Friday, August 3, 2012

Knitting is More Than the Knit Stitch

While visiting with a customer the other day, I heard a story about how quickly her grandchild learned to knit.  The little 6-year-old conquered the knit stitch, sat comfortably showing her grandpa how to knit, and exclaimed that knitting was easy!

I love these stories ....but I also cringe at these stories.
On one hand, we want to promote the "easy factor" in order to open the door for new knitters.

On the other hand, I tire of the disdain one hears from non-knitters who think that what we do is easy or talentless.  Ageism and anti-feminism ooze from comments such as ``my grandmother knits`` or `that`s woman`s work.``

Let`s remember that learning the knit stitch is entirely different from learning to knit.  To me, working the knit stitch is like learning how to print the letter "a".  When you can purl, you've learned the letter "b".  When you have a few ``alphabet letters`` under your belt, then you can read easy picture books.

The real fun begins when you take those two simple letters and learn an entire alphabet of variations - decreases, increases, cables, yarn overs, twisted stitches, colourwork patterns, short rows, seams, buttonholes, braids ...and variations on all of these, and more.  You learn to read patterns, decipher charts, and choose tools and fibres wisely for each project.  You learn about fit and design and color. 

You realize that the possible combinations of yarn and techniques are infinite.  As your understanding develops and your arsenal of techniques grows, shelves and shelves of great stories can be written with yarn and needles.

If there are skills that you have yet to discover, classes can open your eyes to ``novel`` ideas.  They can give you a chance to try a new technique under a watchful eye, help solve a mystery that has plagued you, or come up with a happy ending for the ``story`` on your needles. 

To me, knitting is much more than the knit stitch.  Knitting is a joy ...and a never ending journey of discovery.


  1. So true, but I really love that we can do such amazing things with just the knit stitch, the purl stitch, and yarn overs. I dare someone to find an alphabet with such few characters that can be made to form so many words into so many stories.

    I kind of like the "simple story" it calms me when I look at something spectacular and think "I could never knit that" ... it goes along with your "one bite at a time" post. One knit/purl/yo/dec/inc/etc/lol at a time ;) I'm going to tell myself when I finally try that shawl again!

  2. How very true, and what a wonderful way to put it. Of course some of the simplest stories are the sweetest.
    Not everyone feels the drive to write a 'great American novel'. But oh how amazing those masterpieces can be!