To me, knitting is about community and rebelling against consumer culture. I don’t think a day goes by where I don’t pick up the needles, and I’m sure that some of my professors are less than thrilled with my nervous stitching. I’ve been known to knit at parties, on buses and even while standing in line.
My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was 11 years old. Since then, knitting has been a major part of my life. My grandmother learned the craft in school, when her sixth grade teacher had the entire class knit blanket squares for soldiers. When she tells me this story, she reiterates: “Even the boys learned to knit! We knit during our lessons. My teacher would sew the squares together and send them off to the soldiers.”
It became apparent to me how universal knitting is a few years ago, when my friend Haruka and I began knitting together. Haruka is from Japan, and sometimes we have difficulty communicating. She wanted to make a stuffed toy for her friend’s birthday but couldn’t find a Japanese pattern to work from. We sat side by side and step by step, we both constructed a tiny plush heart. Knitting served as a language for us, a way to communicate with each other when words failed.
Knitting is an integral part of who I am, and it always will be. It is more than my hobby, more than my job. Knitting binds me to my ancestors and gives me a sense of community and accomplishment with every stitch I make.
Excerpts of the above appeared originally in the Daily Kent Stater, February 2009