This week has had a lot of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: We are staying home and making the most of it. If you’re home with your family, roommates, or just trying not to go bananas from loneliness, remember that many many people have sought solace – and found it – in making something with their hands. Knitting is meditative, it feels productive, and it keeps the mind agile. Kate and I are plotting how we can create our own How-To video series while we’re in a work slow down, but there are many, many resources out there if you want to learn to knit, or learn any new craft!
Each of us has a story of the first thing they ever knit, and this is mine.
My grandmother, Mama, taught me to knit when I was probably 8 or 9. She gave me a skein of maroon Red Heart and a pair of yellow plastic (probably Boye brand) needles. She taught me how to do a backwards loop cast on and the basic knit stitch. I carried that yarn and needles around with me for years, but never knit more than a few rows before pulling it out and starting again. If you’ve ever used a backwards loop cast on to start a project, you know that it’s…let’s just say it’s less than ideal! I very clearly remember casting on enough stitches to FILL the length of my needle, and then giving up halfway through trying to knit them. I managed to make a few wobbly Barbie doll scarves, but I never quite got the hang of it. Fast forward ten years, and I was moving to Chicago to go to art school. I grabbed the yarn and needles and tucked it into one of my moving boxes and off I went.
I tried again a few times on quiet nights to knit that stupid maroon yarn, with little luck. Until one day, when browsing the books in a local second hand shop, I picked up a Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework. I finally got it! I figured out how to knit and purl – though I wouldn’t know until many years later that I was unknowingly doing the Eastern Uncrossed method of knitting, which took some time to unlearn when I started to knit lace – with dodgy results. From that moment on I was off to the races, and the second thing I taught my self to knit was socks. They were not very good socks, but they were socks nonetheless. I love telling my beginning knitting students that if they can learn to knit and purl they have mastered everything they need to know to make anything they want – they just have to want to do it!
Fast forward twenty years, designer Edie Eckman popped into our booth at Creativation this year. She saw our Germantown Yarn display and told me the story of the first scarf she ever knit, using Germantown. I happily sent her off with some skeins of the newly revived Germantown yarn to try out!
Last week she sent over a note saying that she had re-knit her very first scarf, and was going to be posting the free pattern on her blog. Go visit Edie’s blog to learn the story of her first wonky scarf, and how much it meant to the person she knit it for.
I hesitate to say that anything in the last week or two has been perfect timing – but I think this is! I hope that you find a moment to learn to knit yourself, or teach someone else. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Edie!
We would love to hear about the first thing you ever knit!
If you’re on Instagram, post a picture of yourself with some of your first knitting, or share a photo of teaching someone else to knit and use the hashtag #myfirstknitting. We’d love to share some of them on our Stories feed!