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 TheLastYearOfYourLife.com, I’m realizing that there is a 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 succeed at teaching people to become Knitting Superstars over the Internet, it helps to remember why I started.
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. I was a knitter and there was not looking back.
But then, about seven years after I learned to knit, I forgot I knew how to do it.
How could this have happened? The reason was that, unbeknownst to me, I developed a full-blown eating disorder.
Given my rigid upbringing, our obsessive thin-culture, and the stress of the general mid-twenties success-test, I’m not surprised. What was weird was that I didn’t even notice!
Dieting became my full-time hobby. I thought that weight loss was the thing by which one’s success was measured — the thing to talk about, think about, and plan about. (Lack of food will do this to anyone's brain — 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 slowly re-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, and I paid her no mind. Then one day she brought knitting needles and yarn. It was an epiphany.
As she was showing all the girls how to cast on for a felted purse, I was thinking, "Why is she showing them the knitted cast-on? The long-tail cast-on is so much faster!" and then - "Wait, I know how to knit! How could I have forgotten?"
On my next trip home, 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 their dropped stitches, reminding them how to cast on, encouraging them. And all these behaviors came so naturally to me. I loved it!
Soon after that, I "graduated" from the clinic and returned home to Bozeman, able to eat normally but lacking a job or purpose in life.
What I WAS doing 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 students learn to knit and 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 knitting, helping people, and making stuff better had started to bloom. The rest is history.
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 knitted Christmas ornament cover pattern is by Judy Sumner and is a free download.
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. Updated: watch the interview here.
Related Post: Live Your Dream — A Celebration of How Far We’ve All Come
Resources: If someone needs help - Avalon Hills Eating Disorder Treatment Center
If you liked this article on an eating disorder helped me rediscover knitting, post in the comments.