Knit Happiness



I've known how to knit since I was a child.  Even though my mother knew how to knit, I was self taught because I became easily frustrated and nasty when she tried to help me.  I would grab her McCall's book of America's Favorite Needlework and Crafts, some knitting needles (size 8) and dive deeply into her scrap stash for some pretty yarn.  I would pour over the photos and read the directions and teach myself while under the age of 10.  Oh the frustration and the thinking involved.

I dabbled in knitting off and on throughout my tween and teen years.  At university, I attempted big projects like sweaters without doing gauge, even then I was an anti gauge knitter.  I loved walking into the craft section in a department store, back in the day when a department store had a yarn section.  I browsed endless Red Heart pattern leaflets to decide what to knit.  There is nothing like walking home with your intended project and casting on.  Later the disappointment would set in that the sweater I was knitting would be way way way too big.

When I was first married and my husband was finishing up his Phd, I'd be bored at night after a full day of work while he was working on his dissertation.  I dabbled in cross stitch, then a bit of quilting classes, only to return to KNITTING.

Again, I entered a yarn store (my first lys?) and selected some yarn, a pattern leaflet (Lopi!) and some needles.  I set out to knit a sweater for my husband.  This time I did gauge, this time the sweater did fit with the sleeves a tad too long.  Success!

I've knitted almost every day since then and this wonderful past time has brought me much happiness.  I've knit through anxiety, mini worries and through my mother's illness and death.  Whenever I look at an old sweater in a photo I've made, I can recall where I bought the yarn and what I was thinking about when I knitted the project.  Baby cardigans while I was expecting, in greens and yellows and daring purples.  I wondered if I'd have a boy or a girl.  My first pair of socks which were ginormous (didn't do gauge...) and yet I remember the hopefulness of finding a new home and leaving a country rental as I mastered double pointed needles.  The first wool yoke sweater knowing I didn't like wool and yet finding out merino was lovely to knit with and I DID like wool- a lot!  Dabbling in mixed fibers, saving my money to go wild in a yarn store with my sister.  I've knitted for the kids, for family, and friends.  Scarves, shawls, mittens, blankets, sweaters, socks-lots and lots of socks, hats and cowls.

 Project after project, building my knitting skills, my level of proficiency and my knitting success all lead to a contentment of sheer happiness. If you don't knit, you should, really, trust me, I'm right.  If you do knit, please reflect on how much this craft brings you joy :)

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Hey!  I thought you'd like to know about a few posts I read while toodling around the web:

-The stitching pixie is hosting a sweet giveaway over here and a free cowl pattern!

-Have you seen Corrine's Bunny?  Completely adorable!

-Kim is having a lovely giveaway on her blog, please check it out.

I hope you have a lovely weekend :)

Comments

  1. What a lovely, heartfelt post you've written! Knitting is an integral part of my life, even if my number of finished objects doesn't always show that. Like you, I've knit through happy and sad times, and it's always provided comfort and security in my hands and a tangible way to show my love and caring. I can't imagine my life without knitting. Happy weekend and happy knitting to you, Karen!

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    1. "comfort and security in my hands and a tangible way to show my love and caring" well said :) I cannot imagine my life without knitting either!

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  2. I also taught myself to knit, before it was "the thing" it is today, I taught myself from decades-old books from the library. Oh the frustration! I didn't know any knitters to help me. But, from all that work came my craft, my creative outlet. So worth it!

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    1. glad to know I'm not the only one self taught :) It is a fabulous creative outlet!

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  3. Learning to knit has been one of the greatest joys of my life and the best part? Meeting wonderful souls like you!
    Have a great weekend my dear friend.

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    1. oh I'm so glad I've met you on line and IN REAL LIFE :)

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  4. What a lovely post, from the heart. Whilst I am not a knitter on a big scale, I am one for crochet. Much the same as you, have made countless items throughout my married life, for my children and grandchildren and of course the home. Where would be without YARN!!!!!!

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    1. You are right, where would we be without yarn??? And the yarn now is so much nicer than back then.

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  5. Such a wonderful post, and it expresses what I think so many of us who are knitters feel about our craft. It gets us through so much in life - the ups and the downs. And we seem to stick with it even when it doesn't turn out quite the way we had planned. :-)

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    1. I love that most about knitting, the ups and downs!

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  6. You've inspired me yet again (you're always doing that). I think I'll just go buy some knitting needles. Do you have a first pattern suggestion?

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    1. do it!! Are you on ravelry?? I would start with just casting on 30-45 stitches and knitting every row (garter stitch) to get used to the feeling of needles and stitches. Then try the purl stitch. a simple scarf or cowl would be the best!

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  7. that's really nice!!! I am not only anti-gauge but anti-pattern for the most part. Funny, I am OK with quilting by pattern, but knitting, well... another story!!! My Oma knit since before she was 10 and actually was kept from completing school (this is about 100 years ago) so she could knit socks for the family! She would stay up late with a candle (or early flashlight?) and make doilies for her new home with her soon to be husband, as she had no time to make them during the normal hours. She was determined! I miss her. My Aunts all say she would be proud of me for knitting even though it is not patterns for the most part! :)

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    1. I loved your Oma story! I have a friend that never uses a pattern and I'm amazed at what she creates!!

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  8. I loved your knit story! My goodness the yarn has called you all your life!
    I was enchanted by handknit sweaters since my 20s. I knit a bit. Tried to teach myself pattern reading and failed miserably.
    I finally took a class and that changed everything.
    I was busy with little ones and stopped for a bit. Then after 9/11 I found myself anxious and unable to sleep. My wise neighbor suggested I take out my needles. I can still remember the little basket weave stitch in red next to my bedside.
    I"ve been blogging and knititng almost non stop since 2004. Knit blog pals are the BEST.
    I hope to be knitting into my 100th year. I have a great grandfather that died at 104 with knitting needles in hand.

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    1. I can only imagine the anxiety after 9/11! Knitting instantly calms me down but I might still worry after that catastrophic event. Glad you been blogging forever!!!

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  9. Loved your post so much!! I began knitting about 10 years ago (I think) when I could no longer see the tiny holes on my cross-stitch fabric!! I had to have a creative outlet. I've since gotten glasses that help me see the holes and can stitch again, but I don't... I knit and knit and knit! It has saved my sanity so many times, and brought me closer to my sister - even though she is 500 miles away).

    Linda in VA

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    1. my sister and I talk about knitting and go to yarn stores together when we visit each other, a lovely sister tradition!!

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  10. A lovely post Karen. You are very inspiring, your love for your craft shines through here but not in a boastful look at me way, just in it makes me happy and it can you too. That yarn you are knitting with is so fine and that lace pattern, mine would not look as good as yours but I love looking at others who have knit lace and admiring their skill.

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  11. The blogger's pixie is styled cute. I love the plush bunny. This was a lovely post. I had fun reading about your journey into knitting.

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  12. Karen, first of all, I love the new set of pictures in your header! You are inspiring me to update my own blog!

    I have always loved the idea of being a knitter. I've done some afghans and scarves, but when I tackled my first sweater I put it down for a while and now have no idea where I was in the pattern. It sits, abandoned but not forgotten in a knitting bag in the family room. Someday, maybe, I will unravel it and try again. : ) For now I am revisiting my love of embroidery. It is MUCH easier to put it down and pick it up!

    This was a lovely, thoughtful post, Karen! xx

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    1. next time you put down your knitting, leave a detailed note!! Or learn how to read your knitting, that takes time but I can look at something and figure out where I was in the pattern (usually....) If you lived down the road, I would read your knitting for you :)

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  13. I learned how to knit in 7th grade in home economics class. We had to take measurements, get gauge and knit a sweater for ourselves. To this day I remember the teacher adjusting my measurements only to then make me redo the arms because it was "saggy". The yarn was mohair, I had to almost cut it back since it kind of "felted" and I was extremely frustrated. Swore I'd never knit another thing - we all know how that turned out. ;-)

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    1. in my home ec, I learned how to cook things I've never cooked since. Candy?? like sugar candy, who makes that at home? Loved your story!

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  14. Oh Karen, what a lovely post. You are a beautiful and talented knitter, and it was lovely to read how much it means to you. I learned to knit as a child too, and dabbled in it during my teen years before completely leaving it behind until about 6 years ago. It feels good to be knitting again after all those years away from it.

    Have a wonderful weekend.

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    1. PS Thanks for the shout out!

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    2. I'm glad you are back to knitting and you are welcome for the shout out :)

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  15. I taught myself to knit also, because everyone who tried to teach me was right-handed and I am left-handed. Surprisingly, I actually knit (and crochet for that matter) right-handed. That yarn that you are working with is so pretty.

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    1. I didn't know you are left handed.. I think my yarn is madtosh prairie...winter wheat colorway.

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  16. Oh what a wonderful knitting journey! I'm also self taught and it was very frustrating at the beginning! It's nice that you have so many memories with each project you knit.

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    1. yay another self taught!! You have beautiful knitting skills :)

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  17. I can see myself in every word you said. I'm also self taught through youtube, even though my mum and grandma are vicious knitters. I was never interested in knitting until I met my F who was working nights at that time. I saw a video and thought "yeah,I can do this". Knitting has been my therapy ever since. Last year I had a neck injury and couldn't knit for months. All my problems ate me alive. When I picked up my needles again I saw my way out. Our knits carry our memories. Every stitch has its story. We knitters know....

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    1. and yet another self taught! Youtube wasn't invented yet when I learned, neither was the internet!!

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  18. When I knit I am focused and that's all I want to do. Then my hands hurt for days. If I lay it down for a bit I tend to forget where I was!! I do hope that in my retirement years I will pick up the needles again. I do enjoy it.

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    1. try changing to wooden needles OR knitting with 100% wool (or both) that would help with the hand pain I think. I do hope you get to knit while on your way to retirement :)

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  19. Great post! I can't even remember how I learned to knit. I remember asking my mom to teach me & making a horrible, tangled mess of it. My next knitting memory is of a sweater for my much older sister's first child. I used Red Heart & too small needles which made the sweater stiff as a board. I continued knitting though & knit my way through several months of being in traction due to a back injury. The knitting continued & at one point, I found my self sitting in the ER waiting to hear about my mom (she'd stopped breathing) without my knitting bag. To keep from going insane during the wait, I knit with hospital toilet paper & 2 Bic pens. (I still can't believe they didn't admit me to the psych ward, LOL) Knitting has been such a huge part of my life, during both the good times & bad. It's so much fun to look back at the things I've knit & stroll down memory lane, even when the memories make my heart ache just a little. In the words of Elizabeth Zimmerman, Knit on...

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    1. wow! that story about the ER and finding a way to knit, that's quite creative and resourceful and not crazy at all. At least not crazy for us knitters.

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  20. So interesting to see how knitting has been in your life for a long time. For me it was quite different. I learnt at school, both my mother and my grandmother were good knitters when I was a child but I was never interested. Then nothing for more than 30 years until I picked up the needles again and since then I knit most days and have learnt so much.

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    1. how cool you knew hot to knit and returned to it after a period of time!

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  21. I loved reading about your knitting journey, Karen. I also love knowing how much pleasure it gives you and how it has helped you through some tough times. A beautiful post, thank you. Have a great weekend xx

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  22. I love your post Karen! When I was about eight, my Mom taught me to crochet and became quite the afghan crocheter. When I was in high school, my Mom taught me how to knit. I didn't really do too much with it until I got married. For the last 21 years I've been a very avid knitter and even though I take breaks from knitting to pursue other adventures, I always come back to my knitting. Knitting is my solace, my peace and my therapy.

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    1. "my peace and my therapy" great words and I agree wholeheartedly!!

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  23. Fun post, Karen! I, too, have been knitting a long time; my mom would stick me in bed with knitting needles when I had tonsillitis. And then in third grade we knit squares for the Red Cross. I guess someone then sewed them into blankets or something. Anyhow, with the advent of grandkids and a move out of San Diego where we didn't need much knitted wear, I've been knitting a lot and also teaching the skill to moms in the Antepartum unit at the UW hospital. Now I just need to use up the stash which is huge!

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  24. Thank you so much for the shout out, very much appreciated :-). Completely agree with 'if you don't knit, you should!' Completely addictive and therapeutic too!

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