And by “pioneer,” I mean one of those brave souls who settled the American west in the mid-1800s. I sewed myself appropriate clothing and cobbled together the things I thought a pioneer girl would need: boots, a slate, a hand-sewn doll with an impressive (and equally hand-sewn) wardrobe. (Yep, that’s me, on the left.)
Several years before these seeds of pioneerdom were planted, my grandmother taught me to knit. I have a photograph of the two of us sitting on my parents’ back patio, working on the cream-colored afghan that’s still draped over their couch. My grandma has a knitting needle tucked behind one ear and a look of unruffled patience on her face as she points something out to me in our knitting. I am maybe five, gripping a working needle in each fist, tongue poking out between set lips, the very embodiment of novice focus and determination.
Together, these two tidbits sum up why I knit.
There’s something about the connection through time, the self-sufficiency, and the handmade ethos that keeps me casting on again and again. I never figured out how to make “professional pioneer” into a career, but the craft my grandmother so patiently passed on to me is almost as good. (Almost.)
Like so many of my fellow knitters, I haven’t been knitting since my earliest introduction to our craft.
I’ve started and stopped. I’ve gone through phases. But knitting has been there for me when I’ve needed it: for challenge or comfort, distraction or focus, relaxation or therapy or creative outlet — or sometimes, in the midst of motherhood, as the one thing that stays done at the end of the day.
Who am I beyond my knitting?
I am a book addict with no intention of ever “recovering.” Steer the conversation toward reading and we’ll talk for hours, even if I don’t get as much reading time these days as I’d like. Audiobooks have become my best friends. (Recommendations? Sure! Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell and Graceling by Kristin Cashore — though vastly different — are two of my very favorites.)
Seven-year-old me is one of my role models. (That’s her, on the left.) She wanted to be an artist. And a teacher. And an author. And a pioneer (as you already know). She lived full-out, laughed with abandon, and believed in herself and her dreams. I strive to be more like her every day.
I’m fascinated words, language, and communication. I’ve been known to swoon over a particularly excellent metaphor and have dabbled in several foreign languages, including German, Latin, and Sanskrit. In fact, I studied American Sign Language in college. ASL taught me to link communication with movement, improved my spatial skills a hundred-fold, and exposed me to some of the most beautiful poetry I’ve ever encountered. I miss using it every day.
I run on knitting (duh), yoga, tea, and kiddo snuggles. Also, football (the American kind). Ben Folds inspires me. Eddie Izzard makes me laugh.
Well, that depends on what you’d like to do. If you’re looking for patterns, I’ve got those. If you want to hang out on Ravelry, there’s a group for that. Or there’s Instagram, which is one of my favorite ways to keep in touch with knitterly types.
I hope to see you around!