I Want to Knit Everything.
When I was thirteen I taught myself to knit from a book someone gave me as a gift. The book came with plastic needles included some very simple scarf patterns. I loved it. And I was terrible at it. Truly terrible. For years all I made were very ugly scarves that I proudly wore to high school football games, to class, on the weekend. I didn’t want to knit anything besides scarves and was too afraid to try to learn more advanced skills.
Oh, how times have changed.
Now all I want to knit are sweaters. I know how to cable and lace knit and work in color. I brioche and stripe and am always seeking out new patterns and designs and ideas. But none of that happened over night. It was slow. I messed up a lot. I still do. Knitting is not for perfectionists. It is for people who value time. Who like to work with their hands. Who aren’t afraid of color. Knitting is for people who want to feel something go from yarn to garment. It is like baking pastry in that it allows you to make something beautiful and complicated out of something ordinary.
I won’t waste time convincing anyone that knitting is not just for grandmothers. Knitting, like many handcrafts of the past is trendy now, and, dare I say it, maybe even cool? And if you think its boring and stuffy and nerdy I am not going to change your mind.
But I harbor no delusions. I know people think I’m obsessed. That friends come over to my house and wonder why I have so much yarn piled by my bookshelf. What could I possible need so much yarn for? Well. Everything. I want to knit everything. Maybe I am obsessed.
In lieu of everything lets start with one sweater. Striped, of course. (If you know me at all, you’ll know that 80% of my wardrobe is striped.) This is the Confetti Sweater by Veera Välimäki. Veera is a Finnish knitwear designer. Her patterns are modern and interesting with clean lines and innovative details. She takes inspiration from current tends in the knitting world and the larger fashion world to create patterns that are wearable, beautiful, and not at all old looking or grandmotherly. She and other contemporary designers have inspired me reevaluate how I view and consume clothing. The slow fashion movement had been growing quickly among knitters and sewists (and those who want to shop ethically and greenly.)
I wont pretend I don’t still go shopping. I do. A lot. But it feels different to put on a sweater that I made in the morning. It is gratifying to know where the sheep whose wool my yarn was spun from were raised, or to be able to watch the person who dyed it give a tutorial on instagram. I spent a lot of my early twenties aimless, feeling like I fell into the things that happened to me with little of no control. But beginning to make part of my wardrobe has taught me to be more intentional. Like baking it has helped my slow down, and focus on a task instead of everything I’m anxious or upset about. And it made me feel less guilty when I watched the first season of Better Things in one sitting, because I also finished the body of my sweater.
I’ll be honest, I often still fall into things, literally and figuratively. For example I fell asleep with my iPad on my face in the middle of the afternoon after teaching my two morning classes last week. And I have definitely become an impulsive yarn-buyer, accruing a way too big collection of yarn. But hey, there are worse things to be obsessed with and worse ways to fall asleep.