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?
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.
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.
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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