It's amazing how something you love can change your life.
When I learned to knit in the late 90s, my grandmother handed me a ball of Lion Brand yarn and a long pair of straight aluminum needles. Armed with these two tools, I learned how to knit and purl...well, I attempted to learn. In the two years that followed, I made a few scarves, and 3.5 sweaters. And then I put my needles down. For a long time.
As most know, I knit periodically through the years: a baby blanket, a scarf, anything square or rectangular; but never anything "more".
After my daughter was born, everything changed. When Ramona was 7 or 8 months old we took a trip to Martha's Vineyard to visit my in-laws and something inside me said "bring some knitting". I started scouring the internet and discovered Knitty, and some knitter/bloggers like Stefanie Japel, Carrieoke and *Nonnahs. I felt a sense of excitement and decided to not only knit the sweater for my wee baby, but to keep going...knitting garments THAT FIT and learned new techniques like...yikes...CABLING! This led to socks and shawls and sweaters (mostly for myself). And then there was Ravelry!
I remember my friend, Alyssa, sent me an email that said "you have to sign up for this website! there's a waiting list but it says the list goes fast and you may only have to wait a few days to get on!". I kind of thought "wait, what? A knitting website with a waiting list? For reals?" So I looked into it and it asked for a user email to get on the list...and I panicked! I didn't want to use my "regular" email address. Was I going to be asked to set up a user name? These were tough decisions to make. Seriously...HARD. DECISIONS.
Seeing as I was doing most of my knitting on the train, the handle "choochooknits" seemed like the right fit. Yeah, some folks still wonder what it means, but once they hear about my commute on the train, well, it all falls into place.
Jump ahead several years. After my family, knitting is probably the next most important thing in my life. And when I said "knitting" I truly mean: friends, fibers, projects, patterns, etc. Because knitting has come to mean SO much more than just the actual act of working up yarn. It, quite literally, winds though my day-to-day existence to become the fabric of my life. I look at my project page on Ravelry and think "oh, I knit that on the train with my old knitting group and accidentally broke a dpn that day" or "I remember Gab seeing that I hadn't sewn my armhole closed as I was getting to head off to Rhinebeck S&W". Oh the times we've had.
I've made friends, both near and far...and while there are a few I've never met IRL, I consider them to be some of my closest friends in the world. And through these friends, I've met more knitter/friends and have been blessed by their kindness and generosity...as though we had known each other forever.
As testament to the power of knitting and the bond of strangers-turned-friends, I'll end this post with a photo of The Rhinebeck 12 (minus Misa, who was taking the photo)...my newest group of FRIENDS. I love you all!
(L to R: Michelle, Gab, Yvonne, Angela, Shameka, Deb, Kim, me, Kirsten and Meganne; awww, Stephanie was missing too!)