Friday, October 28, 2011

Friends and Knitters and The Beginning

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!

My awesome housemates!

(L to R: Michelle, Gab, Yvonne, Angela, Shameka, Deb, Kim, me, Kirsten and Meganne; awww, Stephanie was missing too!)

14 comments:

Laura said...

Aww this is so sweet! I feel the same way about knitting -- and the associated people -- enriching my life. Knitters are the best! xoxo

Kim said...

right back at ya! You told my knitting story exactly (albeit with different details, etc). Well said. I'm so amazed & grateful that knitting brought me so many wonderful friends like you!

Jessica said...

Love!! So true!!

gab-fab said...

Yes, absolutely agree!! And if it weren't for that train (and Kim's turn-a-square) who knows if I'd ever have met you? Shudder to think! xo

SJ said...

I feel pretty much exactly the same way about knitting. Were it not for knitting, I wouldn't have some very dear friends (including one in your picture!).

schrodinger said...

I hardly read blogs anymore. But I'm so glad I came to your to read this post <3

Thea said...

Lovely post - and beautiful, colorful picture of happy knitting buds!!

Michelle said...

Knitting has been so helpful for meeting new people. People just like you! :-)

Deborah-- said...

It truly is amazing how one craft can lead to so much enrichment in ones life. I am so glad that we got to meet. So much love for the Rhinebeck 12!

Yvonne said...

Agree, 1,000. I don't know where I'd be without people like you, Kim, SJ, Deb, Shameka, Steven, Chrissy...it is truly wonderful. :)

MoniqueB. said...

With this post you say it all! It is intertwined in a million lives!
The same thing happened to me, with the birth of our daughter I picked up knitting again and spiralled out of control since then! hahaha.

I couldn't miss it, and lóve the new friends I met and know. I've got plenty friends that I haven't seen IRL, but getting there.. hahaha.

Keep the choochoo going! You're on a roll

Meganne Fabrega said...

What a great post! Yarn and needles are great, but the community completes the picture.

Oiyi said...

Yay! So glad I got to meet you and so many great knitters. It was so much fun. It's one of my most memorable Rhinebeck visits.

WhitMc said...

I love this post--your knitting experience is very similar to mine. And I have to confess, I added your blog to my Google Reader based on the title alone. I commute to San Francisico everyday on the BART train and that is the bulk of my knitting time.