New year, new hobby! New year goals already included passing my doctoral qualifying exams and staying in shape, along with crafting goals such as new sewing and cross stitching projects, but knitting wasn’t among them. Knitting was my sister’s dream, and she conquered the craft over and over with beautiful socks, shawls, hats, and more, sharing her creations with those she loves (this has always been one of my favorite parts 😉 ). And, while I have continually imagined how cool it would be to knit (instead of relying on my sister to keep my feet warm with hand knit socks each winter), I never knit more than a few stitches at once.
I wasn’t bad at it, in fact, my knitting was generally very even. But I never finished anything. I started countless washcloths, multiple socks, and a quilt. My untouched yarn stash was hidden throughout my apartment. Organizing my nightstand or closet always meant finding yarn I had forgotten about and even some that I didn’t recognize. How could I accumulate so much yarn without a use for it?
The easiest (and best) explanation is that my craft nag had been desperately trying to get me to knit since 2012. For more than a quarter of my life, my sister has tried sharing her craft. And I never wanted to say “no.” I would knit a handful of rows on a project and stop, never to pick it up again. I dodged all of her questions on how a project was going. She kindly pestered but would stop for a while before suggesting a new project. And I was to blame, too- I kept saying how nice it would be to be able to knit my own socks or hats or really anything. I was legitimately excited for each new project I started but that excitement always faded.
I was always afraid that repeatedly refusing something that she loved and wanted to share made her sad. If my reluctance to knit did, I never intended it to. But she introduced me to other crafts (cross stitching, sewing, etc.) and I took on those well enough. In fact, this Christmas she surprised me with a lovely rotary cutter and mat for my upcoming sewing projects. It was especially surprising because I already bought such a set months before. We both felt bad about the mix up but quickly decided on new yarn and needles as a replacement.
Two days later, and with her best friend, we sat in Hook a Frog yarn shop happily knitting away with tea and chocolates. I had immediately fallen in love with a skein (I really fell in love with lots of yarns but could only choose one) and started on the Barley Hat by Tin Can Knits. My sister knew the pattern well, having just knit one for our little brother and another for our cousin. And it seemed straight forward enough for a beginner (not to mention I love hats of all sorts).
Probably because we spent a few hours knitting together in the cozy shop, I made good progress that first day, almost finishing half of the ribbing. That’s not actually much at all, but for someone who never got past 1/2 inch of knitting, I was on a roll. But I also think that activities done alongside the people you love become the most enjoyable. So I now had no choice but to love knitting; I was hooked.
Too soon, we each had to part ways. The next morning our friend headed back to New York and a few days after that I drove back to grad school in North Carolina, unsure exactly when I would be home next. I continued to make relatively fast progress on my hat, getting annoyed when it wasn’t finished in time for the two inches of snow North Carolina got in early January (and when I told my cat “no” and he took his revenge by sleeping on my nearly finished knitting), and exasperated when I had finished a week later when it hit 70 degrees F. When would I get to wear it? Fortunately for me, southern weather can be especially unpredictable: the very next week our forecasted one inch of snow actually became nearly a foot of snow!
I could not have asked for better weather to model my new hat in! The snow was beautiful and fantastic to play in, but I was most excited this month that I finished a project. I am a project finisher!
My hat is far from perfect, as seen by the hole I created from stretching a knit stitch over the row marker but not realizing until I was two rows from finished, or that I ended up with 92 stitches per row instead of 90. Now to finish all of those other knitting projects… stay tuned!