March 21, 2006

I ♥ Knitting Because...

I like knitting.

I love knitting.

My first attempts at knitting were mortifying though. The first attempt was in the late 1980's. I was visiting my grandmother. My Grandma Barbara is a legend. Well, to me she is. She makes her own bread and maple syrup. She does woodworks. She was a professional seamstress for years. She is interested in atriums, birds (her favorites are cardinals and owls), and baking. She made me homemade games for my birthdays. We aren't very close anymore but for a doctors scribbled note to update how we are doing, but I still remember how she fueled my need to learn to knit and crochet.
Of course, the first time doesn't mean you'll actually learn the first time. The first time is about being all thumbs. Learning to hold the yarn, keeping the right amount of stitches on the needles, etc. It just didn't happen.
Nearly 8 years later I tried yet another futile attempt. My mom's friend Lynn, boy was she interesting! She owned three German Shephards, one aptly named Mister Mister, (the 80's seemed to be good, huh?). She played the piano, she owned a huge piece of land and did gardening/landscaping. She was also going to school to learn how to do stained glass. She also knit. She was also left handed. Let's just stop there. Again "it" didn't happen.
About two years later I was browsing the huge aisles of Michael's. I was scrapbooking by then so I was checking out their stock. I decided to look at the cross stitch pattern books, (I could cross stitch, but jeez, who can't?). I saw some knit/crochet books and decided to take a further gander and found a pattern book full of baby afghans. I decided to take a crack at it, once again. I bought the book, some cheap acrylic yarn and a set of 10 1/2 needles.
I found that there was a LYS not too far from home. I called and asked if they had knitting classes. No, they didn't. But if I wanted to come in to learn, all I had to do was to buy my supplies there. I went there immediately and learned to cast on, knit and purl that very day.
I made my son that blanket. When he brings it out I remember how many false starts I had. How I didn't have the right amount of stitches on my cast on. I remember how I forgot to purl and had to run back to the LYS. (Guess it's a good thing they were patient?) I remember how the puppy we had for a while ate half of my pattern. I remember that I didn't know what bind off meant, so I just put the last row of stitches on a long strand of yarn and knotted it a lot at the end.
Nearly 6 years later and I've made baby blankets for newborns; Sweaters with hoods to keep a baby's head warm; Scarves to fend off the cold California weather, (which is like for a month!); Purses to hold valuables.
Knitting has also been my outlet. In 1999 I was misdiagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. I was on medications, all day every day. I was in and out of the psychiatric hospitals for two years. I dropped out of school. I left my job. Life had no meaning. But for knitting. It sounds a little melodramatic, but it's true. You see, I found the help I needed and haven't been in a hospital in years. The last time was Sept. 3, 2001. I overdosed on sleeping pills and was rushed to the ER. Since then I think about how my bipolar disorder has been both a curse and a blessing in disguise. I am still trying to find ways to function througout the days. Some days are much harder than others. But some days when my creative juices flow knitting is my therapy.
I love to create. I love the look in my friends/family's eyes when they receive a handknit gift. Just seeing the look in Shawn's eyes as I am knitting his first sweater, (I should heed warning about the "boyfriend sweater", I know, but I've already told him, if we break up, I keep the sweater, :: wink wink ::). I love feeling the yarns at the stores and imagining what I can make out of each fiber. Opening a new pattern book gets the wheels in my head going.
Knitting has saved me.

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