groups, national goups, international groups- globally, knitters care for the plight of those in need. Cancer patients, new babies, natural disaster victims, the homeless, the grieving: needs are significant, and knitters meet that imperative. Like the invisible filament that strengthens the yarn it is paired with, knitters bring strength into their environments and their relationships.
We knit to create. In everyone of us is an artist, wanting to personalize our knitted creations. Expression can be as simple as changing colors for a given pattern, or it can be as involved as creating our own designs.

Today's knitting crowd is an all-inclusive club whose only prerequisite is to knit- or want to knit. Join us! We knit because we can. We knit for fun and for function, our reasons meshing together, just as in our knitting. The bottom line: We knit because we absolutely love it. We love it, we're passionate about it, and we are compelled to do it, just as we are compelled to breathe."