Search This Blog

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How Knitting Rescued Me, and A Knitted Christmas Ornament

Knitting really did rescue me! As I prepare for my first knitting-related interview, to be broadcast on, I'm realizing that there is a really cool story behind KNITFreedom, and I wanted to share it with my lovely readers! I really believe in this business and as I try to make it work, teaching people to become Knitting Superstars over the internet, it helps to remember why I started this anyway...

I learned to knit just after I graduated high school, using a book called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Knitting and Crocheting. I read every single page, following every instruction and illustration, until I got to the end of the book. I made every project, one by one, in the exact order described. With terrible yarn, I have to say! But we've all got to start somewhere.

Knowing that hardly anyone learns or reads books like this, it's helped me to think of how I want to put together my own knitting courses. Since I specialize in teaching intermediate knitters, I didn't worry too much about this in the beginning. Now that I'm starting to reach a wider audience and teach beginners as well, I'm trying to make sure every project is hip and awesome, and I give yarn suggestions that are reasonably-priced but that you won't hate once you know better.

About seven years after I learned to knit, I forgot I knew how to do it. How could this have happened? Unbeknownst to me, I developed a full-blown eating disorder. Given my rigid upbringing and inflamed by ideas in magazines and on TV, and the general mid-twenties success-test, I'm not surprised. What was weird was I didn't even notice!

Dieting became my full-time hobby. I thought that weight loss was the one thing to by which to measure one's success - the one thing to talk about, think about, and plan about. (Lack of food will do this to anyone - it's scientifically proven.) I only realized something was going on when my beloved roommate finally cried, "Can we talk about something else??!"

Luckily, my family was able to support me in going to an Eating Disorder clinic, where I learned the habits of normal eating and normal socializing. And there was the craft woman. She brought scrapbooking projects, collage crafts, and other stuff I couldn't care less about. The day she brought knitting needles and yarn was an epiphany.

As she was showing all the girls how to cast on for a felted purse, I was thinking, "Wait, I know how to do this already! How could I have forgotten?" On my next break, I got yarn for the Flap-Top Mittens in Melanie Falick's Handknit Holidays, and completed them within a couple weeks. I also started helping the other girls - picking up dropped stitches, reminding them how to cast on (and showing them a better, easier way), encouraging them... this all came so naturally to me. I loved it!

I "graduated" soon after, and returned home to Bozeman, able to eat normally but lacking a job or purpose in life. I was knitting like crazy, and spending so much time at my LYS, Stix, that the employees started recognizing my voice on the phone! I learned Magic Loop from Beverly Galeskas' little pamphlet, before any of the employees took any notice of this awesome technique.

By the time they offered me a job, my phone number was already written on the employee contact list! For the next year, I lived and breathed yarn. I helped so many people learn to knit, and (even more fun for me), learn to fix their own mistakes. I started re-writing people's patterns that they brought in, saying, "Why would they have you do it this way? This is so hard and confusing! Why don't you just... take a seat while I re-write this for you..."

My passions for helping people and doing stuff better had started to bloom.

Next week: The Grand Search

Now: A fast holiday ornament project you can do in the round (on Magic Loop of course) with a little leftover yarn. This isn't my pattern, but it's a great one that lets you practice lace AND Magic Loop at the same time - let's see how good your skills are!

This pattern is by Judy Sumner and is a free download. If you get stuck, post your comments HERE or in the KNITFreedom Group on Ravelry, so we can all learn from your questions!

Other good news: I'll be appearing on Salt Lake City's KUTV 2News This Morning next Thursday! I'll be teaching the anchors how to knit! More details coming as soon as I have them.


  1. What courage you have! It's awesome and inspiring of you to share your story with everyone!

  2. Thank you for sharing that personal glimpse of yourself with us, your readers. I love learning what makes people tick. It's so neat how you came to realize your passion, and how it's evolved, and will continue to do so, no doubt!