Learning to Knit – What’s Your Story?

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 been released! Available in paperback and on Kindle, included in Kindle Unlimited. 

The Story Behind Every Piece Of Knitting

As I cleaned out a closet today, I found the very first baby blanket I knitted for my son. It’s a small, lacey, baby blue blanket blessed by one of my favorite priests and taken all the way to the Arctic Circle when we adopted our youngest child. It was the first “prayer shawl” I ever made. 

Pulling that blanket out of the closet, I noticed a couple of crooked seams and a section of the blanket that badly needed blocking. But that didn’t matter; it was the story behind that baby blue blanket that mattered more than anything. 

As soon as I had that baby blanket in my hands, the whole story of becoming my youngest son’s mother came back to me: the waiting, the paperwork, the trips to the homeland security office in Nashville to get his citizenship lined up, the cold trip to the Arctic in the middle of winter. I could smell the diesel fuel during a long flight delay in Paris. I could see the faces of the doctors, drivers, and adoption agency staff who shepherded us along the way – all from taking one glance at that baby blanket I had knitted.

Don’t we all have stories woven within almost all of our knitting projects? We remember that Harry Potter scarf knitted for a son when he was in the second grade. That confetti-sparkled hat knitted for a daughter when she was a pre-teen. That hat your husband wanted for his camping trip last fall. 

As I began my book, The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, I realized that we all have rich, often poignant stories behind our knitting projects. When we give our knitting projects as a gift to someone else, it becomes part of their story, too.

What’s on your needles now, and what’s the story you’ll remember months or years from now? I hope your stories will be tales of overcoming the stress and challenges of daily life, woven with the joy you get from knitting.

Blessings, Cindy

Cynthia Coe is the author of The Prayer Shawl Chronicles, a collection of interrelated short stories about knitters and those they meet through knitting and sharing prayer shawls. 

Copyright 2022 Cynthia Coe