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Monday, July 6, 2009


Most people who have spent a lot of time with me have heard me say, at one time or another, that I don’t believe in coincidences. Those same people (and imagine a lot of you reading my blog fall in that category) have also heard me point to knitting as an example of why I hold that belief. I’ve been thinking about knitting a lot recently, because I’m in the process of designing my own shawl pattern. And since it’s been a long time since my last post, I thought I’d write one about knitting.

Knitting is, at its heart, a very simple thing. Two sticks and some yarn are all you need. You make little loops with the yarn, and wrap them around your sticks. Do this enough times and you have…well, something at any rate. Knitting really consists of only two kinds of stitches, a knit stitch, and a purl stitch (a backwards knit stitch). But those two stitches can be combined in a seemingly infinite number of ways, and produce everything from a simple garter stitch scarf, to a complex lace shawl. (If you want to learn how to knit, click here.)

My grandma taught me to knit in second grade. I worked hard at for a few days, and then on and off for a few months. I had tiny little needles, and made my stitches way too tight to work with easily, and after a few months progress succeeded in producing…something.

This to be exact:

While I tried to pretend I had made something useful (it’s a scarf with an extra bit to cover your nose!) I was very disheartened. I lost interest in knitting and never really gave it a second thought…until I got to college that is.

It was late in the Fall semester, nearly time for Christmas Break, when I met Jessica. It had been an okay semester. I was enjoying the independence of college life (sans car, which did make things a bit difficult), and had enough challenging classes to keep me happily occupied. But the one thing I had really been hoping to find in college, I still hadn’t. And that was friendship.

But the cooler Autumn days were an invitation to spend time outside, and I went out to the courtyard of my dormitory to do work, when I saw two girls sitting outside, knitting.

Knitting! I used to knit. Not sure what I was doing, I walked over and introduced myself. Their names were Jessica and Carrie, and they were roommates. I told them about how used to know how to knit, and as I watched them, watched the calming, repetitive pattern of wrapping yarn around the needles and sliding off the stitches off the needles, my fingers began to itch. I realized that somehow my hands hadn’t forgotten how to knit, and that they wanted to try it again.

I mentioned that I would like to learn to knit again, and Jessica offered to drive me to Wal-mart to buy some needles and yarn, and I took her up on it.

Through Jessica, I also met Joanne, who was also learning to knit. I actually knew Joanne from class, but it wasn’t until we met outside the classroom that we grew to be friends. By the end of my Freshman year, the three of us met regularly once a week to knit, watch movies, and talk about books and life. It wasn’t a formal group or club, just three friends, who had been brought together, initially, through knitting.

I had given up on knitting back in second grade, but knitting never gave up on me. Instead, it was that simple offer of my grandma’s, to teach me to knit, that led to me meeting the best friends I have ever had. My favourite knitting abbreviation, and the title of this post, is k2tog. It means knit 2 stitches together. When you do that, you join the stitches so that two individual stitches become one. That’s what knitting has been for me. It has taken all the individual stitches of my life and knit them together into one piece of work-me.

As for my first piece of knitting, I still keep it as a reminder that things don’t always turn out the way you would like them to, and often you come across unexpected bumps. But that doesn’t mean you should give up. Keep going, and you just might end up with something beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Hooray Emma. I've been slacking on reading your blog, but this is a pretty fantastic story if I do say so myself. I'm glad I got to be a character in it. :)

Emma said...

There wouldn't be a story without you :)