I was cleaning my house one cold winter evening. To keep me going, but divert my thoughts from thinking how much I dislike this chore, I started thinking about what would enhance the cosyness and comfort of my home. All of a sudden, The Innocent Big Knit Campaign popped into my mind.
In an instant, I started researching online the nearest store to my house that sold knitting kits and was open on a Saturday afternoon. After not finding any shops online, I started ringing charity shops, but to no avail. This is how strong my urge to start knitting was.
So, following my impulse, I turned to my last resort: I called my partner who was in a different city and asked him to go to the nearest department store to buy me some yarn and needles. I had no clue how to knit, what I wanted to do or what materials I needed. So, when he asked me what exactly I wanted, I answered on a whim: any colourful yarn and the least expensive needles. Thankfully, John Lewis had the most beautiful coloured yarn on display.
I waited anxiously for my partner to get back home, so I could start my new hobby. However, beginnings were hard! It took me several long nights to work out how to cast on, knit and purl. Throughout the learning process I experienced many moments of frustration and disappointment with my (lack of) skill, upon realising that I had made mistakes which I did not know how to fix. The thought of having to start over and the perceived waste of time (having done something which went wrong) troubled me to the point where I gave up knitting altogether for a while.
However, deep down, while watching TV in the evenings, I was longing to experience again that feeling of comfort, peace and gratitude that only knitting can bring. So, I decided to give it another try. This time, I was prepared to accept the occasional struggles and disappointments that came with it. Also, I decided to stop perceiving the time spent undoing my work (to rectify a mistake) as wasted, but as time spent learning and fine-tuning my skill. I was my own apprentice after all and I had to be good.
After patiently undoing my work each time I made a mistake, on one occasion, the most amazing thing happened. In a light-bulb moment, I realised how to rectify a dropped stitch, without undoing the entire row. I felt so enriched. I did not expect to learn something without being taught and to just imagine how to do it without seeing it being done before.
Knitting has brought me so much happiness for so many reasons.
Firstly, I really enjoy how knitting warms up my heart and my house. To me, only knitting can create such a sense of peace, tranquillity and general well-being. Even though it involves doing the same thing(s) over and over, miraculously, this act is so relaxing and soul-soothing.
Secondly, knitting has led me to join my first social club. Whilst browsing the splendid yarns displayed in a John Lewis store, I found out about the knitting club that meets up in the store's café every Thursday evening. How idyllic, I thought.
Thirdly, knitting makes me feel productive, as it allows me to quantify the progress of my work after each session – looking at how long my knitting has become compared to when I started gives me such a sense of joy. It’s so rewarding to see the end results of my work.
Fourthly, I can now knit whilst enjoying the only unproductive activity of my day: watching TV in the evenings. Not only knitting counteracts the time wasted in front of the TV, but is also a great substitute to snacking in front of the TV and it has the added benefit of preventing me from falling asleep in front of movies.
Finally, research shows that we feel happy when we live in an atmosphere of growth and learn new skills. Knitting has helped me create this atmosphere of growth for myself and I think that this might be another reason why knitting makes me feel so happy.
So far I have only completed 5 projects (pictured below), but I put my whole heart in them:
1. Little hat for Innocent Smoothies (that’s how it all started after all)
2. Kindle, ipad and ipod covers
I’ve started to knit things that I think are practical and useful. For example, as I realised the screens of my digital devices were getting scratched during my travels, I decided to knit protective covers for them. The process of making them was relatively straightforward, as I wasn’t following any specific pattern and instead letting the colourful yarn dictate the look of it.
3. All-purpose bag
For this project, I experimented (and perfected :-P ) the rib pattern, and so what was meant to be a scarf, turned into a hot water bottle cover and ultimately into a bag, when the hot water bottle exploded.
I am always inspired by die-hard, talented knitters. By this, I mean both people that come up with creative knits…
… and also those who commit to long term projects, such as:
I hope that this article has inspired you to take up knitting as a gloriously good hobby. Feel free to share your knitting project with me by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments section of this article.