Saturday, December 8, 2012

8 Lessons Learned: The Knitting Edition

I've been knitting for four years now. Although I tend to pick it up off and on, I do really enjoy it. I'm in favor of people finding hobbies of any kind, but knitting is special to me because it's what I would consider my first (and maybe only) real hobby. Here's what I've learned since I started:

1. You will have to restart every project at least once. Get over it.

Knit Elvis by Aine D, Flickr
2. Buy yarn you like (or that the recipient likes if it's for someone else), regardless of fiber. I briefly tried being a yarn snob (that is, no cheap stuff like acrylic), but that ended when I bought some pricy alpaca yarn only to find out that, yes, even buttery alpaca makes me itch. 

3. There are more knitters out there than you realize. Knitting is an at-home type of hobby, so you don't see it happening, but it's going on all the time behind closed doors. Since I started knitting, I've met a lot of people who also knit--even people I already knew but didn't realize were knitters. 

4. It's not just for old ladies. The thing about old ladies is that they generally have the time to do it and the inclination (gifts for children and grandchildren), but if a younger person also has the time and inclination, then there's no reason not to. In my knitting group, among the regulars, about half are grandmothers.

5. And it's not just for women! Although I like that knitting has a way of bringing women together and is women-dominated, men do it too. And why not? Men need hobbies, and they often like working with their hands. I've heard that some boys learn how to knit when they're young (sometimes in the Boy Scouts--not that I'm supporting Boy Scouts these days, but I'm just sayin'.). I would be thrilled if a man joined my knitting group. 

6. Hand-knitted objects are full of love and care. Yes, store-bought items are way cheaper than the true cost of a handmade item. If I charged someone what a scarf was really worth (materials + minimum wage labor), it would probably be $90 or so. But the point--at least for the knitters I know--is not to put a dollar value on their goods but to create something unique and lovely for themselves or others. What I'm saying is that I've learned the energy and thought that went into hand knitting something really do make a difference. 

7. It's empowering. How good does it feel to know that you have the ability to create something? Anytime I can say, "I can make that myself," I feel pretty good about myself. 

8. It leads to other empowering, fun, crafty things. Reading knitting blogs and getting to know other knitters has turned me on to other kinds of projects. Now I want to learn how to sew, and in general there's more stuff that I want to make with my own two hands. This year I made my Halloween costume--a first for me--and I don't think I would have had the confidence or motivation to do that if I hadn't started knitting.

What lessons have you learned from your hobbies? 


Laura said...

Re-learning to knit was one of my new year's resolutions. Ummm... kind of dropped the ball on that one. There are still 23 days left in 2012, but I think it would take a small miracle. I have a friend who knits adorable sheep and I found a pattern for a goat ( that I love, but that's a bit ambitious for me. I need to start by knitting another scarf and work my way up. It is empowering to say, "This? I made it."

Domestic Kate said...

That goat is great! I love knitted animals, but the ones I see most often are actually crocheted, and I wonder why (I don't know enough about both to figure it out). I've always planned to knit a "monster" with my odds and ends but never get around to it.