In most things one may choose to do there is a turning point – a moment, whether good or bad, that puts you on the path to something new. Sometimes, there are multiple moments. My knitting origin story is like that, moments (both good and bad) that led to me taking up the sticks and strings and finding a natural talent for knitting.
It starts in 2009, though what specific month I couldn’t say. A friend was teaching me to knit but I just wasn’t having any of it. I wasn’t getting the techniques, my hands felt clumsy trying to mirror her movements and I decided it wasn’t for me. I do remember that September though, when she asked me to go to the Kitchener & Waterloo knitting festival – mostly because she was getting a ride with someone she barely knew and wanted a companion in case of kidnapping (I joke – we had a great time with a lovely woman who, sadly, I lost contact with). This festival was the first (and the good) turning point.
There were rows and rows of booths full of yarn and needles and kits, and I was overwhelmed. I loved the feel of the yarn, the brightness of the colours, the untapped possibilities of everything in front of me. I remember we both won a door prize, and I ended up with a knitting kit (needles, yarn, and a pattern – I’m pretty sure I still have all of them … somewhere). Still, I wasn’t convinced. I still had memories of failed attempts and really … did I want to walk down this road? But then I saw it. We came across it. The thing that tempted my resolve to never knit again – now known as The Kit. And this Kit wasn’t just any kit, it was probably the only Kit that could ever convince me to attempt to knit again – a Gryffindor Muffler kit. A muffler (if you are not aware) is a scarf that is knit in the round (in a circle). Instead of being knit flat, like a traditional scarf, knitting in the round creates a thicker scarf that keeps you much warmer in the cold weather. Naturally, it was the perfect shades of Gryffindor maroon and gold that gave me pause … and I walked away from it initially. The lure of Gryffindor is much too strong for me, so I went back and bought it, with my friend promising she could teach me how to knit it. I was skeptical, but it was Gryffindor … (and that basically sums up me and any Harry Potter merchandise).
Over the next couple of months she attempted to teach me, and I tried, I really tried. It just wasn’t sticking. At first we didn’t have the right needles to knit in the round so I was knitting it flat – learning both the knit and purl stitches to make the fabric look correct. Eventually we found needles small enough to knit in the round and, sure, it was easier in some respects but still hard in others. I was not convinced. I figured I would finish this scarf and be done with knitting – I could proudly say I did this, but otherwise I was good without knitting.
The second turning point came at the end of November. My then-fiance was living with me, not entirely legally, but not massively illegally either. Our relationship was coming to a breaking point, though neither of us really knew it. We were supposed to travel to his home state together for Thanksgiving, but I decided to not go with him – saying we needed some space from each other. He made it there with no problems, but when it came time to cross back into Canada there was a concern … and he was denied entry into Canada.
After his phone call I was inconsolable. I manage to get a call to my knitting friend, my best friend, saying I needed her to come over because I was a mess. I stayed in my room crying and shaking until she arrived (thankfully no more than 10 minutes). Nothing my mother or siblings could say could calm me down, and I was rambling nonsense trying to figure out what my next steps would be. My friend arrived, took one look at me, and put the Gryffindor muffler in my hands and just said “Knit.”
I didn’t want to knit. I didn’t want to do anything except immediately figure out a way to get to him. But my hands started to move as I my mind was turning over ideas and suddenly … I wasn’t crying any more. My mind was clearer, I was thinking more rationally. I felt calmer. And I was knitting. This was the first moment I made the connection between knitting as a coping tool, as a way to keep myself calm and collected.
I was hooked after that, and determined to push through the learning curve and figure things out. I started slowly – dishcloths, scarves … square and rectangle things. Eventually I learned more – sock things, triangle shawl things, hat things … improving on what I had learned and pushing myself to do more.
Not long after this incident things got a bit worse, then a bit better. My fiance was stuck in the states and there was nothing I could do about it (he ended up being barred from entering Canada for 6 months). My 24th birthday would be the worst of my life (and I generally don’t talk about it). In January 2010 my friend and I applied to universities (as I had not gone to post-secondary schooling after high school); I ended up being accepted to all of my choices and followed my gut, moving to Windsor that July. I’ve been here ever since (not just in the city, but in the apartment I moved into that year) … and my dwelling is overflowing in yarn (known as stash) and multiple finished objects (that I wish I could wear all the time, but sadly can’t).
And now that you know where and how I started … just watch where I’m going to go!