May 10, 2015

The Gift of Knitting

It's Mother's Day in the US, so it seems appropriate to revisit this little story.

My mother taught me to knit when I was very young, three or perhaps four years old.

I’m using the term “knit” quite loosely, of course, but I do remember the occasion. I was sick and miserable with the mumps or measles. I must have been feeling a bit fussy as well, because I – the kid who was willing and able to sleep any time, any day, any where – would not go down for a nap.

So she pulled out her knitting basket, handed me a blue steel DPN and some heavy gray wool, and showed me how to knit.

Well, actually, she taught me how to do an easy finger cast on, a technique I still use today when I’m in a hurry to test a new stitch or cast on something small.

I spent the rest of that day and many days after casting on as many stitches as the needle would hold. Then I’d pull them off, rewind the yarn and do it all over again. Cast on, pull off, rewind. Cast on, pull off, rewind.

I remember the experience so clearly, I can still feel that scratchy wool and see my little hands struggling to grip the needle, wrestle the yarn into position and get those stitches into place.

Eventually I would master the basic knit and purl stitches, but at that time and for several years to follow all I could do was cast on, pull off and rewind. In my mind, of course, I was convinced I was knitting.

Little did my mother know her efforts to distract a fussy, sick kid would launch a lifelong love affair with the mysteries and magic hidden inside each pair of needles and ball of yarn.

XO. Thanks, Mom, for giving me the priceless gift of knitting.

PS: Yes, those are the same blue steel DPNs that helped jumpstart my knitting journey so many years ago. (No, it's not the same gray yarn.)

PPS: For those who are interested, the Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots pattern is now available. Click the link to purchase the pattern and view the Ravelry description. (Remember, you don't have to be a Ravelry member to buy patterns.)


  1. What a beautiful story... I also remember how my Granny taught me to crochet when I was 9 and how many years later this knowledge turned into so many wonderful things!

  2. that is a wonderful story. <3

  3. Trank you for sharing :-) I remember my first knitting teacher very clearly and fondly to. I was six years old and we made our own wooden needles and were allowed to choose from the most beautiful vibrant coloured yarns. I was in awe how my teach always kept her cool - even with all stitches dropping off the needles. She would just smile and pick them up :-) Now my four year old daughter keeps on asking about a first knitting session. You inspired me to just give it a try and let her do it!

  4. Aww what a sweet story— thank you for sharing! :) My grandmother taught me to knit when I was about seven or eight. I spent many, many years not knitting, but it came back like riding a book somehow many years later!

  5. What a great memory. It actually makes me want to give knitting a try again!


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