I’ve been spending time lately with people ruminating on why they knit – or why they might. ‘You seem to treat it as an art’, observed one male who was wondering if he might take it up.
Having been knitting for a few years now it made me think it was time to take stock. Am I where I wanted to be when I took up knitting?
Learning to knit was a matter of some consideration for me. I was at a point where I was anxious to learn something new, but what?
One think I knew for sure was that I didn’t want to learn something for which I had any aptitude….and knitting certainly fitted the bill in that respect. I’m hopeless with my hands, hate maths and arithmetic, am non-creative. Oh, and I have a Calabrian temper. Knitting here I come.
I wanted something that would be good for my brain. I liked the idea of having several projects on the go – and being able to swap from one to the other to the other during a session. Maybe that would be ergonomically advantageous as well as being a challenge.
And it wasn’t going to be enough just to learn, my idea was to become super-good. If I had a model in this aim it was Melbourne knitter Rachelle King of Studio Knits, whom I could happily rate as the best knitter in the whole world ever. There are a few of her designs on her site, but mostly her designs are one-offs made for her customers. They are exquisite. If I could get to be half as good as Rachelle that would be something!
There were other considerations of course. When I moved to Melbourne in the mid-nineties I’d never lived anywhere cold before. I found someone to knit some jumpers for me. Alas the mid-nineties in Australia were not exactly a boom time for the industry. Yarn selection was limited, patterns were dreary. It didn’t take long before I lost interest in that idea. It wasn’t my knitter’s fault.
Ten years or so later, knitting went through one of those revivals that occur from time to time. There was one in the sixties, one in the eights, so the new millennium was just the moment for another. However, whereas previous revivals had been short-lived, this one is set in the new world of the internet. Because the internet unites individuals into groups, even when the more fickle take to something else, there will still be a critical mass of knitters. A critical mass of demand for yarn and patterns. I guess over the next few years lots of shops and small businesses will close down, but even then the loyal knitter will still have a wonderful array of choice. That’s my expectation.
I think it was discovering a yarn shop nearby which first got me thinking. Woolbaa offered an interesting range of good quality yarns, including Rowan, Noro and the wonderful Jo Sharp lines with pattern books to match. That made me look at the internet as well. Wow! How exciting was this!
So, coming into play was the practical consideration of wanting handknitted jumpers – hmmm. I could knit them myself. I could buy the most sumptuous yarns and make jumpers I would never dream of buying – I could make a cashmere jumper which might cost a couple of thousand in a shop. Never would I knit with mean nasty yarn, not if I could possibly afford to knit with something which would be a pleasure for every stitch, every inch.
Yes, I think I’m pretty much where I hoped to be. I’ve still got a long way to go before I’m a good knitter, but if I were already one of those I think I would have made the wrong choice of what to learn. I wanted something that would be a life-long learning experience and I think knitting has been the perfect choice.