Oh, knitting. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
Well, to begin, knitting is portable (depending on the project) and photogenic, making it doubly entertaining. I love having a simple project going at all times, so that I can stuff it my bag for unexpected pauses that would otherwise pass by unredeemed.
Knitting is also versatile - you can have crazy complicated projects that require solitude and silence, or something that you can nod off while working on without losing your place. Sleep Deprived was born of the latter state - I made Brooklyn's mostly while waiting on doctor's appointments, and then a coordinating pair for myself (the first pic is of mine, in progress) in the car, before church, and while sitting up with Tobin when he decided that 2am would be a wonderful time to be awake.
Which brings me to another thing I love about knitting: you can make clothes, and then wear them. It's a wonderful confidence booster to be able to answer "where did you get that?" with "oh, I made it." [Pictured is Patio Jam - an enormous triangle with a tassel and gypsy bells on the point, and probably my favorite scarf, as it's warm enough to be practical but pretty enough to leave on once you're inside.]
Another way that knitting empowers knitters is through giving. Last fall I taught a handful of ladies from our church how to knit. Since then, they've been diligently working on Warm Up America! panels and leaving them in a basket in the foyer for me to collect. This past Sunday's accumulation brought the total of panels up to 55 - since it takes 49 for a blanket, I'm planning on laying them out this week and seaming them together. Then I'll work with the quilting ministry to make sure that it goes to someone in need. This sort of project is a wonderful demonstration of the power of small actions, collectively - a few rows while watching television in the evening, a few panels made during a week of being snowed in, and a group of ladies has poured their love and time and talent into creating something that would have been a daunting task for a single knitter.
Knitting appeals to the mathematical part of my wiring. I test horrifically on math if I have to do it on paper (and please, please don't make me show my work!), but give me some yarn and I know how much of what can be made from it (I very often finish designs with only a yard or two to spare). It's a string theory of sorts that speaks to me on a much more sensical level than abstract algebraic equations. It can both relax and excite, calm and challenge, sometimes all as different parts of the process on the same project.
It's great for whiling away time spent alone, or for doing in community with other knitters (or just other friends, who kindly choose to believe you when you say that yes, you can still listen and talk while you're knitting). Everyone doesn't have to be at the same skill level - in fact, it's almost better if they're not, so that you can learn from each other.
As a very tactile-ly-wired person (my love language is touch, and I'm a kinetic learner), I delight in the colors and textures of the yarn itself, as well as the opportunity to find what project will allow those attributes to shine. I fell for a couple of hanks of Shibui linen the last time I was in the Little Rock local yarn store, and can't wait to start designing something that speaks of the hope of warmer weather to come (another thing I love about knitting: it transcends seasons).
Knitting is a gift - one that was given to me, and one that I can give to others (either in the form of knitted items, or teaching them to knit for themselves) - and that's probably what I love most about it. With my legwarmers completed in time to wear them (18,000 stitches in each... if the yarn hadn't been so gorgeous, I never would have made it), the next project I'm planning to tackle is a teddy bear for Tobin - I hope both of my children will allow me to teach them how to knit when they're older, but whether they're interested in doing it for themselves or not, at least they can benefit from the click of my needles, knowing there's love in every stitch!
Thanks for following along this month as I explored a few things I'm passionate about - next week, we'll start back with Practicing Pauses.