Friday, July 29, 2011

On Learning to Knit...


I've had so many comments and e-mails about learning to knit; here's the deal. 

I learned to knit from my Dad.  My Mom doesn't knit and, as far as I know, has never had any interest in learning.  Dad was the youngest of eight children and his older sisters taught him.  He taught me.  I did a few very simple pieces as a child.  A stocking cap, a pair of slippers, nothing too special.  Soon, I lost interest.


In my mid-twenties, I picked it up again, for a few slightly more complex pieces.  I really had no patience with trying to figure out what to do if things went wrong... as in: when I made a mistake.   And, doing the finishing work was just no fun to me... Very soon, I stopped knitting again.


Thirty years later with news of a grandchild on the way, I went to the local Wal Mart and bought the little packet "I Taught Myself to Knit."  Then, I ended up in Hobby Lobby buying a book with baby patterns (plus some reference instructions in it) and enough yarn to create what would become the MAMMOTH baby blanket, in the colors of sock monkeys (Little Man's nursery theme). 


It might have been all over again, after I finished that blanket... had I not run into Laura at rug hooking, who was knitting this most exquisite wool! Stuff like I had only imagined!! She told me about  Rose Path Weaving in Lindale.   I trotted right up there with my same little pattern book to find myself yarn for... this time, a sweater for Little Man...

Well, the rest is history. I've been addicted to the colors, the textures, the fibres, the patterns, the sheer beauty... ever since. 

I'm not afraid of making mistakes anymore.  Life has taught me that I have what it takes to trace them back and, most times, the ability to make it right.  There are a few things along the way you just have to frog (give up and tear it out) and start over.  As long as you have breath, you can start over.

 All photos are taken at Rose Path Weaving in Lindale.  Regina, center right, is the owner.  This is a wonderful group of ladies.

If you are 'book learner' like myself, there are tons of books available.  And, online www.LionBrand.com  along with many, many others have wonderful video tutorials on anything you need to know.  But, probably the very best place in the world to learn is at your Local Yarn Store (referred to among knitters as:  LYS).  I would imagine that all of them have classes. 

There are always people showing up to knit in the yarn stores. Just go sit at the table with them, never would anyone who knits not be willing to share her knowledge.  (Okay, they say you should never say never, but I'm going out on a limb here anyway.  I believe all knitters are willing to pass it on.)


Strangely, I consider knitting a woman's art, passed from generation to generation, though I was taught by a man.  There is something amazingly timeless about the way women, who sit around the knitting table, share each others' lives.  Today, I listened to one of the most touching stories I have ever heard.  A story of how, one stitch at a time, K. had knit her life back together after losing her husband to cancer... one year ago last week. 

Knitting's therapeutic value cannot be overstated.  It is a salve for my soul.. and others as well.


Knitting can be as simple as swaying to the music with your high school sweetheart... or as intense and precise as the tango with a stranger. 

Your choice:  Simple and repetitive or intense and focused. 

Either way, it is a beautiful dance.

Thank you, to those of you who asked, for giving me reason to ramble on about one of my joys/therapies.  I hope just one of you is inspired to pick up the needles. 

If you do, please remember, knitting is like anything else... you don't start out with a PhD.  ;)   Be gentle with yourself. 

blessings ~ tanna

46 comments:

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

Well I love this...my Dad knew how to crochet...not my mom! I have done both...crochet with Grandmother then again when rag rugs were in style...knitted a little off and on, no big projects.

I think your motivation to start back is the best...and that maybe when I pick up the needles again.

Great post....my mother is a quilter.

TexWisGirl said...

this is really a neat post. LOVE that place!

Donna said...

Tanna...almost, I am almost enticed! The colors and textures call to me...
I love your wonderful story. Thanks for sharing.

Ann from On Sutton Place said...

Tanna...what a wonderful post. That yarn store looks like such fun. I feel about fabric like you feel about yarn. Love it. And I have gone through phases where I sew all the time and others where I don't sew at all. Thanks for sharing a piece of yourself with your blogging friends! Have a great weekend...

laurie said...

oh my gosh how beautifully said,, (written),, wonderful photos,, thanks for sharing this,

Dana said...

Wow - that was a very well written and thoughful post. I could feel your love/passion for this hobby throughout. I'm so glad you have found something again that you love so much!

Susan said...

Love, love this post! Just started on a sock this morning. :)

Chatty Crone said...

Oh my goodness - I loved that story - a glimpse into you and your wonderful dad!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

How wonderful! I love your passion. And all those pretty colors... I can see why you love them. The baby blanket you made is *adorable*!! :)

Sandi said...

I, for one, left a comment about not knowing how to knit...after several attempts. I never knitted anything except rows of a basic stitch that kept either growing or shrinking. Still, there was something therapeutic with the click of those needles. I love the pictures of the yarns. I can almost smell the scents of those yarns, but I can't imagine the feel. I know the feel would be wonderful!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful story about how you learned to knit, Tanna, and the photos of this fabulous store! It looks so warm and welcoming. I would love to take lessons if I can find a place like this locally ...even just to learn to make a scarf.

T's Daily Treasures said...

How wonderful that you learned from your dad. My cousin taught me to crochet when I was about 20 ... flowers, leaves, squares and then all stitched together. I can't tell you how many afghans I made those first several years after learning -- all the same pattern, different colors. It's only been in the past several years that I've branched out, attempting patterns on my own. I still don't entirely get it ... but I keep plugging away and do what I can. Some folks are just naturals when it comes to crafting and creating (like you) and some have to work a little harder (like me) :) My hairdresser and friend, Kathy, is a natural. She can take anything and create something absolutely fabulous!

All the images here in your post make me very happy. We only have one craft store. I joined the Textile Group last year but wasn't able to make all the meetings because of work and little league conflicts. Hopefully my schedule won't be so crazy this year and I can learn a bit more. :) Have a wonderful weekend. Tammy

Annette said...

Great story on your dad teaching you how to knit. I know it took me several tries before I finally got it! I used to fly w/a bunch of girls from Europe and they all knitted, so I asked a friend of mine to sit down w/me and show me what I was doing wrong and that did it, it's forever been a love of mine. I'm off tomorrow to buy the Fiesta yarn to make that beautiful shawl you made. But I am so attracted to that shawl in the shop w/the green yarn. I can't make out the name of the pattern though, do you think they'd share it w/me if I gave them a call? I've never made anything that intricate, but I love a challenge!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

Annette, the very last photo in this group is that pattern. I finished it Thursday at noon and will do a post about it next. The pattern is Ginko Shawl. On the Rose Path blog, Shush I'm Counting, Dianne did the shawlette version (the green one you like). The pattern is available for free download and I will include a link with the designer's name, sorry, Ican't think of it right this second. But, if you use Ravelry, search Ginko Shawl and it will come up.

I tried to find a way to e-mail you this info, but couldn't. Hope you enjoy both this one and the rayon boucle one. blessings ~ tanna

Days at Buttermilk Cottage said...

Tanna,
I absolutlely could not have summed up my feeling for knitting any better than you did! Wonderful post. I'm going to send a link to it to everyone in my weekly knitting group! I find it wonderful that your Dad taught you to knit! Neither my Mom or sister knit, but I did teach my daughter Kate when she was quite young. She's now at that place where she has no interest, but I believe someday in her life she will come back to it and it will be the solace to her it is to me. I love that you're a knitter!
Best,
Susan

Debbie said...

You had me from start to finish! First, I loved that your dad taught you. Then, I loved how you compared it to life and just going back to fix the errors or "frogging" it all. (Done that.)

My favorite part of all was the comparison to dance. This old composition teacher just LOVED that.

It's Just Dottie said...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful story today. You are very special.Dottie

Buttercup said...

You're inspiring me. My mother was a fabulous knitter. She knitted during WWII and then didn't knit until I was in college. I don't think I have her talent -- suits and coats -- but maybe it's time to try again. Your pictures are great.

Annette said...

Oh thank you so much for doing a post on it. I love the way that so many have commented on how much knitting means to them, and even tho we might "drop it" for awhile, we come back and "pick it up" later in life. It's such a wonderful skill. Last night I thought of you at 3 a.m. when I was finishing up a shawl and mindlessly knitting! My 21yo daughter learned to knit up in Gig Harbor, Wash one year when we were on vacation. She just finished a shawl and a scarf in one week, she said she's taking a break! I'm going to go check out the Ginko pattern. I'm not sure if I'm up for such an intricate pattern though! annettetracy@roadrunner.com

Dianne said...

Beautiful creations! I'm a lifetime beginner knitter and really should work on getting past this stage! Thanks for the inspiration...

Katherine said...

Thanks for sharing the history of your hobby! How special it is for you. So glad you have this as something you truly enjoy! What a blessing! :)

Jennifer said...

Hello, Tanna! I agree completely; knitting is a balm for my soul. My friend taught me several years ago. I still only knit stitch but I don't care. I love to see a length of scarf growing on the end of my needles, the beautiful colors, the feel of nubby yarn. A couple of hours knitting restores some quiet to my spirit.

podso said...

This is a wonderful post...your passion shines through! And it's inspiring! It really is a beautiful thing--how knitting is mostly handed down from one person to another...more so than learning via a book or online. It makes it so personal. And you are right about how soothing it is. Love this post! Hope its cooler where you are but my guess is it isn't. Certainly not here.

Amanda said...

It's funny to learn something new about your mom through a blog post. I had no idea that Pawsie taught you to knit, although it doesn't surprise me. You are like him in that you have many, many talents. He was a continual learner in life, and you share that with him.

I loved the gentle reminder at the end about not starting out with a PhD. When I do have a few minutes to attempt this again, I will tell myself that over and over again. (Oh, and I smiled to know that you, too, once didn't have the patience with trying to figure out what to do when a mistake was made -- that's so much of what I felt on the bunny/goat hat.)

I love your passion and excellence for all things in life. You continually amaze me. Love you bigger than the sky, to the moon and back. XOXOXOXOXO

no spring chicken said...

Tanna, this is a beautiful post. So well written. And SO encouraging. I think I'll always be amazed when I learn someone so skilled has not been knitting her whole life. Therein lies the encouragement. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks. And the old dog just may outdo the young ones!

Blessings, Debbie

Cheryl @ The Farmer's Daughter said...

Hi Tanna, I don't knit but this beautiful post makes me want to learn. Have a great day!

Cindy said...

Thank you for telling us your story, it's very interesting. I don't knit, but I do sew and I understand the love of creating something from seemingly nothing.
~Cindy

Shug said...

Thanks Tanna for this post...I would love to knit. looks so interesting and so relaxing...

I appreciate the info for the rug hooking...tried to send you and email, but for some reason my email will not go through on blogger...Didn't have your email address to send you a message on my home mail site. I can not wait to take the rug hooking and then next///knitting..
blessings to you...

Catherine said...

Dear Tanna, What a touching story. I love the beauty that is created with a simple piece of string. Blessings, Catherine xo

Jill from Killeny Glen said...

What a charming store. What a charming story too! I love it that you learned to knit from your Dad! My Nana is an amazing knitter and I have always felt sad that I have NOT taken it up...maybe I will...someday. YOU inspire me!

Tricia @ Saving room for dessert said...

Therapeutic is a great way to describe hand work. I love painting, sewing but haven't knitted in a long long time! Your creations are beautiful as is your writing. You inspire!

California Girl said...

I agree "knitting is a woman's art", I just wish I knew how to do it. My mother was a wonderful knitter. She tried teaching me but I didn't pick it up very well and I was into crewel work at the time. Now she's gone. Always loved the yard, the colors. You've captured them beautifully. Looks like a terrific knit shop.

I've posted your "Sunflower" to my Empty Nest" blog. It looks great!

Robin Norgren said...

I enjoyed reading this post so much and connected with it on MANY LEVELS. Time for me to find a local circle of crocheters.

R-Eight said...

Tanna, If I wasn't already homesick for Rose Path, I am now. Wonderful writing and really beautiful pictures.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Really great post!! Your pictures are really good and that store is adorable. I am new to your blog and I am so glad that I found it!!

Betsy said...

Beautiful yarns! I can see why it would be so fum and inspiring to browse through all of those lovely selections! The ladies look like they have fun working there, too!

Leontien said...

Hi Tanna!
It is funny your enthousiasm is just radiating from my laptop! haha

Glad you had a "hobby" that you enjoy so much! And Thank You for your comment on my withdrawal post!
Leontien

Carol............. said...

Those yarns are so beautiful and the many colors! WOW.

My dance with knitting would be intense...probably intense enough to stab a finger with the tip of the needle. LOL/

Seriously, I really like your analogies.

Ana said...

Hi Tanna,
How sweet that your Dad thouhgt you how to knit...I was thought by a lady that hurt our family very much so knitting, at this moment just has a bit of a sour taste to it...I don't know if that makes any sense. But happily, through your blog and all your beautiful work I believe that is changing :-) You have made me want to knit again...I should just pretend I learned how to knit from you :-) Thank you for sharing your knitting story. Have a wonderful day my friend...Oh, and when you have a sec. come on over...I'm having a giveaway.

Hugs and Kisses,
♥Ana

Catherine said...

Hello Tanna, Just dropping by to say hello and wish you a beautiful weekend. I hope the weather is a little bit cooler for you and yours. Blessings, Catherine xo

Donna Lynn Grace said...

I have tried to learn to knit a couple of times. It seems my left-handedness causes me some issues. I see everything backwards. I think I simply need to learn to knit as a right-hander. It will make everything easier. Thanks for the motivation to not give up.

Donna Lynn Grace said...

I have tried to learn to knit a couple of times. It seems my left-handedness causes me some issues. I see everything backwards. I think I simply need to learn to knit as a right-hander. It will make everything easier. Thanks for the motivation to not give up.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Tanna you must be very busy knitting something very special! Hope you are staying cool!

Catherine said...

Dear Tanna, Just dropping by to say hello and how are you? I hope all is well and you are doing o.k. with the heat. It has been a humid summer here. I have hear that it is very hot where you are to say the least. Well, you are in my thoughts. Be well, blessings Catherine xo

Janie2 said...

I am so impressed that your dad taught you to knit. I know a man that knits, and another man that sews. Did your mom ever want to knit too? Your history of knitting is much like mine. On and off at different stages in my life. I agree with your idea of knitting to be therapy. It is very relaxing when you are on a pattern that is not complicated. I am telling ya the yarn is coming out soon around here.

La Table De Nana said...

You write so well!

And you're an amazing knitter.
How dear your dad taught you!

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