I began knitting at around the age of 8 or 9, but only because I wanted to sit with my mom and the aunts and drink tea and knit. They gave me my own needles (which I still have) and got me started. I don't think I stuck with it for long as I don't really recall making anything recognizable and worthy of showing off. The sisterhood element did resonate with me though and I loved sitting there, drinking tea from the nice china cups, eavesdropping on some of the latest gossip and family drama, and clicking steadily.
Fast forward to my junior/senior years at Acton Boxborough high school. I was a kind of art major at a school that prided itself on having a very high percentage of graduates going onto college. I should have been focused on math and science, as they were not my strongest skills, but instead, I took as many art history and art classes as guidance would allow. At an awkward time where I was shy and trying to fly below the radar of the popular kids, I found myself most comfortable and accepted there, under the direction of Miss Bette Jo Betz. One of the many projects that I created at that time involved fiber, weaving and crochet. I even had slides for my portfolio so that I could apply to art school, but guidance and my parents counseled me that I would be more gainfully employed if I pursued Dental Hygiene ... oh the horror! Luckily I resisted their advice and worked for two years before heading to UMASS Amherst to major in Art History.
I set aside the yarn and needles for almost 15 years before I tried making baby sized things. I did knit a few sweaters for my girls when they were young enough to wear them proudly, despite the awful color combinations. A friend took me to Woolcot in Cambridge where I had my first real LYS experience! With virtually no money and little time, I bought some wooden needles and cotton yarn and tried to make something, but it was so hard and I had so many other distractions. The stuff was boxed up for another ten years.
As my girls got a bit older, I found I had more time to sit for more than eight minutes at a time. I returned to knitting around 2001 when I took up creating funfur/eyelash scarves that I sold to coworkers and anyone else with ready cash. I really loved combining colors and textures, and sold nearly $900.00 worth of scarves one year. But it was only garter stitch, and many slips and mistakes were well hidden in the textured yarns. I did love the color work though and the fact that I was earning back my yarn expenses and making a profit! Wow! Who needs to go to work full time if this holds out? Unfortunately, novelty yarns did not stay in vogue for long, so my stash was pushed to the back of the closet yet again.
I have been knitting pretty steadily for the past three or four years. I moved from garter stitch scarfs to hats, about two dozen of the same style... which I found in Knitting the Easy Way, a great book I found on the cheap at the Christmas Tree shop. That book has been like a bible to me as I tried new things. I used up so much of the stash I had left over from previous attempts, but I was using the same pattern and didn't know where to go for inspiration, direction or patterns.
The diversion of knitting kept me happy and occupied that winter as I listened to many books on tape; I was multi tasking like the best of them, knitting and reading at once! Little did I realize that I was on the cusp of great change. My life as I knew it would never be the same. I was starting down a slippery slope of addiction. At the time, I was accused of always reverting any topic of conversation back to knitting! Ok, I am exaggerating, but only by a little. I am still guilty of trying to railroad my side of the conversation back to what occupies my thoughts most of the time!
One day, as I was listening to NPR radio, they were talking about a website designed by a local couple. The site allowed you to view the work of other knitters, access a wide range of patterns, and create a history of projects, list needles and enter stash yarns. I joined Ravelry in March of 2009 and I have learned so much, tried so many complicated things, and met many, many wonderful, if virtual, people. Who knew Facebook could be superseded by fiber addicts? I always say that Ravelry is like Facebook but sooo much better. There does exist a place where people are helpful, tolerant, and as verbose as me! Jess and Casey have created a lively home for all of us that know of it. Now there are over a million Rav members. We will rise and take over the world, and make it a softer, warmer, more linty place!
I often feel like a missionary trying to convert Muggles (non-knitters) to this wonderfulwebsite and pastime. I have been known to approach strangers holding yarn and needles in Michael's to tell them about Ravelry and other LYS in the area. Luckily no one was creeped out to the point of alerting security!
So here I am , blogging like I chatter, on and on endlessly, about the one thing that has helped me channel creativity back into my life. The blogging was suggested by my oldest daughter. Perhaps she is hoping that anyone who reads these missives will lighten her burden of living with a fiber addict who never shuts up!