Saturday, August 2, 2014

Knitting influences

I bought this book a couple weeks ago and I've been enjoying reading it.  It's a collection of knitters who tell a little story of how they started knitting and who specifically inspired them in their creativity.  They also share a pattern that is inspired by that person.  I've enjoyed it for a number of reasons.  In the introduction is this paragraph that really rings true for me, in more avenues than just knitting:

"Throughout our knitting world, there lurks the refrain 'it's not your grandmother's knitting,' meant to imply that our grandmothers were unsophisticated knitters, had outmoded ideas, lacked style, or were otherwise dowdy or uncool.  This sentiment deprives us from really seeing knitting through our grandmothers' eyes and understanding what they loved about it.  It discounts our grandparents' skill - in many cases developed over an entire lifetime - and also their style, individuality, and grace.  I hope this book will convince you - or just remind you - that the knitting we do is our grandmothers' knitting.  Not only are the knits, purls, cables, and eyelets the same stitches our grandmothers made, but also the unique 'knitters hand' that comes through in each of our works is influenced in some part by the people we grew up with."

I love that.  I love thinking of someone learning to knit from their grandmother and then passing it along to their own children or grandchildren.  There's something cozy to me about that.

Naturally, I've been thinking about why I learned to knit and wondering who inspired me.  I didn't grow up watching anyone knit or crochet.  Quilt and sew, yes!  That is a no-brainer - my Mom - so it's kind of in my blood.  There was no way I wasn't going to sew, make dolls, and eventually quilt.  But knit?  It's more vague.  This is going to sound so silly, but! there was a book I read when I was quite younger, a young adult romance even, where the main character's best friend knitted.  I don't even remember the name of the book or the character's names or anything else except that the knitting she did made an impression.  In one part of the book she knitted up a sweater for her friend in a ridiculous amount of time, like one day or something?  I remember thinking at the time how cool that was.  Now that I do knit I know it's unrealistic.

Around the time I did actually learn to knit it was all over the trash mags and stuff that Julia Roberts would knit on movie sets.  And I remember thinking that it must be something that people actually do.  That was like 1998-9 time frame.  While Scott was in Korea I thought I'd learn how to crochet first.  I figured that one hook would be easier to manage than two needles.  I bought a book and set to it.  I didn't get it.  I kind of got it but it was hard to pick out what I was supposed to be stitching into.  After he got back from Korea I bought a book, "I can't believe I'm Knitting" and that made sense!  The stitches all contained and easy to see on the needle.  I can't really pinpoint when I started knitting for reals, like had to have a project going in addition to sewing.  I'm so glad I stuck with it though!  I'm so grateful to those who came before me and figured out the stitches and wrote books and patterns and shared their knowledge!

What about you?  When did you first start knitting and who inspired you?

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