When did I learn to knit? Honestly, I don’t remember anyone teaching me. As far as I know, I learned to knit from the Reader’s Digest Guide to Needlework. And I know I’m not the only one! What’s a bit unusual though is that I never made very many mistakes. Why? I think I have a natural talent for all things needlework. I just want to do them and I can do them. I can do filet crochet, cross-stitch, embroidery, beading, quilting, sewing, applique, crochet – that’s all I can think of right now. All of these things have helped me to do every other thing I have tried. There’s a crossover factor in being able to handle needle and thread, yarn, making a garment, putting pieces together. What’s amazing is to think that little girls (and boys?) used to be taught to do these things at a very young age. Today I have women all the time telling me they don’t have the finger function or the patience to do this work. I guess you’d have to get good at it if your mother or schoolteacher was requiring you to do your needlework every single day.
Nowadays, we knit and create just for the joy of it. We don’t have the need to make blankets, layettes, clothes, and socks for everyone in our family. We can just run over to Kohl’s for any of those things.
What I really like about Project Linus is that I am able to give something handmade to someone when they are in crisis. I have read so many stories of thanks for these blankets that are received and I know that there is power in the giving and receiving. The yarn, usually acrylic yarn, is warm and special – one of a kind items – made especially for someone who needs that very thing to ease the pain. It’s magical.
How do we use the gifts we are born with? In my case, I made tons of crafts as I grew up. From a young age I was doing paint-by-numbers and filling in graph squares. I love new pencils and erasers. I love starting a new project. I go to sleep imagining how to create something or figuring out how to put something together. Yesterday I used colored pencils to fill in a detailed drawing made especially for coloring and it was very relaxing. I listened to a book while I chose which color to use next, what color to use it next to, how many times to use that color. It was nice to quiet my mind in that way – to make simple choices.
I can spend my time knitting and being very active in my mind, thinking about how to create a new hat or solving a problem with the design. Other times, I just enjoy making the stitches, following a simple pattern, feeling the yarn through my fingers, around the needles, watching the pattern take shape. Knitting is my meditation and my passion. I am grateful for this gift.