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String Into Things

One of the last things I expected when I started learning how to knit was how much it would bring me closer to people.

I should have expected it, maybe – after all, I chose to start knitting as a grief coping mechanism. Apparently, I’m not the only one! Walking through a store with my knitting basket on my arm, I had a saleslady help me grab a yarn ball that had fallen out when I bent to look at a low shelf, and we ended up talking for twenty minutes about how she’d learned to knit while a loved one was dying, just to have something to do, and how knitting had served as a comfort for us both. Not every surprise meeting with another random knitter in public goes quite like that – but it does provide a point of connection. Complimenting people’s yarn, asking questions about a stitch you’ve never seen someone do before, asking where they found that pattern… there’s a whole new selection of conversational options out there!

Being a knitter also helps me overcome my shy and introverted nature in big gatherings. I used to be the kid hiding in a corner with a book unless someone dragged me out. Now, I can be at the edge of things with my knitting… and I can still listen to what people are saying, and add comments of my own, while still having something to do with my hands (and yet again, something to talk about when I’m not sure what to say.) I actually have an easier time following along with a conversation when I’ve got a project going, and I no longer feel like I have to hide entirely when I get overwhelmed by people – I just look down and focus on my stitches for a minute.

Knitting has also drawn me closer to history! We’ve got a good number of history posts planned for this blog, but to be brief, there were so many people in our pasts who did really cool and important things with yarn. From the mentorship and community of a knitting circle to the treasured heritage of traditional patterns and construction methods, there’s a lot of voices from the past that seem a lot closer when I’m reading their stories and trying to repeat their knitting decades or centuries later.

Em and I, sister-knitters and co-writers

Finally, though, knitting has absolutely drawn me closer to my sister. Learning to knit from Em has given us both so much. We have a new together-activity, a new area of interest to talk about for hours. It’s a field big enough that we can each specialize in mastering different areas so that we can work together without competing, which had been a problem for us in our childhood. We both encourage each other to push our boundaries – with trying new knitting skills, with going out in public and interacting at local yarn stores or at events with other crafters, even with seemingly-unrelated skills like writing about knitting and slowly drawing up plans for our knitting business.

When I’m knitting something, the one strand of yarn loops around again and again, interlocking in thousands of tiny points to make something that would seem impossible looking at just the starting strand. It’s done a similar miracle with less tangible materials, though – knitting has drawn me closer to people, too, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to stop being thankful for that. So, thank you, dear readers, for joining me on this journey, as I sit back, drink my coffee, and keep on turning string into things.