I learned to knit from my mother in the late 1970’s, as a teenager. My mother did not knit on a regular basis. She made one big project that I know of – a garter stitch blanket for my dad. She made this one project back in the 1950’s, when my dad had lung surgery to remove a piece of debris stuck in his lung since childhood, and my mother had many anxious hours spent at the hospital, knitting to pass the time. My mother only knew how to cast on, make the knit stitch, and cast off. She never learned to purl. But she passed on what little she knew to me, and knitting soon became a beloved craft for me.
There’s a story behind each and every person who learns to knit. Maybe you learned to knit from a favorite aunt or a grandmother. Maybe you learned at summer camp, or at church, or from videos online, stuck at home during the pandemic. Many of the stories in my books, The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, feature someone going through a difficult time and learns to knit, finding healing along the way. A washed-up ballerina goes back to her hometown, learns to knit from a female lawyer, and starts a new career as a paralegal. A young girl coming out of the foster care system sits on the curb of a food pantry, trying to figure out what to do with two sticks and a ball of string. A woman walking her dog in a church garden gets caught in the rain, ducks into a church service for shelter, and stumbles on a Blessing of the Prayer Shawls service.
This weekend, I’m hosting a Knitting Social at my local church. I’ve invited anyone who knits or wants to learn to knit. I’ve got a plan for teaching knitting from scratch, balls of yarn lined up, and several pairs of size 9 needles ready to offer. Who will show up? What will their story be? Will they stick with knitting for the rest of their lives, or will they find it a passing thing they may pick up again years from now? Will they, like my mother, pass on these knitting lessons to young girls or boys born far into the future? It’s exciting to think of the possibilities!
What’s your story of learning to knit? Who taught you? Where were you, both in time and in your emotional state? Did knitting help you heal in some way, or was it something fun or creative to do? I bet there’s a story there!
Blessings on your knitting journey,
Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, interrelated stories about knitters and those for whom they knit and love. The sequel to this book, The Knitting Guild of All Saints, has just been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited.