I am a knitter. Or a Knitter – sometimes people like to capitalize to show their ownership of the title. Bottom line is that I like to make things with knitting needles and yarn.
I learned to knit in 2007 from my husband’s coworker. He was having a bunch of people over to watch football and, seeing as I don’t love watching football, his also-not-football-loving friend Leah brought materials to teach me to knit.
As discussed last week, I don’t half heartedly dabble in things. I jump in, learn to swim, and then swim across the ocean. I went to A.C. Moore the next day and got myself bamboo knitting needles and four skeins of yarn. By the next time I saw Leah, probably the next week, I had knit a scarf and a bag and was ready to learn more.
Side note: at this point in my life we had no kids and, while we lived in Philadelphia, I worked in New Jersey and didn’t really know many people. This is the long way to say that I had plenty of time to knit.
Within a few months I had knit a baby sweater and hat for our daughter who was not yet born, scarves for everyone in my family for Hanukkah, and a large bag. I taught my sister, Allison, how to knit because, as I mentioned, I like to make sure EVERYONE knows how much my latest “yogurt” will change their lives for the better.
By the time my daughter was one I could both knit and crochet, was a regular at the local yarn shops, had knit myself a button up hoodie, and had published my first and only knitting pattern. I told you I go in full force.
I was reading knitting blogs and books, listening to knitting podcasts, and browsing message boards late at night reading arguments about whether people who crochet are treated as equal to people who knit and whether or not you should get yarn at “big box stores”. It was fascinating. I had no idea you could have heated discussions about acrylic yarn.
As a chronic over-thinker I wanted to figure out why I was so obsessed with knitting. Was it part of my inner grandma coming out? Was I becoming “granola chic” and would eventually turn into a person who would make their own yogurt? (Well…)
Here’s what I figured out. As a grown up, and specifically one responsible for other humans, I realized that MY JOB IS NEVER DONE. I always have laundry to do, dishes to wash and cat litter to change. If I go away on vacation it will wait until I get back. It’s an ongoing cycle of keeping up and catching up.
What knitting provides me something I have control over. I choose the yarn and the project. I work on it and I finish it and it didn’t require me to tend to it ever again unless I want to wash it. It is something that is mine and mine alone and if I put it down and ignore it for a week it wont’t multiply and become harder and take longer to do.
For many years my knitting went dormant. I had a bin of my needles, patterns and partly finished projects waiting for me pick them up. I wanted to do it, I just needed motivation. Well as it turns out it was my costuming that helped bring it back into focus. (Yes, here I go again…)
I was making my daughter a unicorn costume which included a tail out of brushed yarn. Onyx saw it and thought it would be fun if something like that was a wig. So I made one. And then I made another.
Last summer one of our favorite local queens, Astala Vista, saw I worked with yarn and asked if I could knit a sweater for a costume. After I squealed and jumped up and down like a fan girl I “calmly” wrote back yes. It was perfect timing. I was about to go on a vacation to England with my family and this was a portable project. I was finally motivated to get the needles back out and create.
I’ve been knitting more often. I take the train to Philly once a week, where I work one of my 88,000 side jobs, which allows me 30ish minutes of knitting time each way. (Okay, I don’t have that many side jobs but this year I’ve been throwing all the darts and am seeing what sticks!) In the chaos of being a grownup I’m back to finding the things I enjoy that I can do and finish, unlike my laundry.
📷 by @gingerb3ardman & @steventrumon
👗💅🏻by Astala Vista
💇 by @dragbychariel
🧣💎 by @dragbymssarah
Quick story about this last picture.
This year I took the kids to DragCon in NYC. I’m walking around with the kids and I hear my name being called. Astala and her partner, Jimmy, are walking towards us and Astala was wearing this outfit! NOT ONLY did I know people at DragCon but something I helped create was there! Every single thing about that moment felt amazing.
We have been so lucky to meet such amazing people this year who have, not only enriched my life, but also the lives of my kids. Now go get yourselves some tickets to a show and invite me to join you!