Last winter I learned how to knit. It was a big step for someone as consumeristic as me. Why devote hours, weeks or even months to making something by hand, I’d ask, when I can buy something mass-produced and just as lovely in mere seconds?
But recently, something has changed in me. I don’t know whether to blame motherhood or my advancing age, but a desire has been growing in me to have more authentic – and personal – things in my/our life/lives. That means more home cooked and fewer pre-packaged or convenience foods, and at least some clothes or toys that were made by hand.
It’s been a slow process, I must admit. A friend of mine who picked up the needles for the first time around the same time as me has knocked off several pairs of socks, hats, scarves, and a little doll sweater. All I’ve made is a kerchief, a couple of coffee cup cosies (more on those in an upcoming post), and most of a baby blanket.
The baby blanket, however, met an unfortunate demise a couple of nights ago when I mercilessly unravelled it, three-quarters done. I had started it in April – around the time the baby was born. But being more of a wrap for a tiny bundle, I think its most useful period is past. And the edges were wonky, which meant it would require additional edging (crochet, my knitting mentor recommended – so now I need to learn to crochet first).
The baby blanket yarn – a beautiful, steely blue Kid-Silk by Drops Design (75 per cent Mohair Super Kid, 25 per cent Silke) has now been recast to make a cloud-soft scarf. Same pattern, different dimensions. I think I will get two out of the two skeins I have.
When I first had the inspiration to learn to knit I had an ambitious plan of making all my Christmas presents. Hats, scarves, gloves and coffee cup cosies for everyone! I am now coming to terms with the fact that I am NOT Amanda Soule and it may be a good many years before I start knocking off easy projects in one sitting and tackling adult-sized sweaters, or even a truly stunning baby blanket.
In the meantime, though, I’m loving the gentle rhythm of the needles; the yarn over, loop, pull it through, repeat. And I’m really getting into the idea of crafting something beautiful and useful out of little more than a long string and a pair of needles. And let’s not forget the feeling of accomplishment that I now feel while sitting through a movie, needles clacking while the little band of knitting grows below them. It really is a rewarding pastime.
So, while I’m still a fan of store-bought clothes, I’m so glad I’ve honed in on this gentle pastime – one that requires time and patience, but includes something of the maker in the making.
Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier