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5 Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Knitting

The knitting needles made a slight clicking sound as a I moved from one stitch to the next. The woman sitting next to me looked up from her SkyMall magazine and said, “I love that light clicking sound. What are you making?”

I looked over with a big smile and said, “A baby blanket for my friend.”

“That’s great! I love knitting gifts for friends and I especially love knitting on airplanes. I find it calming. Plus, it’s so much better to make something by hand instead of buying something out of this.”

The woman pointed to the Sky Mall magazine and rolled her eyes. We both chuckled and went back to our respective tasks; I started knitting again and she paged through the magazine.

This quick exchange made me think why I started knitting in the first place. About four years ago we were living in Davis, California and I was looking for a hobby; something, fun, easy and relaxing. A few work colleagues recommended that I learn how to knit. They promised me the experience wouldn’t be frustrating and that it would help me de-stress. I never considered myself to be “crafty,” so I avoided the knitting store for a number of months.

One day, I was wandering through Boarders Books and stumbled across “Stitch n’ Bitch.” I flipped through the book and thought to myself, “Hmmm knitting doesn’t look too hard. I could see myself making a basic hat or scarf. Maybe me co-workers were right?” Later that day, I wandered over to the local knitting store and signed up for a beginners class.

For me, knitting is a good time to reflect on life lessons and I wanted to share some of those lessons with you. Before we get going, find a piece of paper or open up a text edit program. I’ve included micro-actions throughout this post. As you’re reading along, write down your thoughts and ideas.

1. It’s essential to slow down.

Knitting is one activity that will force you to slow down. It’s a great opportunity to be mindful of the task at hand and how you are breathing. It’s helped me use my breath as an anchor, when life gets crazy. And in turn, I’m able to slow down and stop rushing around so much.

Micro-action: Remember to breathe deeply as you move through your day.

2. Starting over doesn’t have to hurt.

The idea of starting a project over isn’t something to brag about; at least not in this culture. We tend to want everything to be perfect on the first time around, but that doesn’t always happen. For example, sometimes I have to rip out my stitches and start over. But starting over doesn’t have to hurt; sometimes it’s the best place to begin.

Micro-action: Is there a project you need to start over? Think about how starting over can spur your creativity.

3. Don’t forget to keep growing your skills.

All winter long, I had been knitting scarfs and was becoming bored. So my friend convinced me to knit a baby blanket. Every-time I start a new project my stomach fills up with butterflies because I always get nervous. But that’s okay. Every new project is an opportunity to grow as a person.

Micro-action: Make a list of new projects and activities you want to accomplish. Would it be possible for you to do one new thing every week? Or every month?

4. Look for opportunities to unwind.

Knitting has helped me unwind the knots in my mind. When I’m knitting I just let my mind wander and I usually end up mulling over my creative projects. The activity helps me focus on what’s important.

Life circumstances can change in the blink of an eye and that’s why it’s so important to live your life right now, with everything you’ve got. In my last letter I talked about finding security in an uncertain world. But that’s a hard task to accomplish, especially if your mind is filled with knots. Knitting helps me untie those metaphorical knots.

Micro-action: Make a list of things you do everyday to unwind. Are negative thought patterns holding you back? If so, how can you release that negative energy?

5. You can knit together a close circle of friends.

A few months after I moved to Portland, I joined a knitting circle. Every Wednesday morning, I make time to knit. It’s one of my favorite times of the week because I get to connect with a close circle of friends. We talk about everything from work projects to what’s going on in our personal lives.

Micro-action: How much time do you spend with friends during the week?

Parting Words . . .

I never expected to learn so much from knitting or that it would become one of my favorite hobbies. Each time I pick-up my needles, I’m reminded of this quote . . .

“Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while, then take up the sock again.” ~Dorothy Day

Do you have a hobby that helps you unwind? What have you learned from the activity? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

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  • Sayantani Dasgupta April 25, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Your reason to pick up knitting sounds exactly like mine! This is one of the two new hobbies I picked up last summer. The other one being beading, which is also verrrry verrrry addictive and lots of fun plus the joy of actually being able to make gifts for your friends and family as opposed to buying them is unmatched.

    • Tammy April 25, 2011, 12:38 pm

      @Sayantani – Beading sounds like fun! If I ever get tired of knitting, I’ll have to give it a try. 🙂

  • Anna April 25, 2011, 12:36 pm

    I have tried knitting several times but haven’t caught onto it yet. I do however crochet and love making things for my friends and family. One of my close friends from college and I used to get together and knit/crochet while watching TV once a week and it was a great way to unwind and relax.

  • Terri April 25, 2011, 12:50 pm

    Knitting is my yoga. I’d love to see some of your projects, are you on Ravelry?

  • Jami April 25, 2011, 12:59 pm

    When I was culling my possessions to get ready to live on the road for a while, letting go of the yarn was a little tough. I did put some crochet hooks and knitting needles into the boxes that I’ll be storing.

    One thing that I do find hard is letting go of items that were gifts that were made by other people. I come from a family of knitters, crocheters and crafters of many kinds. While I do appreciate what they do, sometimes it’s necessary to put those items into the donate pile.

    The activity that helps me to unwind the most is probably cycling. I’m leaving my job in two weeks and I’m going to miss my commute. Generally, I take the same way home every day and it’s very relaxing, even though it’s down a major street in Chicago. I know every pothole, light and dangerous intersection, so I’m able to think about other things. The only drawback to cycling is that I don’t get to crochet or read on the train anymore.

  • Christine Simiriglia April 25, 2011, 2:07 pm

    Being both a Catholic Worker enthusiast and lover of Dorothy, and a knitter, I thank you. I work with homeless folks during the day… knitting is my sanity. You are a great writer and I thoroughly enjoy you. Keep it up, and thanks.

  • Kristina April 25, 2011, 3:48 pm

    I journal as my hobby. I picked up a blank book in college that had a lined page for every day. Every day I faithfully write a single page, no more, no less. Sometimes what I write about is deep, sometimes it is just a petty rant. Every day it is something new. The best part is that I limit myself to one page, which means that I have to make every word count when my mind is racing, and to elaborate and cultivate my thoughts when my day seems nothing out of the ordinary. I have been writing for 7 years now, and the only “books” I own are these journals. As I have moved around, changed, grown, and gained more life experience, I treasure these books as daily reminders of my life. Some people would criticize that daily creation of an object only to hold on to it is against philosophy…but I see it as a celebration of the life I lead, the people I have met, and the growth I have made. A blank page has a funny way of pushing you to make the most of your day, the most of your interactions and your adventures in this world. I take mine with me everywhere, and it has a way of quiet busy train stations and all the other motions of a fast-paced world. I recommend journalling as a way to clear your mind, give direction and focus to your thoughts, and to motivate you, and hold you accountable for, the way you live your life daily. What I write always ends up surprising me, whether I re-read what I wrote for that day, or from a day many years ago. I have gotten to know who I am as a person, indirectly through my own eyes.

    • Mollie April 26, 2011, 3:40 pm

      Wow, that’s really wonderful that you’ve kept it up for so many years. I jounaled when I was younger, but haven’t been able to keep it up for quite some time. You’ve inspired me to start again with your reply. Thanks!

    • Karen T. April 27, 2011, 12:32 am

      Kristina, I love your idea of writing one page per day, no more, no less. I’ve tried journaling before and always gave it up because I’d write and write and write at first and then no more. But one page — sometimes a challenge to fill, other times a challenge to be really succinct and to cut the crap. I’m going to try it!

      • Tammy April 27, 2011, 5:08 am

        @Kristina – I agree with Karen and Mollie! That is such a great idea. 🙂 Thank you for sharing.

  • Kelli Carroll April 25, 2011, 4:35 pm

    I love to knit,too. I have gotten in the habit of knitting booties for co-workers’ babies. My question is how did you get your knitting needles past security? I’ve had mine confiscated before! Thanks.

    • Tammy April 26, 2011, 10:24 am

      @Kelli – I’ve never had a problem getting past airport security with my knitting needles. Then again, I don’t fly much. 🙂 Maybe I’ve just gotten lucky?

      • Jennifer April 28, 2011, 1:56 pm

        Bamboo needles! I use to travel for work and I never had problems!

        • et April 29, 2011, 4:51 pm

          Knitting needles are permitted in your carry-on baggage or checked baggage.

          http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1252.shtm

        • Slinky May 9, 2011, 1:56 pm

          Just after 9/11 they weren’t allowed, than it was up to their discretion, now it’s listed as allowed on tsa.

          Just in case though, I always bring some sort of wooden dpn in size 0-2 and knit socks on a plane. Makes it pretty ludicrous to consider the needles as a weapon that needs to be confiscated. Also, plane seats are too narrow to knit large projects so socks are perfect!

  • Shannyn April 25, 2011, 4:40 pm

    I loved this post- I’ve been a knitter for years and found that I was so intimidated by trying something new. It’s odd, knitting (and my fear of doing something new and making a mistake) was reflective of my larger fear of taking chances and being wrong in my personal life. I started doing amigurumi and some new stitches and I applied to grad school (crafty chances, life chances) and I’m a lot more comfortable with both!

    I’m finishing up a ribbed scarf that I started over the winter break, and it totally helps me unwind. I joined a few knitting Meetup groups, but haven’t had a chance to go yet with my school schedule. I LOVED SnB groups though, so fabulous. Thanks for posting!

  • susanna eve April 25, 2011, 5:09 pm

    I love knitting. It keeps me calm through many of life’s daily challenges. It is easy to carry with you, the supplies don’t need to cost a lot and a little yarn can go a long way.
    Perhaps we should start a minimalist group on ravelry if there isn’t already one there:)

  • Kristy Powell April 25, 2011, 5:24 pm

    I’ve just recently learned to knit and love it for the exact same reasons as you’ve shared here. What a great post that sums up much of my new-to-knitting thoughts and experiences. I can’t wait to share this as I discovered when I recently posted about my learning to knit and new found love for it (http://onedressprotest.com/2011/03/young-love-a-slow-and-not-so-fashionable-yet-story/) that many who read my blog are novice to avid to professional knitters. It is just such an enjoyable, reflective, calming activity for me.

  • Mollie April 25, 2011, 5:44 pm

    I love to cook because it requires my full attention and takes my mind off any worries I may have. I also love nature walks. Those are my biggest stress relievers and occasionally a source of creative inspiration.

  • Wendy April 25, 2011, 5:46 pm

    Your post is touching.
    I started knitting after my son graduated from a parent participation elementary school. I was an overwhelmed and stressed mommy volunteer. Knitting has taught me to slow down and enjoy quiet moments. Knitting is therapeutic and a special way for me to show love through handmade gifts.

  • Jeannette April 25, 2011, 6:14 pm

    Great lessons. I started knitting while pregnant but have sort of let it slide for a while now. I really need to start back up again. I have to say though, the whole time I was reading I kept thinking… they let you on a plane with knitting needles?!

  • Domestic Kate April 25, 2011, 7:03 pm

    I didn’t know that you’re a knitter too! Hooray for knitting! I agree 100% with your observations about what knitting does for you. I’ve been slacking in the knitting department lately, but I have a feeling I’ll be thinking about this post and taking up the needles again very soon! Great post.

  • Ludmilla April 25, 2011, 7:33 pm

    I learned knitting from my mom many years ago back in the old country. I love to knit, it calms me down, I sit, i knit and my thoughts are peacefully floating from one subject to another. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer, knitting takes my eyes away from the screen. I love bamboo needles, they are very quiet. I carry my sock knitting with me all the time, just in case I am waiting somewhere or have to go to a meeting.
    The Zen of Socks DVD came out my passion for knitting.
    http://buffalogirlsdesign.com/zenvideo.php

  • Paul H Burton April 25, 2011, 8:39 pm

    For me it’s reading – very solitary, quiet, and thoughtful – and small, moving water fly fishing – also quiet and thoughtful but often done with friend(s). A recent article in Training & Development mag talked about “aha!” moments occurring during relatively quiet moments of activity such that the brain’s “weak signal” ideas can find each other and link. Knitting sounds like a perfect activity to generate “aha!” moments.

  • Taylor April 25, 2011, 11:05 pm

    Basketball really helps me unwind. By now, my body is so accustomed to shooting hoops that it’s just unconscious muscle memory. While my body is occupied with the simple act of dribbling and shooting, my mind is free to wander. I’m sure it’s the same way with knitting. Some of my best time is spent by myself in my front yard just shooting and thinking. I think everyone needs time like this in their day when they let their mind wander

  • Lisa April 26, 2011, 5:42 am

    Tammy,

    Thank you so much for this post. I have been wanting to learn how to knit for a long time, but keep putting it off. You have inspired me to go to our yarn store down the street and sign up for a class 🙂

    • Tammy April 26, 2011, 10:25 am

      @Lisa – Awesome! 🙂 Have fun and let me know how it goes . . .

  • Kristin Noelle April 26, 2011, 6:07 am

    One of my teachers isn’t as delightful as a hobby, but has helped me so much on occasion. It’s sickness! My most poignant lesson came in college when I had mono. For a number of weeks I sat gazing out my window with hardly any strength, thinking to myself, “When I get well, I have GOT to schedule in time to just gaze out my window and think!”

  • Heather April 26, 2011, 6:27 am

    I picked up knitting a few years ago and learned some of the valuable lessons you mentioned as well. I learned not to quit and to keep trying. When I was first trying to master the knit stitch, I shut myself in the office with no distractions, just me, needles, yarn and a kids knitting book and kept at it for over an hour until I got it! I learned that a mistake isn’t the end of the world, just rip back and do over. And I learned to challenge myself more. I will often choose projects that are more difficult than the one before, that makes me learn a new technique, and again, I keep trying until I get it. It’s actually pretty amazing what knitting has done for me. I used to just quit when things went wrong, or frustrated me, and now, I think about how I can rip back and try again. Thanks Tammy, great post.

  • Hi,

    I am not a knitter, but I love the analogy of knitting together a good circle of friends.

  • Lyssa April 26, 2011, 8:00 am

    My mother taught me how to knit when I was eleven, but I put it aside for eight years until I was in college and a friend re-taught me. Scarves and washcloths were the extent of my projects for a few years, then when I was twenty-one an elderly friend and I knitted over sixty dolls for a homeless shelter for Christmas! That was really fun : ) Knitting is so relaxing. It’s wonderful to keep a project with me so that I’ll always have something fun to work on.

    Last year I wanted to be adventurous so I decided to teach myself how to knit socks. Following a pattern couldn’t be THAT difficult, right? Six months and two failed half-knitted wrecks later, I was frustrated and decided to give up on the project. The very next day I read a phrase in a history book that went something like this: “In Colonial America, mothers would often teach their four and five year old daughters to knit socks…” So of course I had to try again. Can’t let those four year olds beat me! I’m happy to say that I finally swallowed my pride, bought a book on knitting socks, watched some tutorials online, and asked a friend for help. My mother was gifted with my first completed pair of socks for Christmas : ) Since then I’ve knitted several more pairs, and they are much easier to make now!

  • et April 26, 2011, 9:15 am

    A knitting blog you might like: http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/
    Stephanie is witty, creative and an great blogger.

  • Maria April 26, 2011, 9:32 am

    Love this post. I just started knitting, and can totally relate to having to start over. At first I would get frustrated, but its teaching me to be kind to myself and be patient wioth my learning curve.

    Thanks,
    Maria 🙂

  • DJ April 26, 2011, 9:58 am

    You have made me remember how much I miss knitting! I gave it up after my children were born, because life got way to busy for me. I should grab the needles and some pretty yarn and get going again. As your post rightly points out, you don’t need to knit something as complex as a fancy sweater… knitting a scarf or hat or baby blanket is just as relaxing. Maybe more so!

  • Roy | cruisesurfingz April 26, 2011, 3:40 pm

    You actually make knitting almost interesting 😛

  • Maggy April 26, 2011, 5:39 pm

    I tried to knit my best friend a scarf in high school. My mom taught me how and it went horrible. I still have the little scrap I knitted. 😛 I’d love to relearn someday.

  • Maggie April 26, 2011, 6:30 pm

    I only know the basic knitting stitches but I have been crocheting since I was 9. My grandma taught me – at first she said she couldn’t because she was left-handed, before I pointed out that I’m left-handed too! She passed away from Alzheimer’s 3 years ago, and for at least 2 years in the end she had no idea who I was. However I brought her crocheted items in the nursing home and she would always light up when I told her that she was the one who taught me how to make them. Today whenever I crochet, I think of her and it’s like a special bond that I have with her even though she’s gone. Maybe a little deep for a light-hearted hobby but I have made many special items for people over the years so I think it does have a real ability to touch people.

    • Tammy April 27, 2011, 5:09 am

      @Maggie – Thank you for sharing your story. It’s really touching. You made me tear-up. 🙂

  • Sherri April 26, 2011, 7:50 pm

    Knitting is such a wonderful thing, I used to knit and I really enjoyed it. My favorite hobby has always been taking dance classes. Ballet is also great for artistic perfectionists. 🙂 But, now that I’m moving to Central America, I’m going to have to revamp my list of hobbies! Reading this post makes me want to take up knitting again. I wonder if there’s warm weather stuff that can be knit…

    • Slinky May 9, 2011, 2:01 pm

      Tank tops and Camis and other sleeveless tops in cotton or ooh….try bamboo. I love bamboo. 🙂 It’s really drapey and soft.

  • Karen T. April 27, 2011, 12:41 am

    I’m a classical singer, and believe it or not, it shares some aspects with knitting: the need to challenge yourself with new music and new performance situtations; learning new skills, perfecting old ones, and practicing over and over (and over and over) again to get a difficult passage “sung in;” being able to sing with others who share your passion. Sometimes I’m too intense about my music, but I perform the best when I’m relaxed and able to let the music speak for itself. Then the experience is really energizing.

  • Michelle Bross April 27, 2011, 4:19 am

    Running is my meditation. Check out what I have written about my experiences: http://www.mychildsgardener.com/1156/why-i-run/

  • Meg April 27, 2011, 10:06 am

    I was away in Mexico last week and I ran into a women who was making a scarf… I was so intrigued and decided that I wanted to learn how to knit. What a neat concept to be able to make my own scarfs and make gifts for my loved ones. I am glad I saw this post when I did. It was something I had lingering in my head. My hobby right now is Yoga. Of course I still love my yoga…. but knitting sounds so stimulating too.

  • Holli April 27, 2011, 4:28 pm

    Really enjoyable post, makes me want to learn to knit:)
    Just this month I set out to learn how to use power tools and make my kids bunk beds. I have an amazing neighbor who is both patiently teaching me and letting the project occupy her garage. I have found that this new learning project provides me focus time, a quiet break from the chaotic chatter and activeness a 2 and 4 year old revel in all day. I look forward to them using the bunk bed and know where some tiny imperfections lie, ones that will remind me years from know those moments that made me and my neighbor laugh.
    To learning new things and slowing down,
    Holli

  • Christie April 27, 2011, 7:15 pm

    Oh! Can I add one? I just discovered last month, that it’s not about the end product. I finally finished my first sweater. It doesn’t look very good on me. It’s a little big all over and hangs off of me unflatteringly. I’m not going to wear it. I was surprised to discover that I didn’t really care. I really enjoyed making it. I was disappointed, but for all the money and time I spent on it, it’s totally okay. It’s sitting in the projects box right now, but I am pretty sure a few months from now, I’ll take it apart and start over.

    Knitting is good.

  • rob April 28, 2011, 3:24 am

    I think “knitting” is a placeholder for anything more physical than mental in our intellect-focused world, and yet there is skill to it. It has the convenience that you can do it where other physical things are hard (like on a plane).

    I find the same mental release in martial arts. Do the same movement 10, 100, 100000 times to ultimately perfect it. Keep doing it. I know people who’ve been training in TaeKwon-Do for 30+ years that continue to practice things we teach in the first month of a class, with the hope that someday the’ll get them “right”.

  • Jeanne April 28, 2011, 3:55 am

    I learned to knit last summer–a little from my 92 year old mother-in-law (whom I’ve known for 40 years) and a lot from a lovely woman from Germany at my local knit shop. I don’t know why it took me so long, but I’m knitting now and just love it. I knit every day. It’s sort of part of who I am right now.

  • StephCat April 28, 2011, 5:33 am

    I’ve been knitting on & off for (many) years. I now design knitting patterns, and often my biggest inspiration is the desire to learn a new technique, incorporate it into the pattern, and help other people learn it as well.

    I always try to stress to newbies there’s no one right way to knit — as long as you understand the stitches & the fabric created it doesn’t matter how you get there (english, continental, combination, left handed, etc ect). And you can always frog & start over. Most yarn (with the exception of some mohair blends, or easily felted laceweight) can stand up to be knit & reknit a couple times.

  • Ser Tan April 28, 2011, 6:51 am

    I recommend needlepoint – it is a cool hobby where you transform a rough canvas into a beautiful tapestry. I can complete 1-2 projects a year (at most with my regular work) as each project takes between 100-150 hours to complete. So far, I have given away everything I have made. Nothing tells a friend or loved one how important they are like receiving a gift that takes 6 months to complete.

  • Beth April 28, 2011, 2:36 pm

    Knitting helps me breathe…believe it or not! I stay focus and it is the best form of relaxation next to yoga!

  • Lynn Fang April 28, 2011, 3:50 pm

    That’s wonderful! I’ve been intrigued by knitting for the reasons you describe. I’m glad it’s given you time to slow down and make new friends. I started sewing a little to get some of the same benefits, but I think sewing is more mind-intensive than knitting.

    I’ve been playing with crafts as a way to learn how to do stuff myself, but I often get caught up in the ‘I’m not a “crafty” type’ image. My Inner Saboteur gains control and stops me from finishing my crafting projects. 🙁 Any tips??

    • Tammy April 28, 2011, 4:28 pm

      @Lynn – Ohhh I hate that little voice. Mr. Inner Saboteur floats around in my brain frequently. When he appears I do my best to ignore him and I keep knitting (or writing). If you enjoy something, the key is to keep practicing. 🙂 I always tell myself that life is a constant learning process and no one is perfect. 🙂

  • ana April 28, 2011, 4:30 pm

    I knit since I was a little girl, I read your post & I couldn’t have explained it better.

    I’ve just realized that I need to spend more time with my friends, even though they don’t know how to knit 🙂

    • Tammy April 28, 2011, 4:33 pm

      @Ana – Maybe you could teach them to knit? 🙂 Or you could organize a monthly girls night? Thanks for reading!

  • Tammy April 28, 2011, 4:31 pm

    Hey all – I’ve been enjoying reading all of the comments and stories. Thanks for sharing. It makes me smile. 🙂

  • Andrea April 28, 2011, 8:03 pm

    Love this, inspirational and motivating… even though I don’t knit! 😉

  • Annette April 29, 2011, 12:10 am

    I came here via the link on etsy from Danielexo’s post – thanks Daniel, and thanks Tammy!
    I really enjoyed comment 4, I’ve been missing it for years! time to enjoy the minutes now, thanks so much!

  • Dawn April 29, 2011, 8:06 am

    Thank you – this was great! I actually crochet but I first started it as a hobby and found it also relaxed me. I like to do yoga to relax as well!

  • Patti Cavallero April 29, 2011, 10:08 am

    Thanks this is vert timely… I am preparing to spend a weekend with friends some of us knitting. I intend to work on something new, rip something out, and teach others how to knit. And yes I frequently solve some issue when I allow to unwind in true form

  • Sigal Friedlich-Zakai April 29, 2011, 11:57 am

    I learned how to knit when I was very young. I remember knitting whenever I could – for some reason, I quit it. 10 years ago I became a goldsmith and I sometime find myself knitting with a silver thin wire . I never really thought it trough, but I think it helps me to unwind…
    I guess- “Old habits die hard”…or never die…

  • pve April 29, 2011, 10:40 pm

    i have a weekly knitting group and i find it gets harder and harder to find time to knit in a fast paced world.
    it does make me slow down and find time for friends.
    pve

  • Anna Gray May 1, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I mostly knit hats and scarves. Virtually everyone in the family, including myself, has one of this awful hats :D. However, I do relax not only during my hobby time, but also during my work as I make micro-mosaics jewelry. It does take a lot of patience to do that 🙂 and helps me to relax and think about the things that need improvement and ways in which I can do it.

  • Natalie @ NS Pottery May 4, 2011, 8:23 am

    I very much enjoyed reading your thoughts on knitting! I find that making pottery does for me what knitting does for you. It’s a great way to focus my thoughts, unwind, slow down, and attempt new things.

  • Slinky May 9, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Whenever I think of things I’ve learned from knitting, one thing always stands out the most and I was surprised you didn’t list it here. I often pick more complicated or tedious things to knit and my friends often ask how I can knit them and stay sane. The answer is always the same. I can knit anything as long as I do it one stitch at a time. Maybe there are a lot of ends to weave in or maybe I’ve got boring sleeves on size 3 needles to knit, or maybe it’s a lace border that just goes on and on and on. It may take me a while to finish, but if I just do a little bit every time I sit down to knit and don’t give up on it, I’ll get there eventually.

  • Fawn May 12, 2011, 7:04 am

    This was very enlightening! Where I grew up in the sixties and seventies knitting was mandatory, much like learning to cook from scratch, cross country skiing and chores. At school we had certain items that had to be produced each year, or you failed crafts, and was not a “real” woman. So I know a lot about knitting. Women in my generation do-not-knit as there are perfectly good sweaters in the store. I like to knit, but I think it is difficult to see it as a leisure activity. To me it is a job – it takes 2.5 days of concentrated activity to make a sweater – longer time the more patterns it is supposed to have. We knit on circular needles and machine stitch before cutting and assembling. I currently have two sweaters waiting to be assembled and five more on the way. I’m thrilled with the cultural difference!
    My favorite hobby is slacking. It is a wonderful activity that can be enjoyed anywhere at any time, it is cheap and you do not need any tools to do it. It can be really difficult at first, but you need to make up some good mantras to help you on the way. Some of my favorites are: “No, we can have dinner tomorrow instead, now I’d like to stay here in the sun as it will probably rain the rest of the summer” and “Of course I’d really like to clean out my closet but I think I learn so much from following Rowdy Kittens”. To me this is the ultimate simple living activity and promotes mental balance.

  • Rebecca November 15, 2011, 2:19 pm

    “I never considered myself to be “crafty,” so I avoided the knitting store for a number of months.”

    I identify completely with this sentence. For so long, I’ve loved the idea of taking up knitting, but I don’t think of myself as a crafty person so I’ve never been brave enough to give it a go.

    I also think it looks really complicated! Both my grandmothers used to knit, and I remember sitting at my granny’s knee as a child, watching her work on another creation. The knitting needles moved so quickly, I thought I’d never be able to get the hang of it. I try not to have regrets, but I definitely wish I’d asked my granny or nanna to teach me how to knit before they passed away.

    • Slinky November 16, 2011, 8:14 am

      Knitting is like shuffling a deck of cards. It takes a little practice when you first learn how to shuffle a certain way, but after a while you can do it super fast without even thinking about it. It’s also not required that you knit at a certain speed. 🙂

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