Just ten years.
Ten years ago.
Once upon a time, all those years ago, give or take a day, NutmegOwl walked into a LYS for the first time. You see, at the place I worked, a co-worker had invited a group of people to learn to knit on their lunch hours. She didn’t invite me. But I would stop by their lessons and watch what they did. “I can do that,” I thought. As the summer weeks passed, it was clear I would not be invited. So I asked where they had purchased their supplies, and on Saturday of Labor Day Weekend, marched in the door and made my declaration.
“I’m going to knit a sweater.”
I left armed with a Susan Bates instructional paperback, a set of US 11 straight plastic needles, a bagful of Paton’s Decor yarn, and a copy of Family Circle Easy Knitting. Holding a forest green solid and an autumnal variegated together, within two weeks, I had finished the V-neck with the mock cable up the front.
By Christmas, I had completed that sweater for my sister (which I have never seen again), the fluted rib wrap for mom mom and a sport-weight ribbed V-neck vest for my dad. I remember how surprised they were on Christmas morning when I told them that I had made the gifts myself.
I look back on the months that followed and marvel at my fearless ignorance. There wasn’t much that I wasn’t willing to throw myself into. Fine gauge? Cider House Rules vest from Interweave Knits in Jamieson’s shetland. Intarsia? Goddaughter’s layette, think lots of Debbie Bliss and MinnowKnits. Stripes? Goddaughter’s layette. Texture? You name it. Except, at the time, for lace, which was something only those on Mount Olympus made from cobwebs. Little did I know what I was missing!
The knitting world was so different then. I’ve just been reminded that Knitter’s Review went up right about the same time. (Check out the new design to commence its 11th year!) A community of knitters online. Who’d have thought? I had no idea some of my deepest friendships would be cultivated that way.
Back then, patterns were only available through books, magazines and pamphlets in LYS. Interweave Knits, Vogue Knitting and Family Circle were the only quarterly games in town. Online yarn sales? They followed soon after, opening up a world of yarns that might not be carried locally.
Pack up your bags and go spend a weekend with strangers in another state at a knitting retreat? Sure! How did I choose to introduce myself to a roomful of strangers? By publicly frogging a nearly-finished complicated cabled Manos pullover that wasn’t meant to be. (Today, that retreat is my personal Christmas. Plenty to say about that here.)
Being considered skilled and articulate enough to actually teach other people? For money? That one kind of stopped me in my tracks. Momentarily. And I found my second knitting love ~ unlocking the mysteries of this craft to bring other knitters on the journey with me.
To paraphrase the YarnHarlot: I am simply never not knitting ~ at least in my head. A rare day passes that does not involve even two rows of something.
Life has changed greatly in the interim, but knitting has been the constant.
I went trolling about this morning, looking for the appropriate “anniversary” that goes with 10: Tin, aluminum.
My first thought: Uhhhhhhhh. Not too festive.
Then the lightbulb: aluminum. The original Inox circulars that first populated my needle collection. They’ve mostly been replaced by Addi Turbo and Addi Lace today, but I still reach for them from time to time, like old slippers, and run the black cords under hot water to unkink them.
I do still have those original straight plastic needles, too. It’s been a long and lovely journey. And if I wanted to, I could pick up those same needles and make something lovely.
Ten years. That’s a shiny knit-a-versary.