The Connection of Knitting

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 22, 2015 5 Comments

For the last few weeks, I’ve been working on refreshing some classes, including redoing handouts, rethinking outlines, and the like. As I’ve tinkered, I’ve thought a lot about wanting to transmit to my students the joy of knitting and how much I value the connection it gives me to other people.

Thinking about what that means to me, I went back into the timeline of my life of knitting and crochet and identified memories and moments that reminded me of the ways knitting has helped me feel closer to someone.

At some point, I discovered a dress my grandmother knitted for either me or my sister. I was born in 1966 and my sis in ’68, so it would have been made around then. It was a beautiful lace-knit pattern made in a pretty green color.  I wore it and my daughter wore it, but unfortunately, it’s lost now, so my granddaughter doesn’t have it, but I have plans to make something similar for the next generation. Anyway, I remember being fascinated by the fabric and the interplay of the holes and stitches. I studied it with a magnifying glass and I couldn’t have been more than about 11 or 12. It mattered to me that my grandmother, who was a quirky soul and difficult to get close to, made this thing that I had worn. I felt a connection to her.

I remember figuring out on my own how cables worked, then how bobbles and other texture work. In this photo, taken during my senior year of high school, I was with some friends by a local lake and working on something in what looks like trinity stitch. By then I’d found some books at the library to help me with stitch patterns. I liked having something to do at all times, and knitting and photography were already chief ways that I was able to create connections with other people. I enjoyed telling people about my knitting, and appreciated that if I had it with me, people would ask about it and talk to me (and even turn the camera on me).

At a party with friends, even as an introvert, knitting helped Kellie make connections.

Me as a young knitter. You can see I was an old soul even then, with my glasses on a leash and knitting while at a gathering of friends at a lake.

I remember making a sweater for my sister while I was in college. We weren’t particularly close, but I wanted connection, and she wore that  sweater I made for years, and in fact, has handed it down to her daughter. It’s been fun to see Sophie wearing it a few times. It touches me that my sister felt something about that sweater, enough to keep it for all these years and hand it down.

More recently, I’ve knitted for family, friends and strangers. I do it when there is a need or request, or if I want the chance to celebrate or deepen a relationship. I love sending knitted things, filled with the imprints of my fingers and many hours of thinking about that person, to people far away from me. I’ve also knitted for charity and have loved knowing that a child might have had a more comfortable day or night because of something I’ve made.

When you think about knitting connecting you with the wider world, what comes to mind? Do you knit for others? For charity? Has knitting opened any doors of friendship or communication for  you?

I’d sure love to hear your stories. Sometimes it’s not just about the technical stuff, it’s about the reasons why we do this.

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