What story does your knitting tell?
Welcome to the Knit Your Story KAL! The inspiration that led to its creation is key, so settle in and join me for a meander through a bit of backstory before we talk details. (Already read the backstory? Here are the rules.)
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
We often pretend like knitting is a hobby, a way to keep our hands busy and pass the time and create pretty, warm things for ourselves and our loved ones. Certainly, it often starts out that way. And this is undoubtedly how strangers and even our friends and family tend to see this thing we’re always doing (and I do mean always!).
But if you've been knitting for any length of time, I bet if you stop to think about it, you'll realize it's more than that for you. I know it is for me. Therapy, stress relief, creative expression, connection, pure joy…the list goes on and on — and looks a little different for each and every one of us.
I believe that, at its very core, knitting is a kind of storytelling.
Sure, a random observer may not be able to read the story in your knitwear the way they could follow the plot of a book, but you know it’s there, and so does anyone you share it with.
From the moment you pair pattern with yarn and your creation starts to take shape, your story has begun. You write it in every stitch: What you ate for breakfast while squeezing in a few stitches. The way the color of the yarn makes you feel every time you pick up your WIP. The forces both personal and global sweeping through your life as you add row after row. Whom you're with when you’re knitting, and what you’re doing. The season, the weather, the place. Even how you learned to knit, why, and who taught you.
Think about it. Your knitting is a sort of journaling; the FO is a record. Wear it, and you wrap yourself in your story, a slice of your life. Gift it, and you’re giving someone special a little piece of yourself. And even though you may knit the same piece as a thousand other people, your FO will be unique — not just because of the colors you used or the modifications you made, but because it’s infused with your story.
All we have to do is pay attention.
It was my own story that led me to think about all this in the first place.
I was an off-and-on knitter for years. I was grandma-taught (like so many of us), stopped for a while, picked it back up in college. But for years and years, it was just a hobby — something to occupy my hands and make the occasional pretty thing I didn’t really wear.
That is, until I went through a very unexpected divorce in the first half of 2016.
Suddenly, knitting became my therapy, the only way I could get through days that swung relentlessly between mediator sessions and planning a cross-country move and caring for my 6-month-old son. The rhythmic, grounding movement of the yarn and needles in my hands kept me tied to reality and to myself. Knitting was quite literally an anchor. It stayed with me through it all as row after row added up to something beautiful. And the FOs I completed during that crazy time now stand as a sort of testament to what I faced — and what I survived. I wear them and remember how far I’ve come and how much stronger than I ever thought possible I’ve learned to be.
Designing came to me a few months later, during another dark spot.
I was living with my parents, looking for a place of our own, hardly sleeping because my son wasn’t, fighting an extended nursing strike. I desperately needed something creative and me-focused that would fit around an already full-to-bursting life and into a schedule over which I had (and still have) very little control.
On the whimmiest of whims, I joined Francoise Danoy’s amazing Initiate Knit Design challenge. It took me more than six months to finish and release that first pattern (the Baywinter Cowl), but when I finally did, I set myself a goal: one pattern per month for the next six months. I couldn’t quit until then.
This month, with the release of the Birchgrove Cowl, I'll have made it.
Could I ever, ever have imagined this journey would take me where I am today? Not in my wildest dreams.
Do I have plans to stop here? Ha! Absolutely not. But I do very much want to pause and celebrate.
Will you join me?
The first Knit Your Story KAL will run from October 2 to December 10, 2017. There will be prizes from some awesome sponsors, weekly prompts, and (I very much hope) general merriment and fun. Signups are open now, and you can get all the details (and discount codes!) over in my Ravelry group. I hope you’ll play along!