Monday, January 19, 2009

Knitting for Good

I just started reading the book Knitting for Good. The basic idea is that knitting (or any type of crafting) can be a form of activism. I don't really consider myself an activist, though I've been called that by others in the past. But its an interesting perspective on knitting and I'm looking forward to seeing where she is going with the idea. The first section addresses how knitting can be beneficial on a personal level, and from there delves into knitting for the community and finally knitting to make a statement about global issues. At the end of each chapter she has some questions for reflection and I thought I'd explore the questions from the first chapter here.

How did you first come to knitting or craft?
I first developed a love for crafting of all types, and the basics of knitting, crochet and other needlework, as a very young child from my mother. I can't remember a time when craft of some sort wasn't a major part of my life. Even during my most chaotic and superficial years (middle school) I was developing a passion for sewing that lasted my through highschool and part of college. 

What paths crossed in your life to bring you to knitting?
Though I learned the basics of knitting early in life, I didn't become a Knitter with a capital K until college. My sophomore year in college (I think) I discovered that a group of students had formed a knitting group. I knew one or two of them somewhat from class and wanted an excuse to spend more time with them. I knew enough of knitting to justify going to club meetings, but quickly learned more and became passionate about it. A year or two later I heard that a LYS had recently opened in town and stopped by to check it out. The owner, discovering that I was a college student, told me that she was looking for help in the shop and to let any of my friends who were seeking a part time job know.  I applied for the job and became even more engrossed in the knitting community and lifestyle. Then when I was about to graduate and realized I had no career (or even job) plans for after graduation, I decided to try making money doing something I loved. And thats how I came to create The Unique Sheep. 

What would the you of ten years ago have thought about your interest in the handmade now?
Ten years ago I was 14 and in 8th grade. At that time I had just had a mid-adolescent crisis and realized that the superficial "friends" who made fun of my homemade clothes and odd hobbies were wrong and had decided to be myself and be more independent. I had started spending a lot of my free time designing and sewing. I think the me of 10 years ago wouldn't be terribly surprised to learn about my current interest in the handmade. 

And then there were some questions regarding other people in my life and their relationships to knitting...

How many people in your family or social circle learned to knit from family?
My mom learned how to knit from a woman on a boat on one of the family's trips from Europe to the US (my mom's step dad was in the army and often stationed in Germany). We think that this explains why we knit continental rather than English like most people in the US. Though my grandmother crochets a bit, I don't think she knows how to knit, or at least never taught my mom. Nor does my other grandmother knit, though she paints beautifully. 

Cassie learned from a "Teach yourself to Knit" book, Alli blames her knitting on early pregnacy hormones (though I'm not sure how she learned). Chris and Elizabeth both learned from me. 

I don't know how many of the other people in my "social circle" learned how to knit. If you have a few minutes to spare, leave me a comment and answer the following questions:

Did you learn to knit from a family member, someone else or a book/internet?

How old were you?

Was it unexpected?


Alli said...

I learned to knit from a lady at Michael's and from a Learn to Knit book. I actually learned the spring that I quit Wake, I had just turned 23. Once I got a job I let it drop and then picked it up again that winter in Blowing Rock. I just HAD to knit. Of course, now I know I was two weeks pregnant, but whatevs! :)

Anna Marie said...

I learned to knit when I was 49! A woman from church made my new niece a baby sweater and I just loved it. She was 89 at the time. I made a big fuss over the sweater and said I wish I could do that and she taught me. I will never forget her first words: There are just two stitches, knit and purl. It's what you do with them to make a project work. I have been knitting for 5 years now and I think I am obsessed!

kangath said...

I learned to knit from a book. I must have been 27 or 28. I think I had always wanted to knit, but it really came to the surface when the mother of one of my violin students started bringing her knitting to her daughter's lessons. I held out until the student quit, then I had to start for myself.

I don't think of myself as a crafter. But I love yarn, the act of knitting, and knitted stuff.