Monday, October 16, 2017
I remember asking my mom about knitting when I was very young. She knit my sisters sweaters and they were beautiful. I wanted to learn. She explained that it was a chore I wouldn't have to do and showed me a book on knitting saying if I was truly interested, she would give me needles and wool, After watching her and reading that book a few times, I asked for needles and wool. I was on my way.
As I grew, I would knit when the urge struck. Typically, I'd find some time during summer break to pick those needles up again. It wasn't until high school when I began to make a serious effort. I still had a lot to learn but could knit one-color mittens and raglan sweaters. I continued to knit but was slow and, I now know, lacked the specific techniques to take my work to a higher level.
I was working as a medical editor when a co-worker saw me knitting in the break room over my lunch hour. She mentioned she was also a knitter and started bringing her work in so we could knit together.
My tribe was born. Linda took me under her wing. She showed me how to knit with two colors, one in each hand. I was a "thrower" and knit English style, like my mother. She showed me how to hold another yarn in my left hand and knit "Continental" which was FAST. I made my first two color, Fair Isle, pair of mittens. I still have those mittens 25 years later and they still look new.
By the time I left that position, the internet was up and running. I found a knitting group and the rest is history. The last 15 years has brought knitting podcasts of all kinds by people around the world, virtual knitting groups, local knitting groups, a community that is tightKNIT (yes, I went there) and supportive.
There are conventions, professional/master level classes, and camaraderie for every knitter. I've made friends around the world and have traveled to group together. When we've been connected via the internet and meet, it's as if we've been living in the same town for years and meeting at our own knitting group.
As I grew in my tribe and community, I learned my own family history had a fiber arts connection. My dad handed me a box of old photos and notes from his aunt about our own family history. I found a photo (see below) where three of the women are clearly members of my family. The resemblance is undeniable and one is tatting and one is knitting. I started a book about our history and it turned into a collection of knitting designs.
See? It's in my blood.