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Apr 17, 2016

Why Knit? 10 Simple Reasons

Not long ago a friend and I were talking about our respective creative passions. (She's a talented photographer, and I design, knit and write.)

During the course of the discussion, I found myself describing knitting as the process of using yarn and needles to build an afghan (sweater, scarf, hat, sock, whatever) one pixel at a time ... stitch after stitch, row after row, inch after inch.

The silence was deafening as she mentally worked through the daunting implications. Then she asked: Why do you do it?


That's a very good question, isn't it? It's one many of us wrestle with from time to time.

We knit for many reasons. Some are obvious, others are more complex and esoteric. After much thought, here are 10 simple reasons why yarn and needles are integral to my life:

1. Creative Needs. From color to stitchwork and concept to structure, knitting taps into an elemental creative need. For me, it's infinitely fascinating to see how the smallest changes can produce dramatically different results. You and I could knit the same pattern, but every choice we make transforms that design into something personal and unique.


2. Fidgets. Patience isn't my strong suit. Knitting is the ideal diversion for airplanes, bleacher benches, car rides and  waiting rooms. It occupies my mind and hands, calms me down, passes the time, and helps me feel productive.

3. Fiber. I've been fascinated by fiber and fabrics in all their forms since I was a child. Through the years, I've tackled weaving, natural dying, batiking, sewing, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch, macrame, crochet (sort of) and knitting. From time to time I still do these activities, but knitting is the only one I feel compelled to do every day.

4. Listening. I'm a vocal person and can chat up a storm. Because knitting taps into a different part of my brain, I talk less and listen more intently whether I'm on the phone, having coffee with a friend, or enjoying a family gathering, This is a good thing.


5. Maker Genes. Like most families, we have our fair share of brainiacs and boneheads. We also have a remarkably long line of makers both male and female. From quilting to embroidery and toolmaking to glass blowing, my maker DNA can't be denied.

6. Passion. Yes, we could go out and buy afghans, booties, cowls and hats, but as lovely as they might be, they're mere things. When we craft those same things by hand, they're instantly infused with our affection for the recipient, individual design sensibility, and our passion for fiber and craft.

7. Portable. Part of knitting's appeal is its easy portability. With a little thought and planning it can go almost anywhere, which is why I'm an avid fan of modular designs and try to have at least one portable project on the needles at all times.


8. Relaxation. Like many of you, my work and life schedules are demanding, and at the end of a typical day, I'm lucky if two gray cells are still sparking. Knitting satisfies my need to feel productive, but it also offers the rare opportunity to relax, renew and regenerate at the same time.

9. Results. Much of what we do on a day-to-day basis occurs in an ethereal digital universe. While digital output is "real," it's not tangible. From concept through execution and use, the knitting process is physical, tactile and engaging. Finished items exist in the here and now, have dimension and substance, and are real in a very meaningful way.

10. Sanity. Need I say more?


This list is a decent start, but it barely scratches the surface. So, tell me your tale: Why do you knit (crochet, embroider, sew, quilt, etc.)? Feel free to share, your secrets are safe with me.


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5 comments:

  1. I agree with so many points on your list, and would like to humbly add one of my own: I love the connection it gives me with women (and men) who throughout the last 500 years or so also picked up two (or four or five) needles to create something beautiful and keep their families warm. It taps into my love of history.

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  2. I love to be productive, to have something to do with my hands. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I make something beautiful. I love giving a handmade gift to a family member or friend.
    I also love the knitting community!

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  3. I identify with all these, especially 2 and 4. Knitting keeps me patient when teaching my children to read, especially. Great post!

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  4. I read number 4 out to my boyfriend to reinforce that I AM still listening while knitting or crocheting. He laughed at me but I maintain I listen way better when I'm occupied with yarn.

    I love that with two needles and some string I can make something useful and beautiful, it makes me feel like I'm doing magic!

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  5. So many friends say, "Oh, I don't have the patience for that kind of thing." I tell them I don't have the patience to NOT! LOL

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Love hearing from you! I enjoy each and every comment. If you have questions, share those too, and I'll do my best to respond.
-b

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