Ask anyone who knits what got them started with knitting and you will find a story.
You’ll hear things like:
It looked easy and fun.
I wanted to make a scarf.
My grandmother/aunt/mother taught me as a kid and I wanted to try it again.
More often than not, they had to see the knitting being done to spark their interest. Why they stayed with it (or not) is just as varied and personal as the knitters and usually has a lot to do with their own journey and personal payoffs to knitting.
My own knitting story began when I was a teenage exchange student living in Germany. I sat in a classroom and watched other teen girls and boys knit their own sweaters! I knew about knitting, but had never seen it done. The idea of making your own sweater… with lace patterns… well, that just floored me. The spark was there.
Fellow classmates started letting me mangle their works in progress. My host mother took me to a yarn store for needles and yarn. She even let me buy a fingering weight (thin) dark blue (hard to see) Angora (fuzzy and even harder to see) yarn against her recommendations because she recognized the mule headedness of a brand new teen knitter. My mom was going to have the most beautiful scarf. It was to be my masterpiece.
My fellow classmates returned to my side to help with casting on… repeatedly. My host mother was there for me when I dropped stitches and perversely also increased stitches. Even Mozart’s music came to the rescue by grounding me during the knitting (and keeping me from throwing the needles across the room). My support was in place.
The scarf was exquisitely soft, boring and hourglass shaped a couple of times over. My mom, being the ever so kind person she is, dutifully admired it, wore it once or twice and kept it forever.
After Germany, my knitting quickly faltered after 2 or 3 failed projects and the lack of foresight to just step into a knitting store to find support and camaraderie. No one I knew knit, or if they did, knew nothing about Continental style knitting.
I didn’t knit again for another 20 years.
Two things happened that got me back into knitting. My son was diagnosed with Autism, so I had tons of extra time sitting in waiting rooms doing nothing but re-reading the same trashy magazines. We also moved into a town that had a knitting store right on a main street. I saw it several times a week and it tempted me again and again until I finally had the courage to go in and sign up for a knitting class.
Even though my son has very thankfully outgrown nearly all of his therapies, I still knit. I knit now because:
There’s a fast learning curve.
It soothes me.
I love touching the fibers.
The colors are fun and sometimes surprising.
I like being productive and making things.
As to my mom’s scarf… Well, a few years ago I had my mom shop my stash for some sparkly novelty yarn, ripped out the old scarf and re-knit it with both yarns. It was exciting, soft and even. The flight attendants on several flights eyed it covetously as I journeyed home to see my mom. Sometimes it’s good to be a knitter.
(A sneak peek at a future scarf in progress… with lace.)