Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Knitter's Thanksgiving

Although I try to remember to thank people and the universe at the time that good things come my way, there are a few special days in the year that I make a point of sitting down and listing the many good things in my life that I am grateful for - my birthday, our anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. So when thinking about this blog entry, I realized that I would like to list the knitterly things that I am grateful for this year...

1. Kiwi Knitting Co. & Lynn Davis: Well, this one is a given! Lynn and her shop came along at a time in my life where I really, really needed a knitting shop to go for work and fun to that had a pleasant and welcoming atmosphere. Over the last 3 and a half years my association with Lynn and Kiwi has afforded me wonderful opportunities for learning, for teaching and for growth - both personal and professional. And I will always be grateful to Lynn for letting me work on this blog for the shop!

2. My students: I have the great good fortune of being able to meet wonderful people through my work. In addition to the occasional classes I teach at Kiwi, I also teach private lessons, and run the Friday morning Knit Doctor sessions at Kiwi. And I have to tell you this - what lovely people you all are! You are intelligent, humorous, eager to learn, and as infected by knitting as I am. It is such a deep pleasure to teach something you love to people who really, really appreciate what you have to share. To me, that 'Aha!' moment, that light bulb moment when it all suddenly clicks for a student, is what makes my teaching world go round. There is amazing camaraderie that develops between a group of knitters in a class that takes place over the several weeks it takes to complete a project. There is something cathartic to the soul about knitting, and I find that students in the classes not only open up their minds, but also their hearts, and bonds of friendship are formed between students and with me that you would never think about when pondering whether to take a group knitting class. My private lesson students and I get to know each other over the weeks that we work together, and I have the chance to tailor my teaching to an individual knitter's needs. Again, I have made wonderful friends this way, and I am grateful to have you in my life. The Knit Doctor regulars... what can I say to you women that you don't already know? I look forward each week to seeing each and every one of you. I love seeing new faces join us, as well. I love how everyone hangs out even after their own questions are answered, knowing that they can learn from other people's questions as well.

3. Old Pueblo Knitters Guild: I've been a member of Tucson's knitting guild for about five years. The guild, I find, is stuffed full of women of all ages and of all skill levels who simply share a great love of all things knitting. OPK sponsors several guild projects and charities, such as Project Linus, Operation Gratitude, Precious Pals, and the Navajo Sweater project. A number of our members are also involved in the community, teaching knitting to children in local schools and libraries. I find our monthly meetings - the 3rd Thursday of every month from 9:30 til 11:30 at the Murphy Room at St. Philip's in the Foothills Church - to be a wealth of information about knitting and what is going on in the Tucson knitting community. I've made good friends through the guild, and through their guest workshops I have attended classes taught by incredible teachers and learned an amazing wealth of techniques that have contributed towards making me a better knitter.

4. The person - probably named Kitchener - who discovered how to graft sock toes. Dang, you have made my life infinitely simpler and happier! And I thank you anew each and every time I finish off a sock with that seamless toe. You even convinced me, a year or so back, to use a provisional cast-on a center back seam so that I could Kitchener it invisibly together,when finished, instead of having a seam running down my back as the designer dictated. If I seemed not so grateful one-hundred-and-something black yarn stitches later, then I hope you understand that I do thank you each time I wear that vest and lean against a chair back.

5. Whoever invented crochet: And I suspect that your name is not Crochet. I may not be as devoted a follower of your craft as I was in my younger days of nimbler wrists, but you are the first one I turn to when I need an edge trim on any project. Without you I would be far less adept at fixing my dropped stitches. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Every knitter should know how to crochet! Whole new worlds of creative possibilities will open up before you.

6. And speaking of edges - Nicky Epstein: Your 'Over the Edge' books are a treasure, and every knitter or crocheter should have them in his or her library. If you want to personalize your projects with a different take on ribbing, or by adding ruffles, or by adding a unique fringe, or with a picot edge - you name it, Nicky can show you how to do it with knitting needles. Nicky Epstein is turning out to be American Knitting's answer to Debbie Bliss in that she churns out so many knitting books so often that you begin to suspect she never sleeps. But each of her books is of great value to knitters who want to explore what they can do with their craft. 'Knitted Embellishments' will always be one of my favorites, as is 'Knitting Never Felt Better'. Both are must haves!

7. Ravelry: This is an incredible source of info mixed with fun for knitters and crocheters alike. If I see a new pattern and I want to see it made up by a whole host of life-size crafters around the world in every possible permutation, I can see those pictures in Ravelry. If a pattern calls for a yarn that I'm not familiar with, I can look it up in Ravelry. If I want knitting or crochet information or to improve a certain set of skills, I can find it through a forum on Ravelry. This is what the world wide web can mean for needleworkers.

8. You Tube: Anytime I hear about a new technique, I look to You Tube as a source for videos that will show me what I want to know. There are millions of knitters world-wide who just want to share what they know with others. Want to learn a new cast-on? Go to You Tube. Want to learn about decreases from Cat Bordhi herself? Go to You Tube. Like Ravelry and Google, it is the connected crafter's knowledge resource.

9. Addi Lace Needles: Although Addi Turbos have long been thought to be the cat's meow of needles among knitters, I was never wild about their cold feeling or blunt point. Then came the Addi Lace needles and I am a fervent convert. The warm brass needles are invisibly joined to a very flexible cord, and the needle tip as sharp enough to allow you to work K3tog tbl without batting an eyelash. I LOVE these needles, and they are my go-to needles for every project. I am gradually building myself a stash of 2 pairs each of every size. As I told someone once, these are my work tools. It's worth the effort to get the best. But what the heck, it's no effort at all! Lynn carries them at Kiwi in every size and every length. I know that as a new knitter starting a project, you are probably hesitant to buy a more costly needle when there are several less expensive choices open to you. Take it from me, all those needles I bought when I first learned to knit are long since sold on ebay, and I hoard these Addi Lace beauties instead. I would have saved a fortune had they been available when I took up knitting again - and had I been as wise then as I am now.

10. Knitting: Knitting saved my sanity, and it continues to do so each and every day. When I first developed adult onset asthma, I had to give up my career of 24 years and close our shop. I spent four long months gasping on the couch before we found the combination of asthma medications that made something approaching normal life possible for me again. In that time, when I was experiencing the worst symptoms, knitting got me through. I would be too distracted to read, often finding myself re-reading a sentence or paragraph over and over again without absorbing a thing. Reading is my first great love, so this was alarming to say the least. But knitting was something I could do during those difficult attacks that was relaxing, soothing, and allowed my brain to wander as much as it wanted while I still could knit and knit and knit.

Since that day knitting has bought me a new career, allowed me to earn money from writing about knitting, allowed me to meet a world of wonderful people, allowed me an outlet for expressing creativity that seems to be endless. It has brought me great joy and some danged nice knitted items. If I am able to share with you at least some fraction of the joy and creativity that I am able to derive from this craft, then I have had a blessed day.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all!

PS- The next two videos in the cast-on series are not forgotten! Somewhere in there we made a very sudden decision to move house, and I am just this week able to see large expanses of carpeting and table tops in our new home. Videos are now possible without cardboard boxes lurking in the background. And I now know where the camera and tri-pod are. Life is good.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Lovely post, Lynda. We're all (of the Friday regulars) so appreciative of you, too. I'm anxiously awaiting next week so I can show you the long-anticipated, sloggy but finally COMPLETED Husband Sweater. Couldn't have done it without you, especially those picked up bits around the neck. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.