by GRACE LEBER - October 2019
From chunky blankets and delicate doilies to colorful sweaters, the possibilities of knitting are endless. Knitting, by definition, is using two needles to create loops with working yarn (people often mix this up with crochet, which involves creating knots with one needle). Though there are only two types of stitches used, you can also learn how to incorporate multiple colors, bobbles, cables and lacey elements into your knitting, all of which create beautiful end products.
Knitting is one of my favorite things to do, and I have learned a wide variety of skills and realized the gifts that come from this centuries-old craft. While I am not the most skilled knitter (in fact, I do the most simple of projects), I love the process, and I love having the ability to create. Here are some “Life Lessons” I have learned from my hobby:
Lesson #1: (Greater) Patience
Knitting consists of following instructions, differentiating between different types of stitches, counting endlessly, and undoing and redoing, over and over. Many people who try to learn knitting quit easily because there is so much to keep track of (yes, this has happened to me!). While learning to knit requires much patience, you grow in patience as you become a more experienced knitter. In other words, knitting is like exercise: it stretches your patience, which makes the outcome better in the long run.
Lesson #2: Appreciation
By attempting to create beautiful fabrics of your own, mistakes and failures make you appreciate things made by experienced knitters. When you are first learning and you see a beautiful piece, you may feel discouraged, but as you persevere in improving, you will value your own work ethic and that of others.
Lesson #3: Charity
Knitted things make the best gifts! By creating something that takes time, you show your loved ones how much effort you took in trying to make them happy. Additionally, many communities form knitting groups to donate to charity. They provide good opportunities for helping others in positive social environments.
Lesson #4 Peace
Once you are comfortable with the most basic stitch, making projects completely in that stitch is easy. The motions are simple, consistent and addictive; this gets you in a natural rhythm allowing you to daydream. The best part is that you can be productive while relaxing!
Lesson #5: Dare to improve
Once you master the two basic stitches, it’s good to break away from your comfort zone. Although you may have trouble at first, with perseverance you will improve. It is such an amazing feeling to accomplish something difficult!
Lesson #6: You need to have passion if you are to succeed
To excel at anything, you need to have a motivating drive. Knitting is no different.
I have a huge love for historical and vintage hairstyles, fashions and, of course, needlework (needlework refers to any craft done with at least one needle). I feel motivated by looking at needlework on the Internet or while reading Piecework, a magazine with historical needlework stories and patterns. For knitting, having an inspiration for the projects I want to create really gives me reasons to improve my knitting.
Lesson #7: Teach others (anyone can do it!)
This is one of the biggest reasons why I love to knit. Sharing your knowledge with others is a great gift!
Right now I am teaching my younger sister, and watching her learn has given me a lot of joy because she works so hard at it. She improves with every knitting sample she makes, which is super exciting.
Any person, of any identity and any learning ability, can learn how to knit. Even though learning to knit can be difficult, any person who wants to learn has the capability to do so. If you would like to learn how to knit, I would suggest asking someone you know to teach you or following along with instructional videos. Starter kits at craft stores contain materials and instructions to begin.
Even though I have described these lessons in the context of knitting, they can also be applied to any other skill, hobby, or work. However, one thing about knitting sets it apart: you can create the most beautiful, personalized art out of the simplest materials and use that to bring joy into any person’s life.