Recently I find myself teaching people to knit left and right. I love it. I love watching how people approach a ball of yarn for the first time, with the hopeful intent to turn it into something purposeful. Some are quite hesitant, while others jump straight in. Some people make stitch after stitch, not caring how many mistaken yarn overs and dropped stitches appear on their needles. They are delighted and tickled, watching loops form and multiply. Others are slow and deliberate, focusing on every new stitch, being precise and intentional with their movements. There are so many different ways to approach knitting, and I love being there when friends fumble their way through their first stitches.
I love watching a select few become so smitten with knitting that I know they will be knitting long after I leave. Others only knit when I’m around. I’m not sure if that says more about me or them, but I can’t complain because it seems I always have company when I knit these days.
Which is just lovely, especially after having no consistent knitting crowd for the first two years of my knitting life. I had one good friend who knit on the island, but she lived far enough away that knitting dates were hard to come by. At Squam last June I was introduced to the wonderful world of knitting with others who are as into the art as I am, and since then I have been dreaming of finding this community of knitters in my life. With frequent relocations in the past few months and not knowing where exactly my home will be (oh the life of an archaeologist) this has been difficult. So instead I have started to create knitters in the people around me to satisfy this need. Currently a few of the Monticello archaeology crew have been willing and eager to learn how to knit. The girl I am staying with learned to knit less than two months ago and has already finished a hat, bunny slippers, and is on her first sweater now!
Perhaps one of the most interesting experiences has been teaching my first guy how to knit. Now, I know that every male is just as capable of knitting as a woman, and both genders produce equally interesting and beautiful knitting. But I do feel that it takes some guts to go against the grain and actually learn to knit. In honor of Craig’s interest in learning to knit we had a “Manly Knitting Night” last week in which we balanced yarn and needles with beer and banjos.
Craig was an amazing student. It was interesting, not only teaching a guy, but to teach someone left handed. Plus, Craig falls into the very precise learners. It required a lot of time to get each movement down, but he insisted on doing every step perfectly in order to get the correct muscle memory. I think it worked, because his product is beautiful! These are his first stitches ever folks! Look how nice and even they are. He even ended with the same number of stitches he started with!