Life List #41: Learn to knit.
Most times, when there’s something you want to learn, you seek out a class, a teacher, a workshop, a YouTube video. Or, you know, you procrastinate and don’t do anything about it at all…
But, other times, a teacher finds you. And then that teacher clubs you over the head, drags you into your office’s kitchen, buys you a ball of yarn, and yells, “KNIT!.”
My coworker, Meg, is an amazing knitter. She always has a project on her and is always wearing something, be it a hat or a shawl or a pair of socks, that she’s knit herself. And they are always gorgeous pieces.
When she found out that learning to knit was on my life list she enthusiastically offered to teach me.
I was hesitant. Mostly because I’ve been taking on a lot lately and it was just one more thing I didn’t know if I’d have time for. And partially, because I just wasn’t sure I’d get it. And I just wasn’t sure I’d like it.
But she assured me that it was easier than it looked and that it was okay if I didn’t like it. She would teach me to make a hat and if I didn’t want to continue after that, it was fine. I didn’t have to. And, hey, I’d at least get a hat out of it.
So, I said okay, and she bought me a pair of circular needles and a hank of pink marbled yarn, and we’d meet in the kitchen during lunch or after work so she could teach me knits and purls and casting.
We’d knit at lunch when we both were free and then I’d knit some more at home until I made a mistake. Sometimes I’d go a few rows before something went wrong Other times, half a row. I’d knit three times instead of two, missing a purl. I would drop a stitch. There would be a hole that didn’t look like it belonged.
In the morning, when I’d see her come into the office, I’d yell across the room, “Meg! I screwed up!” And she tried assuring me, perfectionist that I am, that the mistake wasn’t that big of a deal. And she’d fix it for me and try to show me what I did wrong. Sometimes, though, I’d do something so weird even she didn’t know what I’d done. And sometimes she wouldn’t fix it at all and say it was fine.
She tried to teach me that knitting isn’t about perfection.
Something I still can’t quite grasp.
Honestly, I’ve liked knitting because it gives me something to do that doesn’t involve a computer. Between sitting at my desktop all day at work, mindlessly scrolling through my phone on the train, blogging, freelance work, and a million other things, I spend most of my waking life (and some of my sleeping life too) staring at a glowing screen.
And it gives me an excuse to leave my desk at lunchtime, to not just work through over a Lean Cuisine.
And it gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I mean, you guys, I made a hat.
I made that hat. I made a hat that looks like something you’d actually buy in a store. I made a hat that I was wearing when a friend asked me what it was that I had been knitting. I made a hat that actually, truly, functions as a hat.
I’m not going to lie, it wasn’t until I was putting the final stitches at the top, closing up that small little gap, that it finally clicked for me.
Until that moment I never thought it was going to look like an actual hat.
And then, all of a sudden, it just did.
When I was just about done, just had a few more rows to go, Meg sent me to the local yarn store to pick up the double pointed needles I’d need to finish.
I came out with those, a new hank to make a matching scarf, and two more to knit some things for friends.
“The transition is complete!” Meg texted me back when I told her about my purchases.
And, I suppose, it is. I have learned to knit. I am a knitter.
Am I an expert knitter? No. I still make mistakes I don’t yet know how to fix. I still spend two rows knitting in the wrong direction and then tear everything apart and throw it across the room crying. I still make sure that one little spot in my hat where the rows don’t line up goes in the back when i wear it.
But I may just be in the running for worlds’s okayist knitter.
And I’m okay with that.