Staff Stories: Learning to Knit with Friends
We’ve got some more staff stories for you about learning to knit. Last time, we presented some tales that described learning from family. This time around, it’s about friends. Did you learn from a buddy? Was it a long-time friend or someone you just met?
Do you still talk to your friend after you had to endure the knitting lesson?
From Andrea Lotz, Social Media Manager
Learning to knit was so frustrating for me that I almost gave it up altogether. I started learning alongside one of my best friends, with instruction from another best friend. We were in middle school and were really, really into Harry Potter, so we grabbed some acrylic yarn in Ravenclaw colors and planned to make scarves.
Unfortunately, my friend is left-handed and I am not, so mirroring her only got me so far. I was even less patient then than I am now, and quickly got insanely frustrated. Eventually, my mom had to step in to prevent both the end of our friendship and the end of my burgeoning interest in fiber arts. She taught me a few basic troubleshooting steps and my knitting got much smoother after that.
I did eventually finish that Ravenclaw scarf, although it was so full of holes and made of such egregiously icky acrylic that I don’t think I wore it even once. But by the end of the project, I had somehow picked up a knitting style totally different from either my mom or my friend. Both of them are yarn throwers, but I settled almost immediately into continental. Once I had the basics down, I started knitting voraciously and haven’t stopped.
What I didn’t know as a beginner was it didn’t have to be a scarf. I think beginner knitters tend to knee-jerk the scarf idea, but truly, there are beginner patterns in gloves and hats that may aid in building both your skills and your confidence.
Today, all four of us, my two friends, my mom, and I, all love nothing more than the chance to sit and knit together. The two friends live far away, but every time they come into town, we schedule at least one knit night.
It’s nice to hear that Andrea is still friends with the person that tried to teach her to knit. Our craft is supposed to bring us together, right?
This next story is about just that: a craft show, a friendship made, and a few margaritas.
From Kerry Bogert, Editorial Director, Books
I was taught to knit twice. The first time is actually a funny story; I was taught over a pitcher of margaritas. In 2004, I was just getting started with my jewelry career and sharing booth space with a group of sheep to shawl knitters. No one of us could fill a booth on our own and our work complemented each other nicely, so we worked together to have one beautiful booth.
One winter night as we planned our show circuit for the summer to come–while enjoying margaritas–I lamented about always wanting to learn to knit. A talented knitter and teacher, Tina Turner (yes, that’s her real name) handed me yarn and needles out of her knitting bag and showed me the knit stitch. We laughed hysterically as I tried to throw the yarn and pull the needle through the stitch.
By the end of the night I thought I had it down, but when I tried again the following morning the margaritas had clearly erased all memory of how to knit. I couldn’t knit a stitch no matter how hard I tried. It wasn’t until 2007, when a dear friend sat me down, sober, that I finally learned to knit.
No judgement Kerry. We know many out there may be nodding their heads in understanding.
Tiffany is closing with her story, something to do with workmates who double as craft superstars…
From Tiffany Warble, Director of Online Content
During certain times of the year, some of the rock stars in our Interweave office would volunteer their time to teach a skill to their workmates. Though the class would have a nominal fee, everything outside of the costs was donated to a local charity. So as you can imagine, I took just about every single one someone offered.
In one of these classes, I sewed my own apron (with delicious red polka dots paired with vintage black and white fabric), learned how to string my own jewelry, and best of all, learned how to knit. With more than a dozen adult knitting students, we sat down with long metal needles and a skein and casted on.
As a long time crocheter, I seemed to pick it up quickly and without prompting figured out holding the yarn in what I would come to find out as the continental style. I use this method to this day. I thank that patient teacher every day for her willingness to teach us all and benefit not only me but our community as well.
This was about six years ago and I still have those needles sitting in the bottom of my stash, a reminder of the generosity that brought me to knitting.
Taking the time to remember how our hands started to craft only makes us more reverent about the act itself. Reflecting on how far our knitting has come along, past the beginner stage, is truly satisfying and motivating.
What was learning to knit like for you? Did it come to you easily? Who taught you?
Share your knitting story in the comments. We would love to hear from you.