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T O P I C    R E V I E W
kidknits Posted - 03/18/2008 : 4:23:42 PM
When I was in college, no one I knew knitted: just me. When I was a mother of young children, no one I knew knitted: just me. When my youngest was in pre-school, I had a friend who went to Stitches East with me at the Cherry Hill Race Track (people thought we were very strange to go to "a what? a knitting convention??"). When my kids were a little older, I gained a friend who knitted. And suddenly, in the last five years, it seems that everyone knits (which is a good thing because now I have lots of friends who knit).

But where did we all come from? Has the world always been populated by knitters but the internet has made everyone accessible to each other? Or did we spontaneously generate (like the yarn in our stashes does when left alone in the dark)?
20   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Kathleen-NYC Posted - 03/27/2008 : 12:42:39 PM
I grew up with some sort of needle(s)in my hands.

All the women in my family and extended family sewed, knitted, crocheted and did other handwork. My sister and I learned by making things for our dolls, then for ourselves, and then for our homes and others.

As children - we embroidered our pillowcases and towels, crocheted lace edging on handkerchiefs.

I can't imagine what my life would have been like without the handcrafts.
jinniver Posted - 03/23/2008 : 6:46:07 PM
Reading through all the posts, I was interested by the number of people who give credit to the internet for connecting them with all of the other knitters. It stands in such stark contrast to all of the concerns about how the internet is feeding a trend of people becoming more anti-social and only communicating electronically. Yet we're using it not only to communicate electronically--as we do here--but to find fellow knitters for face-to-face contact. In fact, after complaining that there weren't any local knitting groups in my area, I visited a blog I found the link to here; jumped from that blog to another one that was linked to in a post; learned about on that second blog; and did a search for "knitting" and my zip code. Turns out two knitting groups have been started up in my area recently!

Jen, 33 y/o Navy wife with 3 y/o son and 4 month old daughter

Last project - "Ugg" booties for my niece in black and hot pink complete! (See them here!)
WIP - Baby quilting and bedding for my daughter's crib; a long garter knit scarf with ribbon yarn
Next project - Knitted shoes for my baby girl from "Baby Knits"

The Sarah Winchester of Fiber Arts
elkymama Posted - 03/23/2008 : 4:57:32 PM
The current community of knitters is wonderful. If it weren't for KR, I wouldn't be knitting at all.

I learned to knit at age 10, then stopped and started several times. An aunt taught me how to knit "Continental" in 1982 and I knit a lot for about 10 years.

I stopped knitting because I couldn't figure out why my stitches were twisted. Knitting in the round was fine. Knitting flat, the stitches were twisted and the rows were erratic. I didn't know how to correct the problem, my aunt had died, I didn't know any other knitters and I didn't find much about Continental knitting in any of the knitting books I found in the library.

In summer of '05, I visited a yarn shop while on vacation in Connecticut and was dazzled by all the self-patterning sock yarns.
I wondered if I could even remember how to cast on.

Within a month, I found Knitters Review and learned more about Combined knitting techniques than I'd ever known before. I really enjoy the online knitting community.

In January I started a knitting group in Summerville SC and have really enjoyed meeting other local knitters in person.

Sara Sue Posted - 03/23/2008 : 2:00:36 PM
My grandmother taught me to crochet when I was a little girl. My mother taught me to sew. My MIL always had a piece of needlework of some sort by her side. I didn't know how to knit and had always wanted to learn so when I retired in Sept. at the age of 61, I taught myself from books and DVDs and then I discovered KR. I've recently taught a friend whose husband is very ill with cancer and she and I spend a lot of time together when she gets a break knitting and relaxing. She says that knitting has saved her sanity during the hours she spends in Drs. offices and hospitals.
Texasknitter Posted - 03/23/2008 : 12:39:50 PM
That is so wonderful that prior generations taught ya'll to knit. No one in my family knit or crochet at all. I had to get a step-mom who was a fiber artist. She retired and knit and crochet and spun and wove. She did the most wonderful stuff. So she taught me just about a year before it became popular.
I did scarves for about a year before I had the nerve to do other things. Now I am doing and trying all sorts of things. But the best part is that I have become confident enough to teach others. I started a work group, and joined another at my library. It expanded to the net, now I have all sorts of friends.
Plus it is very calming to knit. I can tell if I start to become impatient with people that I have not knitted in a while.
Thans for all your stories.
scraffan Posted - 03/22/2008 : 4:38:09 PM
I took up knitting after I graduated from Grad school.
I was so used to learning/studing/doing that I didn't know what to do without it.
I was looking around a craft store and an employee suggested that I go to a LYS that was offering classes.
I went and took classes. I still go every other week for knitting (not necessarily for help).
I found a lot of friends through the internet. thanks to both KR and Raverly. Thanks to Raverly I am in my first knitting competition
Also I think I accidently designed a hat!
Janbie Posted - 03/21/2008 : 5:16:52 PM
I just taught myself how to knit. Coming from a very un-crafty family - the most complicated thing I ever did beforehand was sew on popped off buttons - I think I'm doing alright. And love having the community here and at Ravelry.

The KnitWit Copywriter
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and take a look around once in a while, you could miss it." Ferris Bueller
2trees Posted - 03/21/2008 : 4:31:28 PM
My mom taught me how to knit when I was 10. I kept at it here and there thru high school, but NOBODY else knit, and I sure wouldn't have done it in public! When my older son was a baby, I made him a sweater and then put away the needles for a decade. We moved cross-country and got internet access, and I was stunned to see how trendy knitting had gotten. I still can't quite believe how big it is. Posted - 03/21/2008 : 4:04:46 PM
I agree that the internet has been a driving force in connecting knitters. Just look at this forum. The "good" yarns have helped too. I knitted in high school. Stopped for awhile and then decided to get back to it by taking classes at a local yarn shop. That's where I've been ever since. The yarn shop offers a variety of classes as well as Knitter's Night and Knitters Day Out once a month. These are "sit and knit" sessions that last 5 hours with food. Always very enjoyable.
abt1950 Posted - 03/21/2008 : 3:05:55 PM
I have recessive fiber genes on both sides of the family. My mother did nothing except a little social embroidery, so she must have had only one copy of the fiber gene. But my paternal grandmother, who died before I was born, must have had it-I have a couple of quilts that she made. I got the other copy of the gene from my mother's mother, who could do anything--sew, knit, croceht, embroider.

My grandmother tried teaching me to knit when I was young, but it didn't take--she wasn't the best teacher in the world. I learned and/or retaught myself several times and eventually got to the point where I didn't need to reteach myself anymore. I've knit, crocheted, and needlepointed with varying intensity over the years, depending on my mood and the availability of decent quality yarn. I stopped during the Great Yarn Drought of the 90's and only picked it up again a few years back when I saw someone at work struggling to learn. I've been kniotting fanatically ever since.

There have been a few times during my knitting career when I've been able to hang out with other fiber people, but a lot of the time I haven't. The internet has been wonderful for that--I've grown a lot as a knitter by seeing what other people are doing, and I found my current SNB by hanging out on KR.

The funny thing is that most of my closest friends from high school knit, but I never knew it until much later.

Anne in NJ

Knit long and prosper
Jane Posted - 03/21/2008 : 05:16:40 AM
I was a lone knitter for a very long time (I taught myself in about 1979 -- I'm a little fuzzy on it at this point!). I was working as a weaver and spinner, and knitting just seemed like a natural step to take. I took a few breaks here and there, but never for too long.

A trip to Rhinebeck and discovering KR was all it took to ignite the fire again. My knitting life is so full and rewarding because of the internet and all the wonderful connections and friendships I've made -- Marg is so right when she calls it a blessing!

The knitter formerly known as jcc28

Blog: Not Plain Jane
Photos: My Flickr Album
Marg in Mirror Posted - 03/21/2008 : 05:00:42 AM
I learned to knit at about age 8. My grandmothers had been knitters, and Mom (who taught me), my aunt and my godmother all knit. It was the '60s, though, so no one else my age knit, far as I could tell. I made a pair of over-the-knee stockings in high school -- royal blue in a simple lace pattern -- and they were considered terrific -- but 'weird' by my friends. (They looked great with my miniskirts, though!)

Even as an adult, I seemed to be a lone knitter (hence the moniker, 'The Lady Who Knits On The Bus'), so discovering KR and a local guild (now in its 26th year), almost at the same time, was a double blessing.


Marg in Calgary

Jessica-Jean Posted - 03/20/2008 : 10:15:38 PM
At age 8, I pestered my grandmother to teach me to knit. Her knitting bag never moved from the back of the bedroom door, except when she finally gave in to my pleas. Then, not to be outdone by her mother, my mother taught me to crochet. She never knit until long after grandma's death, but she crocheted a lot - it took her years to finish a thread-crocheted bedspread for a double bed.
I never really stopped knitting or crocheting since learning back in 1954. There may have been dry spells when I just didn't have any yarn, but I never just put the needles and hooks aside the way I did my embroidery - permanently. I was the only female who could sit in a crowded subway car with plenty of space around me; no one wanted to be too near the long, US #1 needles I was wielding inexpertly as a pre-teen!
In all my years of knitting, it was only with the Internet that I finally managed to find other knitters when I had time to do so. In my working years, I did occasionally run into one in passing, but one or both of us had somewhere else to get to and there was no time to get to know each other. Once in a doctor's waiting room, a woman did admire something I was making. I freely handed her my only copy of the pattern book with my address on a slip of paper. The book did return by mail some weeks later.
Knitters have always been around. Most of the old yarn shops closed and no one had any way to find another knitter. Just hanging around the yarn section of Wal-Mart in hope of another knitter coming along is not fun. Magazines let one know there were others "out there". It was simply too hard to find any nearby! Thanks to all the developers of the Internet, we can easily find one another now!!
lld Posted - 03/20/2008 : 5:55:48 PM
I can't remember my Mom ever NOT knitting. In fact all of the women on my maternal side knit and/or crochet. What was intimidating to me was how well & fast my mother knit. In addition to crochet, sewing & quilting, I knit off & on for as many years back as I can recall but it took me until just the last decade or so to realize I didn't have to knit as well or as fast as my mother. I just had to relax more and enjoy the process itself. Until then it was a lot more "off" than "on," 'cuz I'd keep thinking I should be doing better/faster, etc. Since then I've ALWAYS had one or typically more things on the needles and for the last several years nearly always have something to work on with me. Funny, it turns out I might even knit as well as my mom now (my grandmother says "at least"- we have a dinner & knitting//catch-up visit nearly every week)- but I don't think as fast. It was actually pretty funny when I really got going non-stop and was learning/trying all sorts of new things. My mom actually was all excited when she got to try felting before me, hehehe.

I don't know anyone who knits that I work with but there's a lot of really fun conversations generated by my projects :-). When I go someplace like the hair salon they always ask what I'm working on now. Then just a few years ago I taught myself to spin, followed by weaving. I love the flexibility to be able to make all these things and am blessed with a family that usually truly appreciates them.

My daughter doesn't like to knit (I suspect this could change someday) but she learned to crochet this past year and is inventing her own patterns as often as not.

I do find that having the internet contact as well as the occasional (and growing in numbers) friends who knit helps keep me motivated to finish things, even when they turn into one of those "problem" projects.
eldergirl Posted - 03/20/2008 : 5:00:33 PM
Remember when all we had was acrylic yarn? That would be the '70's. I learned to knit in the '40's from my grandmother and my mom.

I spent 10 years in Britain as a student and newlywed, in the late '50'5 and early '60's. There was lovely wool yarn everywhere. I am knitting just now with a handspun scottish shetland 2ply lace yarn that I bought in Edinburgh in 1960!
So after the acrylic '70's, there was the womens' lib 80's and a few sweaters that looked like huge unshaped boxes with huge shoulder pads, and some very nice stuff too, but always with puffed sleeeves. I started knitting again in the '80's when I lived in Austin, TX. In the ' 90's I kept knitting, got seriously into stash enhancement, but had to fight off all that trashy sparkly clown yarn.
FINALLY in the 2000's, the young'uns got on the internet and "discovered" knitting, the yarn providers breathed again, patterns became pretty again (like in the '30's and '40's) and life is good.
So there ARE lots more of us now! I kind of wonder if anybody else remembers the good old days of acrylics (which we might have knit up while we wore our polyester pants suits! )
Hi everybody, Anna Posted - 03/20/2008 : 10:40:50 AM
For me, I finally started knitting when it started fitting in with my lifestyle. I went from being single, living in California, and commuting to work full time; to getting married, moving to Oregon, and working part time from home. I needed a new hobby, and warmer clothes. My aunt and a friend of my mom's had taught me to knit at different times when I was a kid, and I crocheted my baby sister a blanket when I was a teen. But, as an adult, the only person I knew who knit was another of my sisters, and she still lived in CA, so I checked out some library books and taught myself to knit. It's like I'd been a knitter in a previous life - I picked it right up. That was 3 years ago, and I'm going strong. I always either alter the pattern or make up my own - I'm 30, and I think if I'd had the Internet and yarn selection that exists now when I was a young teen, I would have knit like a fiend back then, and just think where I'd be now. As it is, I think I'll never have enough time to knit everything I want to. Oh, well. I've found my perfect hobby. I love how it's portable, and produces useful and beautiful garments and accessories. I'm very creative but very practical and knitting satisfies both those qualities.
gwtreece Posted - 03/20/2008 : 09:53:05 AM
Great-Grandma and my Great Uncle crocheted and taught me. My Great Uncle is still crocheting today. My 4-H taught me to knit and I still do both depending on what I want to do. I had more inperson knitter friends living in CA. Now most of my knitter friends are online. In AR, I was introduced to the evil world of spinning and love it.

My Blog
Ravelry - gwtreece
FibersFan Posted - 03/20/2008 : 08:55:51 AM
Well, I'm nearing 59 and I learned to knit when I was 10. Over the years knitting has been perceived as a very haus frau, grandmotherly, type activity. I have also worked outside my home in a corporate environment, full-time for many of those years so that image just didn't correlate. I guess I just kept quietly stitching, reading and learning. It is extremely refreshing the last few years to be able to see and share with so many like-minded souls. It's out in the open, recognized as a valid skill/art and has gained respect.

In recent years there are also a lot of very quick and bright-minds who have contributed to the skill/art with innovations in method and design and have, thus, contributed to knitting truly having credibility and value as a pursuit for skill building and the creation of art as well as downright useful items. With the Harvard study that equates the relaxation value gained from knitting to that of Yoga, it has broad appeal.

So...some of us are new converts and some are resurrected. I'm just pleased to see so many!!!
tink_r_bell Posted - 03/20/2008 : 08:48:02 AM
It was a stormy and snowy day in Billings MT, I was about 7 or 8. Maternal grandma and size 13 wooden knitting needles, cotton dish cloth attempted. Tears.[:((]

I still have those needles and love to use them as it is a tie to Tillie. Went through needlepoint, crewel, embroidery, Xstitch (which I loathed - one count off, and poof a lopsided something!), sewing (I was terrible at it, except for Halloween costumes.), crochet (a bedspread that grew and grew and grew some more and a sweater for DH).

My mom knitted and knitted well. I still have a hat that she knitted for me in the late 50's, and a top and skirt she knitted for herself in the early 50's. (Unfortunately it doesn't fit me.) I started knitting again in 1984 in Portland, OR. I dragged a friend to a LYS and off we went. Lots of sweaters for a 5 yo and to be baby boy. I bought a ball winder for $14.95! And a girls' night out without husbands and kids! We moved a lot so knit a lot, but alone. Then tennis and tournaments, golf (another thing I am terrible at, and gave up), kids activities, and work. I started again in Jan 2005 with the scarf trend in Fun Fur (yikes) and have been at it since. I knit everywhere, office, seminars, at home, in the car and in public. Our LYS has had some classes lately and the owner is a friend. There is one woman at work who crochets and another who does Xstitch, but no knitters. I know 5 or six in the school district, at schools, but we don't see each other very often.

My cousin in Billings has taken up knitting so I have been helping her long distance. She started with a felted bag.

I am grateful for KR and the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I visit. Thank you all so much!

Steph ;-}

To err is human, just try not to over do it.
lucysandy Posted - 03/20/2008 : 08:40:25 AM
I still feel that I am one of few knitters. I did drag my grown daughter with me to lessons 2 years ago and she does like to knit, but has a full time job and 3 kids, so she can only knit so much. My mother-in-law knits ( I talk to her about knitting all the time), but everyone else still gives me that look when I am either knitting in public, at home or talk about yarns, knitting, etc. The shop owners are wonderful people, but you can only go there so much, or I would have 2 spare rooms full of my stash (which isn't a bad thing)! Speaking of shop owners, a shop where I go is hosting a Stephanie Pearl McPhee event and I already have my tickets and have reserved my book. I am sooo excited. Stephanie is my idol. I bow to Stephanie. Besides that, her books and her blog make me laugh all the time. That's why I'm so glad I joined this forum, everyone I talk to here shares the same passion I do.

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