When I was nine, my grandma taught me how to knit. She literally just taught me the knit stitch (for all you non-knitters, don’t worry, I’m not going to use a ton of knitting lingo because I’m somewhat of an amateur—it depends on how you look at it).
She actually taught my sister and me both. We didn’t have real knitting needles back then, so we used wooden BBQ skewers my parents had laying around. The ends of the skewers were smooth out by rubbing them on the concrete walkway of our house, and that was how I received my first splinter. Just kidding. But the needle ends would prick my fingers in the not so pleasant way.
It was the beginning of something magical though. My very first knitted scarf. An unfinished one at that. I say this because I had made “scarves” before (they were terrible) by weaving them on my hand. I don’t know if there’s a term or technique for physically knitting scarves on your hands, but we can get into that later. It was unfinished because (1) nobody told me when I should end it, (2) they kept giving me balls of yarn (actually, I’m still on the second ball. The sad part is that they were leftover scrapes), and (3) I never learned how to end it. So that scarf is probably harboring dust in the closet. Maybe I’ll finish it one day. Maybe not.
I don’t remember knitting anything else after that project. You could say that my knitting phrase came and went. I thought so too because I was such a slow knitter, and I couldn’t even finish one measly knitwear that was probably 2 and ½ inches wide. So I stopped altogether, but my sister didn’t. She went on and continued knitting in the private confines of her room, the room I was always locked out of (see Elsa and Anna’s relationship in Frozen). But that was okay because I had my brothers to play with, and my childhood was complete.
The winter break of tenth grade came around, and I became fascinated with knitting again. It was the thought of being able to create something of my own that made it appealing to me. You see all these products they sell in stores, but they’re not particularly crafted to your taste. Knitting gave me the power make the things I wanted, the way I wanted them to look. I must admit, whatever I visualized in my head does not always appear in the product before me. (That’s why I’m still learning.)
The difference between my first time and this time was that I was able to finish something. Someone had finally taught me how to cast off (term for ending stitches): my sister. The occasion should have been momentous. For example, I should be able to remember what I knitted and what kind of yarn I used, but I don’t remember what the item was or where it is now. But that was okay with me because I went on to knitting (and finishing) a whole lot of other items, and I’ve never truly stopped since then. Okay, so there were weeks where I’d go without picking up my needles, but I was usually guaranteed to pick up where I left off.
That is not to say that I finished every single one of my projects. Some cases were just hopeless, and I didn’t want to invest time in a lost cause. That’s okay too because the yarn went into making something else better or it might have joined the stashes of half-finished projects in my closet. Whatever the case, I have moved on.
To me, knitting is like life. Sometimes you mess up, and it throws everything off. Other times, you unravel like stitches. In extreme cases, you start over. Look at things from a different perspective. You are always starting things. You are finishing things. You leave things unsaid. You cast off your worries. You learn. You weave up the loose ends, make it better. You refine things, and then you start over. You try. You have tried. You will try. You discover who you are. You live.