a question, or two

Monday, December 08, 2008

I have been taking photos for a new local magazine, minimagazine.
It is a complementary magazine that is small in size, but big with information.  It is the greatest little "throw in your bag" magazine that can be read from front to back in one short sitting. Filled with all sorts of hip/trendy/helpful/fun articles,  and has been so much fun to be part of.

In the upcoming issue, there is going to be an article on knitting.  So, I headed to Knit One, and took a lot of photos of yarn.  That part was easy.  
The next part is a little more difficult for me.  The questions of who, what and why.  I know why I knit.  But, I certainly don't want to speak for everyone. So, I was wondering if you could help me out?  And answer a question or two?

::how does knitting make you feel?
::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
::do most women/men like to knit in groups?  or alone?
::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
::what are the easiest items to begin with?
::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks?  a sweater?  a scarf?
::do you think it is expensive?
::what has to do with the resurgence?
::who is the coolest knitter you know?  (ha.  kidding)

If you don't mind picking one or two questions from the list, and answering them in my comment section, I would really appreciate it.  Also, leave your first name, and city/state/country.  I am not sure how exactly the article will play out, however, if your answer is used in the article, and your name quoted, I will be sure to send you a copy.

I'll go first.  And answer one question.
A story first.  Last summer, I was at the pool with the kids, and I met a friend of a friends.  I chatted for a bit, but soon my knitting was calling, and I had to return to my chair.  It was July when I declared it my "knitting for others" month.  And while my kids were occupied,  I knew I could get some quality knitting time in.  My friend later told me of the conversation that went on between two of the girls (women).  
"Leslie seems nice, but what is up with the f#*$*≈g knitting???"  
"I don't know, she just likes it. (pause) It keeps her lid on tight."

I loved that.  So for me?  I knit because it keeps my "lid on tight".

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  1. I just wanted to say what a fun & exciting project! And the story about the pool? Too funny. So good you didn't take offense because...it ain't nothin' but a thing! I've no doubt you'll get lots of great info for an article. Rock it! And a conitnued happy December holiday time.

  2. Knitting makes me feel busy and creative, which in turn helps me feel relaxed. If I'm working on a design, it also challenges my math skills (which is not relaxing). The ability to do algebra and geometry are things I never, ever thought I would need in my lifetime.

  3. ::how does knitting make you feel?
    knitting makes me feel creative, calm, and contemplative. it connects me to both the earth and to the people around me.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    i knit constantly. with wool.

  4. Anonymous12/08/2008

    Hah! I sent you an email. I have issues following instructions! The mini-mag looks great.

  5. Dear Friend to knit with,
    ten years ago I began to have scares (panic attack). I spend lot of time at home because I had an heavy fear of the world outside.
    It was in that moment that I began to ask my mother how does it work to knit.
    And after many years, in which I was able to come out from scares all alone, without medicines, wool and needles have been always with me.
    It has become a great passion of my life.
    I love to make gifts made by me to the people I love, because I think of them when I am doing something for them.
    I put love and warm thoughts in my works.
    Kintting is also a thing which is able to relax me when I want to stay disconneted from the rest of the world: it's my space. A space where I express myself.

    P.S.: I love your white sweater!!! :-)

  6. Anonymous12/08/2008

    Knitting makes me feel like I am making something different from what I may focus on most of the time. I picked it back up recently when I was feeling a little overwhelemed with graphic design projects, and it sort of kept my lid on tight too because I had to think about it, I still am not an avid knitter who can knit and do other things at the same time, and since I had to think about it, it caused me to be able to get my mind off of other stressful projects. It was a respite. I think that is the same reason I tend to have lots of different kinds of creative projects going on all the time.

    I learned from my grandmother a long time ago, but it didn't stick. I relearned on my own from the internet and friends this year.

    I'm a slow knitter. Partly due to inexperience and partly due to the multitude of other things I do all the time. So it's hard to say how long it takes me to knit anything. I knit a simple scarf in 6-8 hours once. But otherwise everything always has long breaks in the midst of the project, so I can't tell.

    I like knitting with a group, or with friends, because I can get help if I need it. But its hard for me to be chatty when I knit, since I still have to think about it when I do it. But I like the comraderie too. Generally I knit alone, or in the car or whatever with my husband. But sometimes I get together with others to knit.

  7. ::how does knitting make you feel?

    It makes me feel happy that I can create thing and happy when I can help others with their knitting

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    All of it! But I think mostly when an idea takes form and proves to work

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?

    I knit alone a lot, but I enjoy knitting with others more; they can understand and appreciate what you are doing.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    I was taught by my Aunt, but have also taught myself and I am sure learnt something from my Mother

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?

    A garter stitch scarf

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?

    I knit all year round and so does all of my knitting friends

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?

    I am known for never following a pattern or instruction to the letter; I always put my own mark on what I knit. Mostly I do not follow patterns.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?

    All depends on how it is going and how many other things I have on the go. Socks can be two days or more

    ::do you think it is expensive?

    It is only as expensive as you wish it to be; there is loads of cheap wool available.

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?

    Everything goes in cycles, always have done and always will do.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding)

    Hmm, if I take that as most inspiring to me, I would have to say Hotst Schulz.

    Well that was more than one question, but they were interesting to answer.

  8. That is an astonishingly funny story! And so very illustrative of the non-knitting world.

    I knit both as an active pursuit (not so relaxing) and to relax.

    I am more of a product knitter, but of course we all love the process or we wouldn't go to the trouble of making our own socks and sweaters, right? :)

    I learned on my own from books/mags and the internet. The internet was/is my #1 information source.

    I knit all year round.

    I think of the cost of yarn and materials not just in terms of the concrete "FO" I will get but from the hours of entertainment value as well as the satisfaction of knowing that I made it myself.

    I've wondered if part of the resurgence is the role of the internet in connecting people and information, ideas and inspiration. It's like there's a global stitch 'n bitch. Also, I wonder if part of it is a retreat from uber-materialistic social values and an increased appreciation for handwork of all kinds.

    Good luck! What an interesting topic.

    Jillian; South Pasadena, CA USA

  9. Anonymous12/08/2008

    Leslie, Knitting connects me with the grandmother whose life overlapped mine for only 29 years. Everytime I pick up the white needles with the red balls on the end, that she taught me to knit with, I feel a connection to her.

  10. how does knitting make you feel?...
    Knitting makes me feel like I am somehow connected to all the women who came before me. Doesn't that sound crazy? When I knit I often think about my great grandmother's who knit out of neccesity and not just for enjoyment. It makes me feel resourceful and quite clever that if my child needs a hat I can take some string and sticks and create them one. It makes me happy that in this age of electronics and emails that I am still doing something that many men and women in generations before me did as well. So many things change and it's nice to have something that remains the same.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    I knit all year long. I like to keep my hands busy, it keeps me calm. I do tend to work on smaller projects in the summer though.

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    It can be, but there are many ways to knit frugally as well. There are good basic wool yarns that are inexpensive, then there is knitpicks. I also do a lot with just regular dishcloth cotton. It works well for baby blankets and dishtowels for gifts.

  11. I learned to knit from my mother on my tenth birthday. I asked to learn how to knit for my birthday. I'm not sure why, but we were living overseas at the time and I did a lot of crafty things to keep myself occupied. I remember going to the store and picking out PINK yarn and grey needles and then coming home and mom teaching me to CO and knit. I spent the rest of the year knitting a lopsided and holey square. At the same time, I didn't really go off the deep end for knitting until college when my roommate insisted I teach her. She wanted to make hats, so that made me learn how to knit in the round, and the rest is history!

  12. ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Cozy and excited. I'm working on my first baby sweater for my first baby.
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    For me, the start because I haven't finished yet! I dream about how he'll look in it.
    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    I go to a knitting circle every Tuesday night at City Knitting in Grand Rapids, MI. It's fun to get together, see other projects, skills levels and ask questions. And someone always brings a sweet baked good too.
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    My grandmother, from Scottland can knit anything. She doesn't live near me so I've tried to learn by watching videos online.
    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? Good yarn and cirular needles.
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? All year round.
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? Pattern. I'm just learning and don't want to take any risks.
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? Looonnnngggg time!
    ::do you think it is expensive? no
    ::what has to do with the resurgence? Making things from the heart and hands is thoughtful.

  13. ::how does knitting make you feel?
    calm, usually -- sometimes when i have a deadline, it's not as calming. but i enjoy a feeling of productivity in my normally not-so-productive life as a SAHM.
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    it's everything. finding a perfect yarn. researching a pattern that will marry fiber, color and function. casting on. the perfection of each stitch (whose measurement is π). finishing something and then using it.
    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    i'd say it's more fun to do anything with other people who enjoy it, too, but i typically knit alone.
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    i learned from this bitter youngish woman at the local junior college four years ago...
    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?
    bean bags?!? i first knit a scarf. but it wasn't wearable as a scarf.
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    all year round. but for some reason, i couldn't knit while i was pregnant. pattern schematics dizzied me.
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    always a pattern. i'm too afraid of failure to deviate!
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    it depends on how much time my life allows. and whether or not i am really in love with the process.
    ::do you think it is expensive?
    it can be, but doesn't have to be. stashing yarn for its simple beauty can be most dangerous.
    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    in such an automated, accessible world, it's nice to bring everything down and in. knitting can't go faster than you can go and knitting can't pass you by.
    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding) hands down, libby. ;-)

  14. Knitting is about the creative process for me. (If I weren't knitting, I'd be sewing or paper-crafting or some such thing). I come from a creative family, so we're always sharing ideas and techniques (Ali at skeinsherway is my sister).
    Have fun with your new project!

  15. I'll answer a few! I love the completion of a project. My knitting gets frenzied when I near the end as I can't wait to see it off the needles! My Mom taught me to knit and she learned from her Mom. And I knit constantly. Usually two or three projects on the go.

  16. ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Peaceful and creative

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    the start of a project. I am usually fed up at the end.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    I for one like to knit alone. don't ask me to knit night or something. i don't mind knitting in public, jus not in group.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    Mu mother knits but I learned most of my skills on my own.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    year round.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    no. you just have to remember that some new yarn will be coming along and that it's okay not to buy everything that's in.

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    resurgence as knitting is in? I knit because I like it not because everybody does. I would still knit if it were not hip to knit. Here in Quebec city it's not so hip and I get strange looks and comments. It's still a granny occupation. It's nice because there is lot of new yarn and pattern and fiber to spin. It makes the shopping easier.

    Hope this helps. Please forgive my english. Julie, Quebec, Canada

  17. Knitting makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something even when I'm just sitting watching TV! I learned from an elderly group of ladies who had a knitting group down the street from where I lived for a while. Scarves are easiest to begin with. I knit year-round. I work from patterns usually (but nothing too complicated, since I'm not at all advanced). It can be expensive, but doesn't have to be. I don't know why the resurgence, but I know that these days my friends all over are having knitting gatherings and wanting to learn!

  18. So many great questions! You have me thinking about my favorite craft in a whole lot of new ways!

    OK ... So knitting feels like satisfying an itch for me. I wouldn't say it exactly *relaxing* -- but it's not tense or unrelaxing. It's kind of meditative, a way for me to do something that I do just because I want to, without stress. (Though it used to be incredibly stressful for me, I used to worry a lot about mistakes and dropped stitches and so on. I didn't start to enjoy knitting until I let go of that pressure.)

    Knitting also makes me feel connected to the generations of women and men who have knit before me, and the knitters all over the world who continue to keep this artform alive.

    I like to knit alone, to keep my thoughts to myself while I go. It's a good time for me to just sit and think without distractions.

    I like to think I knit all year round -- but honestly, I think I do knit a bit more in the colder months.

    I do think it's expensive -- but oh-so worth it. Knitting with beautiful yarn is really most of the pleasure of it.

    The coolest knitter I know, other than myself, of course, is Leslie! ;)

    Now, for the other part. My name is Grace but I don't want to disclose my location. Is that OK?

  19. ::how does knitting make you feel? calm, relieved, happy, joy
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? i enjoy it all but especially seeing what I've completed
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? I learned on my own
    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? scarves and hats
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? more and more it's a year around activity
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?about 50/50
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? a scarf a week or two and a sweate can take me from one month to years
    ::do you think it is expensive? yes, very
    ::what has to do with the resurgence? the feeling of making your own clothes and being able to give others things made with your heart and soul

  20. -Knitting makes me feel calm, but productive. Like- I knit when I'm on my way to work and I'm late so I don't jump out of my skin, but I also knit when I'm at home sitting on the couch watching tv, so I don't feel like I've wasted any time.
    -I'm not quite a process knitter. I was until I began to finish sweaters. Now casting on a new project is definitely a thrill, but not as satisfying as having a pile of knits hanging around for you to put on when your chilly.
    -I think most people now adays learn from friends. My friend who taught me learned from the internet, but I have in turn taught dozens of people. My mother never knit, but my grandmother used to. I don't think she had done it since the 40's though.
    -Scarves and washcloths are great beginner projects! And electronics cosies- like ipods or cell phones.
    -I probably knit about half from patterns and half from my head. sometimes it's just easier to not find a pattern to follow when you have an idea that's been percolating.

    Lindsey Weisman Salem, MA

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  22. Anonymous12/08/2008

    if you knit the sweater you are wearing in that photo you are the godess of a that is knit.

  23. I wanted to knit from the time I was a little girl, but I didn't know anyone else who could show me how, so I didn't learn until late in my 20s when I fell in with some knitting coworkers. Lucky me!

    Knitting is so soothing for me. I knit all over, all year round--on the bus, on the couch, with friends, while the kids play in the tub, in line at the post office...

    I love that there's no way to do more than one stitch at a time. I'm a relatively quick knitter, I think, and I can devote myself to a project and get it done extra fast if I need to, but generally speaking, it's one stitch, purposefully made, after another. It feels deliberately creative to me.

  24. ::how does knitting make you feel?

    Knitting makes me feel relaxed. When my hands are busy with the repetitive motions of knitting, my mind just sort of magically unravels the knots of anxiety I carry around in my head.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    It's all three, for different reasons. The start is full of excitement and anticipation--the choosing of the yarn, the plotting of the modifications. The execution is about the craft, about trying new techniques, about improving with each new project. And the completed garmet is about (hopefully) pride and satisfaction, though, for me, there is always a small window of regret at the end of every project, a feeling that it could be better. I am trying to learn to put things away for awhile, until I can see them for what they really are: slightly imperfect, handmade works of art!

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    Most of the women I know learn from other women. There's a surprisingly large group of women in my office who knit on Thursdays at lunchtime. We all help each other. I actually learned in a shop, through a set of lessons purchased for me by my husband before we were even married. I am sure that there are many times he rues the day he started me down the road to addiction, but I have him to thank for helping me find this source of real, simple happiness. Everyone needs a hobby!

  25. Anonymous12/08/2008

    ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Calm. Accomplished.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    Definitely the process. But I prefer the later stages rather than the very start - once you have enough done to see how it will look, whether it is working, that is best.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    I prefer to knit alone. Groups are fun on a social level but I do not really get much knitting done.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    From an aunt initially (age 7/8). Re-learnt on my own at age 24-25.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    Mostly from patterns. I find it more relaxing - just follow the instructions and hope for the best. But I also cook from recipes, and always read instruction books first - so maybe I'm just a bit like that!

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    Socks and scarfs - two weeks, ish. A sweater - more like a month, or two. I'm pretty slow! And I only knit in the evening, in front of the TV, a few times per week.

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    Not particularly. Compared to buying cheap clothes, yes - but as a pastime AND clothes source, no (I mean, compared to other ways of spending your time, like attending courses or classes, going to music gigs, going to the pub...)

  26. Hi Leslie,

    I learned to knit last year by watching videos on the internet and from a library book. I didn't know any knitters who could teach me.

    I like to knit alone and in a group. The group is fun for socializing, but can affect your knitting if you aren't paying attention (mistakes!). I like my alone time as it is meditative and restful.

    I have a stressful job (nighttime ER vet) and I work long hours. Knitting helps me relax by focusing on the repetitive motion of forming the stitches. I also enjoy making something with my hands (I really enjoy surgery, too!).

    I knit year round, as living in So Cal it doesn't get that cold here anyway.

    Good yarn is more expensive than I thought it would be as a non-knitter. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that a hand knit sweater would cost 2-3 times what I usually paid in a store. I still struggle with this, but there is something to be said about the enjoyment I am getting out of knitting my first sweater.

    I usually knit from a pattern. I've only been knitting a year, so maybe that will change.

    I think a good first project is a sampler scarf (garter, ribbing, etc) on wooden straight needles with bulky yarn. I don't think one should wait endlessly to learn the purl stitch.

    Pasadena, CA

  27. Anonymous12/08/2008

    Leslie, as I believe you know the only knitting I do currently is in my imagination, so I'm not qualified to answer, but I had to remark: "keeps her lid on tight." That's rich. And that ... I get that. good one.

  28. What a great project and funny story!! Yeah, I've heard I'm odd for knitting... mostly from my dad when I was a teen still living with my parents. Dad thought only old grannies knit.
    Knitting makes me feel calm, productive and lets me be creative. I feel like I'm not wasting time watching tv if I'm knitting too.
    I always follow a pattern but tweak some part of if to suit or fit better.

  29. I love your project - and what a cool job. A few answers : I taught myself to knit but I love to listen to peoples tales I learn so much. I knit totally for relaxation. Knitting calms me down and relaxes me. I knit easy things to keep the calmness going.

  30. Sorry Leslie, but I couldn't resist, I answered them all:

    ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Warm and fuzzy.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    All of the above.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    I prefer to knit alone. It's my quiet time.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    Learned from a class.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?
    My first item was a sock. I can't say it was easy, but I loved learning all those techniques in a compact project. I was all set to go after that.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    Not a day goes by that I don't knit.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    I usually use a pattern as my "starting point". What happens next is another story.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    Depends on how many projects I have on the go. I'm usually pretty scattered, so it often takes way longer than it should. I have successfully knit a pair of fine gauge socks in 2 days.

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    I have champagne taste on a beer budget, so yes. But worth every penny!

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    I think a need to connect with slow, handmade, comforting things in this craaaazy world.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know?
    There are too many to count, but Leslie is definitely one of them!

    Ontario, Canada

  31. A) ummm......happy?
    B) All of the above - however, if I do not compulsively want to wear the knitted item everyday I don't consider the project to be a success.
    C)I like to knit alone
    D) No one in my family ever knitted, I had to teach myself.
    E)Scarf - there's no possible way of screwing it up!
    F)I leave off knitting during gardening season, where I live that is only about two months long...
    G) I ramble around the pattern, usually because I didn't pay attention and missed something.
    H) Depends on how much fun the pattern is......
    I)Yes, it is expensive.
    J) Pretty yarn, cool patterns.....

  32. Another "pool" story...

    While at the pool last summer, we ran into a fellow mom from Neatnik's school. Neatnik and I were taking a walk and I was working on a sock. When we stopped to say hi, this other mom introduced me to a friend who was with them that day. The friend asked, "Uh, what are you doing?"

    The mom I knew looked at me and said, "When we first met, I thought it was odd that you knit so much but now I don't even see the knitting: it's just part of YOU."

    The knitting: it is a part of me.

  33. Oh what fun to participate in your magazine project (and a big congrats for being asked to work on this - they were smart - your photos are always amazing).

    So, one or two questions:
    ::how does knitting make you feel? it is like a lifeline - so soothing (which is funny, really, when you think of all the hundreds of intricacies involved in creating some garments). It is, frankly, just addictive. Like you, my knitting is always "calling" me. I just want to have it in my hands!!!
    :is it the start of a project - the execution - the completed garment?
    For me, it's the execution. Starts are oftentimes fiddley and the completed garment can sometimes not be exactly what you had in mind. But while it's on the needles - oh man (sigh)

    p.s. LOVED your story


  34. I have to confess to being a crocheter, however, thought it might be useful anyway!
    As others have said I feel connected to the other women in my family who knit and crocheted before me and who do it now! I love the satisfaction I feel at making something beautiful/warm/useful. Exploring new techniques and learning/trying new things is so much fun! It also allows me to contribute to the well being of others through charity. I am truly grateful for this gift of stitchery!

  35. It keeps your lid on tight - I love that - and relate wholeheartedly! I like to knit alone, I can focus on the zen of it - it's meditation for me to click along. I knit my frustration, sadness, happiness, whatever, right into my project. I also tend to relate my projects to where I knit them - like my Florida socks, hospital sweater, New's Resolution shawl, etc.

  36. how does knitting make me feel?
    i'm a big time worrier - just my dna. so when i'm counting or thinking about my knitting, it occupies my mind in a positive way. so yeah, i've got a loose lid apparently.

    do i knit year round?
    yes. i love the feel of fiber in my hands and to feel that i have accomplished something is great. And it goes back to the first question. loose lid.

    here's my question. why does knitting get a bad wrap at times?

    this project looks great. i'm sure you'll have fun with it!

  37. ::how does knitting make you feel?

    Productive and calm.

    ::do you think it is expensive?

    I do think it's expensive to supply a continual knitting habit with nice yarn (no acrylic please)
    at least it is for me, a stay-at-home mom on one income.

    One day while shopping at the thrift store I noticed that the $5.00 sweater would be worth at least $60 or more in yarn at my lys. I have been recycling sweaters ever since and keeping up with my habit quite painlessly.

    Finding sweaters to unravel is also an enjoyable part of the 'productive' feeling of knitting I get. I like to spend time unraveling onto a niddy-noddy, then washing and drying and sometimes dyeing. This whole production entertains me and feeds my fiber craftiness habit for a very reasonable price.

  38. Keeping the lid on? That is so flipping funny.

    Knitting is church. When I knit, I slow down and give myself space and time to think. My breathing changes, my head clears, my heart opens.

    At first, I didn't understand having more than one project going at a time. Now, as an advanced beginner, it makes so much sense. I always have at least one project that I can carry with me, for knitting with others. No heavy thinking, just pleasant knitting. Then, something else, or the complicated part of another pattern, for knitting at home, when the house is quiet.

    Scarves are great for the newbie. Then hats, then socks, then more socks, then an easy sweater.....and on and on and on....

  39. oops, that was me, Jean.
    Nest Jean.

  40. first of all - yay you!!!

    1. it makes me feel productive and relaxed
    2.I love planning and starting, some things I like the process - like lace and cable patterns - and I like being done, but don't love finishing.
    3. I knit both alone and in a group. I learned in a class.
    4. I think hats are easiest to start with - they're small and give opportunities to learn things like decreasing while providing near instant gratification.
    5. I knit all year long
    6. I do both, but sweaters need a pattern.
    7. I can't finish socks unless they are sport weight or heavier. I lose interest. A sweater ranges from 2 weeks to several months, a scarf varies according to weight of yarn. Now I knit them from sock yarn, so they take a while.
    8. It can definitely be expensive if you do large projects, are picky about fiber, or knit a LOT. Not so much if you stick to small projects.
    9. I think it has to do with reconnecting with hand work and with history. We've become so disconnected from making things over time, that I think we're trying to grab hold again.
    10. You, of course!!

  41. I knit all year long; I "must" knit daily to feel complete - otherwise I'm cranky; I do feel it is expensive for the yarn, however, it is much less expensive than therapy and I have something physical to show for "my therapy".


  42. what great questions. hope you don't mind if i answer a few out of order.

    knit all year round

    knit alone - but if i had a cool group to knit with that would be fun. actually i wish my blog friends (you included) lived close enough that we could meet a few times a year to knit together. that would be wonderful. and also to show off the knits in person - i would love to see a lot of your knits in person - and i feel the same way with a lot of my favorite blog knitters.

    a sweater takes me 6 to 8 weeks - i'm a slow knitter - and generally only knit after work and photography.

    socks seem to take longer - way longer than a sweater.

    is the best part starting - execution or finishing? - for me it's not starting because i usually cast on 3 times before i feel i have the correct size and # of stitches. so it's the execution. finishing mostly makes me feel like i have to start something else fast. so execution and wearing. i wear my handknits often.

    my grandmother taught me and my mother-in-law continued the education.

    all best with the article!

  43. is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? For me it's a little of all of these. At the start it’s the excitement of a new project, the feel of new yarn in my hands, a new pattern to try. I have always loved beginnings, looking forward, starting something new. The execution – watching something grow, the feel as the ‘fabric’ forms, the pattern reveals itself, the pleasure of the activity - forming pearls and plain stitches and how they sit across the length of my straight needles. On completing a project it’s the satisfaction of creating something wearable from a length of yarn (a miracle that never ceases to amaze and delight me), trying it on and finding it fits as good as or better than I had hoped or the pleasure it gives to someone else when presented as a gift.... and quite often the relief that it is finally complete.
    do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? My mum taught me to form pearl and plain stitches when I was quite young but that was as far as I took it. Her hands moved so quickly and I was all fingers and thumbs (and none of them in the right places) but the desire to learn to knit never left me. The women at my lys taught me to cast on and I had never forgotten those lessons with my mum, so I persisted and in that first winter completed two projects. Two years on and I can’t stop... I learn from experienced knitters blogs, on line tutorials, books, my lys and through experimentation.
    do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?I knit all year round. It is never too hot and I live in Australia where summer temperatures regularly hit 90 deg and above. Last summer we had a week of 115 deg. OK so I didn’t knit then, I think all I did was swim and eat ice cream but I’m sure I looked at knitting books and dreamed of projects to come. Live to knit?, knit to live? ...who cares just pass me the yarn.
    Adelaide, South Australia

  44. Knitting makes me feel accomplished and like my "spare" time is well spent. The start of a project is the best. I knit alone. I taught myself. The easiest items for me beyond a scarf were baby hats. I knit all year round. I knit from a pattern and have just started putting my toe into modifying and designing my own. I think the time for a project depends on how much I am looking forward to wearing it or giving it, sometimes a couple of days and sometimes they seem to hang out for a month. I think the yarn can be very expensive for a nice sweater but so worth it if the end result is something you'll wear again and again. I think the resurgence has a lot to do with the feminist movement, we are finally at a time where women can make choices without feeling like they are being put in a box. Knitting isn't looked upon as a necessity for a housewife but more a creative outlet for all women/men.

    Good luck with your article!

  45. I knit because it is so exciting to see a real, usable (sometimes!) item growing on my needles, where nothing was before. Knitting also makes me feel connected somehow to the women who have lived before me, the ones who found a way to bring beauty into their hard lives through creative knitting.

    As a self-taught knitter, I am torn between following a pattern (it usually turns out well) and making up my own as I go along (not so predictable outcome!)

    I do think it's expensive, ($12-$18 for a pair of socks!!) but the enjoyment adds to the value, right?

    As a fairly new knitter, I surprised myself when I couldn't put it away for the summer months. So year-round knitter I must be!

  46. ::how does knitting make you feel?

    It makes me feel like I'm doing something I want to do while I'm doing something I don't want to do. For instance, while I'm keeping someone company through the 1000th viewing of the Wiggles classic, "Cold Spaghetti Western", but what I really want is a few minutes to decompress after a long day.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?

    A scarf is easy, but too long. Same with baby blankets. If I had known about dishcloths as a new knitter, it would have been great.

  47. I am a pretty basic knitter and I definitely knit in spurts (read: when it's cold outside). But, oddly enough, I have taught probably a dozen people how to knit (a scarf). Most recently, I taught my cousin whose husband has a very serious metastasized cancer. When they are in the hospital, she knits constantly. It calms her and gives her something to do. She recently told me that knitting is saving her life. I like to think that knitting is a way to pray. I wrote a post about that here, if you're interested.

    By the way, I love your site and the things you knit. My very first knitting-in-the round project is a pair of your toasty "gloves," a gift for my sister-in-law this Christmas!

  48. I like to knit both alone and in groups. I like the social aspect of knitting groups and the chance to connect with women who are outside of my normal social group. Knitting alone can be very centering.

    The best part of knitting for me is when you see it starting to take form. Even though I've made many objects successfully, each time something starts to take shape I'm amazed that what I've been doing is turning *into* something.

    I knit year round. If I only knit when it was cold I'd never get all my projects done. Okay, who am I kidding, I'm never going to get all my projects done!

    Peoria, IL, USA

  49. My mum taught me the basics when I was six, and I knitted on and off (predominantly off) during teen years. I started again a couple of years ago in uni lectures, because I am a fidgeter, and if I didn't fidget in the somewhat airless rooms I fell asleep. And then I got obsessed/addicted. Hey, it's cheaper than a crack habit. Also, when you go out and you're the DD, it gives you something a bit extra to do...

  50. How does knitting make me feel? Well, it is one thing, that unless I mess it up, can reach completion and stay that way. (So unlike the rest of my days which are spent being Mom. teacher and wife.) So for the most part relaxing, but sometimes challenging as I tackle new projects.

    I remember when I was younger watching my Grandma crochet items for the family. Since I learned to knit, and learned the difference between knitting and crochet, I realized she did both. When I wanted to learn, I asked a gal working in the fabric department of a Wal-mart to help show me to cast on and the knit stitch.

    Do you knit all year round? Yes, and I have a harder and harder time finishing sewing projects because knitting is my favorite.

    Do you knit from a pattern or free-style? I use a pattern almost all of the time. I keep hoping that as I keep re-reading Elizabeth Zimmerman, it will branch out more.

    Mound City, KS

  51. Anonymous12/08/2008

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    --I prefer to knit in groups. A few women and I started a Knit Night recently; we get together one night a week to knit, catch up, and drink wine. It's a nice way to get together, and for us to learn from each other as knitters.
    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    --I think people are trying to slow down. Everything is so rushed in American society (I can't speak for other countries), and so many of us are tied to electronics most of the day. It's valuable for us to work with our hands and make something homemade, and to slow down from the quick pace of the world.

    --Lisa, Massachusetts, USA

  52. Anonymous12/08/2008

    I'm one the few male knitters I know. Being a college student, it's a wonderful feeling to pick up your needles and perform a practical activity that doesn't require a vast knowledge anything besides knit and purl. Plus, it's a great feeling to give your mother or aunt a pair of gloves you've knit them. Knitting is a good way to give cheap presents.

  53. What a fun job you have there! I love your friends response. That was great.

    For me, knitting is the execution. I don't wear everything I knit. Though, that has now taught me what I should knit and what I shouldn't. I love finished objects that I will wear but for me, the real love is knitting itself.

    I knit because it calms me down, it gives me time for "me", and it really helps me keep my sanity. This last weekend I told my boyfriend that I desperately needed a day one weekend dedicated to knitting. I need that time to de-stress and recuperate from a few long weeks.

    I normally knit alone and I like to knit alone...and sometimes in quiet. But I have knit with groups a couple times and I found that really fun. I just wouldn't do it all the time.

    I hope that helps!

  54. Leslie-
    The pool story just cracked me up. That is just what all my girl friends think about me. WHAT are you doing??? I knit because it keeps me calm. Both of my children are athletes and I would get so riled up at their sporting events. I can knit while watching the game and still have this sense of calmness.
    On to more questions- I knit all year. I teach kindergarten so have more time during the summer. I taught myself with Knitting For Dummies and KnittingHelp.com. As for knitting with friends... I would love to- but they think I am a nerd when I knit so I knit all alone and at tennis/baseball games! That's why I e-mailed you about Ruby. I need a knitting friend. You must help me in January!

  55. I loved the story.
    Here are two of my answers: I learned the basics from my grandmother at a young age, and later when I decided I wanted to make real things I taught myself from reading books and trial and error. Recently I taught a friend to knit, and it was fun to pass on the art to her, who will hopefully teach her girls at some point.

    I knit now because it's something to keep my hands busy. I taught myself to be such a multitasker that I can barely pay attention to things if I'm not doing more than one thing at a time. Aka, I have a hard time watching a movie or TV without knitting, although sometimes if I'm really tired I won't. I also can't pay attention during class for the life of me if I'm not knitting. Oddly enough none of my instructors have ever complained about my knitting in class. I think because they see how much more I participate when I have something in my hands than when I don't!
    Margot, age 22 (!), California

  56. How does knitting make you feel? -Grounded. I'm such a scatterbrain, it lets me concentrate, whether it's for 5 minutes or an hour. I can forget my troubles, or I can work things out mentally while my fingers are busy. I started learning to knit while sitting up with my Dad when he was in the hospital. One reason I knit is because I'm afraid of developing Alzheimer's. (My Dad and Grandmother had it.) I feel that I need to constantly learn new things. With knitting I will have to continue to challenge myself, although I haven't faced nearly the challenges that a lot of new knitters have!

    And because I'm such a scatterbrain: Is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? Well, it's certainly not the completed item. Don't get me wrong. I love the finished product. But it's the ongoing process that I love. Good thing, too, because I'm really sloooow.

  57. When my third child was born, I developed some serious baby blues. I did lots of things to try to get myself back on track (you know, eating right, walking, drinking water, writing a thankful journal, etc.), but it was really the knitting that became my lifeline. I don't know if it was the idea that this one thing was something I had control of, or if it was the whole "knitting is the new yoga" mediation thing, but it did then, and still does, keep me centered and calm and comforted.

    And I love the whole process - the excitement of the new project, the process of the knitting, the pride of the finished object. Although I do get that lost feeling just after I finish a project, before I move on to the next one. :0)

  58. I knit because I can't sit still and enjoy it unless I have something to do. The process always wins; I often let projects sit for weeks with only ends to wind in; when they're finished, I lose interest, unless the item happens to be my new favorite sweater. I design almost all of my own projects (I think I've only knit from 2 or 3 patterns in the last 2 years). I like the challenge and freedom of designing my own patterns. As a scientist, it's also nice to do something with a little bit of art involved. A pair of socks takes two weeks, a sweater 4-6 (unless it's the last one in fingering weight...that took 3 mos). I knit always; summer and winter. I learned to knit from my mother, though she doesn't knit herself. She taught me to knit and purl. The rest I learned on my own, years later. I knit alone, mostly, partly because I haven't found a knitting group that clicks. And, because I like to spend quiet time at home. I spend money on my knitting, but I don't think it's overly expensive. The hours of entertainment are worth the cost, and I am not much of a stasher, so that limits the expenditure. I don't remember the rest of your questions, but I hit a few!

  59. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I learned from a booklet, but got advice from other knitters later.
    I think the easiest thing to start with is anything you really want to make, but I'd suggest a hat or a pouch. For me it's the finished object, though I enjoy the process. I usually modify patterns. It takes me six hours to make a bulky hat. Knitting gives me a feeling of competence.

  60. From Karen in IL

    How does knitting make me feel? Knitting makes me feel creative, centered, calm, and productive. I think that everyone needs some kind of creative outlet, and knitting is the main way I feed that need. It is more than just a hobby, it has helped to warm strangers, friends, and relatives. It's also led me to some wonderful friendships. Although one could certainly knit for less money than I do, I don't consider it expensive in comparison to the benefits and enjoyment it brings me.

  61. ::how does knitting make you feel?
    relaxed, calm, productive, creative

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    I like the process, but I also like being able to wear/use the finished item, or to be able to gift it.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?

    I do both. I'm often knitting in public, as I knit on my commute. It's a great way to get strangers to smile :o)

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    My mum taught me on a wet day when I was four, she was taught by my gran, and *her* mum was also a knitter. In my SnB group though, it seems most of the women taught themselves, but they are almost a generation younger than I am, which may have something to do with it.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?

    I began with a garter stitch dishcloth :o)

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?

    all year round.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?

    I start with a pattern, but I adapt it as I go along, and sometimes totally re-write it. However, I've only had the confidence to do that since I took up knitting again seriously 18 months ago. I actually think that my other craft obsession (cross stitch) helped with the confidence to do this, as I always modify stitching designs to suit :o)

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?

    Socks - about 12 hours. I haven't knitted a swaeter for ages. As for scarves, about 3 evenings.

    ::do you think it is expensive?

    Not for the number of hours it fills compared to (say) going to the cinema, out for a meal, buying a magazine. However, if you compare the cost of store bought socks with the cost of sock yarn ... LOL

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?

    Fashion. It will fade, just as the crazes for cross stitch and scrapbooking have passed. Sad but true.

    Nic, Sheffield, England

  62. :how does knitting make you feel? Relaxed
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? I love to start on a new project, but i also love when i'm done.
    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone? I like to knit alone
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? I learned from my mom and grandmother
    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? I guess a scarf or a hat would be the aesiest to start with
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?all year round
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? I sometimes ake up a pattern as I knit along or modify a pattern
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? socks - a couple of days, sweater - depending on the size, a week or more, scarf - acouple of days
    ::do you think it is expensive? That depends on which yarn I'm knitting with

    Sound fun with this new project!
    Have a great week :)

  63. I emailed you my answers--good luck on this project!

  64. How exciting!

    Knitting keeps me busy even when I need to relax because I hate doing nothing, I can watch TV without being bored!
    I have just started to knit from my own ideas rather than using patterns.
    I knit all year!

  65. When I am working on my knitting I feel that I am not buying into all of the obsessive consumerism of our world, but yet pausing to create something original! I took a class to learn how to knit because some teacher friends had all tried to "teach" me, but I just didn't pick it up. I have a knitting group that meets once a week, but I also knit whenever I have a free moment. I mostly give away my knitting to others:)

  66. Just a couple of answers from me, I'm still jetlagged and making minimal sense!

    How does knitting make me feel?

    Like so many of the other respondents, knitting is a way to connect me with all those people who have knitted before me. In particular, it keeps me connected with my Grandmother who was my first knitting inspiration. I love knowing that we choose the same craft to follow.

    Is it expensive?

    It's as expensive as you make it - there can be a drive to buy the latest cool yarn and that is costly but there is also the opportunity to recycle old sweaters, haunt the thrift shops for yarn and needles and ultimately, learn to spin. Fibre is always cheaper than yarn.

    Coolest knitter?

    It's a toss up between my Knitting Bee friend Julie who spins dog hair and knits intarsia reindeer, or in the blog world, Mary Jane Mucklestone from Maryjanemidgeandmink , she designs the most beautiful things and I love the way her mind works.

  67. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I think the resurgence in knitting is because of environmental reasons. This is why I learnt to knit. However, I'm amazed how centred knitting makes me feel, like I'm in my own little universe, where all I have to think about are the knits and the purls. It's very relaxing!

    I learnt to knit on my own, even though my mother could knit too and I like to knit on my own.

    Dublin, Ireland

  68. What a wonderful project to work on. I love the pool story, it's like when people call me 'crafty'! I knit for the same reason I sew, crochet and quilt - because I have to. Both my parents could knit, my Mother still does endlessly. My father started in hospital after having a serious motorbike accident in his 20's. You should see the stunning fair aisle socks and mittens he did - amazing. I did heaps of knitting in the 80's producing piles of fabulous bright sweaters. Now I knit on and off when I'm in the mood or inspired by something I've seen on a blog. I think it has had a resurgence because people need something to de-stress in this fast paced world. It's probably also a desire to move back to lovely, handmade pieces.

  69. Answers to two of your questions:

    My mum taught me to knit when I was little, and I have taught all three of my boys. When they were about five or six years old I started them off with finger knitting, and each one became quite addicted when they first began. We moved on to needles when each child was about seven. Each of them has knitted several items for themselves or others and it is wonderful to see the pride they feel while wearing their very own hat, or scarf, or giving a cushion cover to their grandparents at Christmas.

    And in answer to your last question, the coolest knitter I know is my youngest boy, who became so completely besotted with and addicted to his fingerknitting, that I have a photograph of him fingerknitting in the bath, with the yarn trailing outside the tub and out the bathroom door to the enormous ball of yarn that followed him around the house.

    Melbourne, Australia.

  70. I like this project!
    How does knitting make you feel?
    Knitting is my only "me" time...I feel quiet, centered, focused when I work on a project. It also is part of my "multi-tasking" makeup - I can knit and watch a child's game, I can knit and be a passenger in the car, I can knit and have a conversation, and I can knit and watch TV/read/etc.

    Who taught me to knit?
    My mom taught me the basic knit and purl stitches. My sister and her friend taught me how to read a pattern and turn those two stitches into something. I was 20 at the time and made my first sweater in a week (big needles, big yarn). I took off and started knitting like crazy...the rest is self taught. I've never taken a class.

    Estella/New Cannaan, CT USA

  71. Knitting makes me feel good...especially when it's going well ;) I'm new at it but I like the feeling of "discovering" new things every day (facts about yarn, different techniques, different ways of doing things - I knit the portuguese way, with the yarn over my neck for good tension and people here in Ireland think it's very interesting), the "no limits" feeling...I love it!

    Yes, it was my stepmother who tought me when I was young, but my mother was also a great knitter, as well as my grandmother (my father's mammy), so I always appreciated their wonderful work.

    I knit all year around, I can't stop :) Well, living in Ireland you would actually think that is autumn/winter all year round ;)

    I love knitting with others (I'm part of a mini knitting group and I sign up for classes in my favourite knitting shop regularly) but I knit by myself too.

  72. Anonymous12/09/2008

    Knitting makes me feel grounded and a bit in control in an out of control world. I enjoy knitting with a group but truly the solitude I find while knitting clears my head. I have 4 kids and work 50 hours a week in an office and twice that at home, and the solitude keeps me sane.

    Angelia, Fayetteville, AR US

  73. I'm a pretty basic knitter. Eight or so years ago, I decided I wanted to knit as an expansion of the crochet my grandmother taught me as a child, which isn't very practical for adult clothing. After a lesson by an acquaintance helped me envision what was going on, I taught myself from a You Can Learn to Knit book. My first project - thanks to the excellent advice from that acquaintance - was a washcloth with a pattern of knit and purls. Easy enough not to be frustrating, very forgiving of gauge issues and a project I could actually finish and use despite my slow pace. I always suggest this as a perfect starting place for people who want to learn. I've since progressed to shawls, scarfs and the rare sweater, but since I have never found an in person knitting community my skills have developed to the extent I can easily follow a pattern, but I definitely don't design my own. I would love a knitting community, but since I don't have one I knit in front of the TV, while visiting with family, waiting in line and suffering through interminable conference calls. I love the feel of the yarn, the rhythm of the knitting and the productive feeling of seeing something growing during otherwise idle time. I absolutely love to use something I created with my own hands, too. And, since I live in Florida, time has much more to do with the ebb and flow of my knitting than weather.
    Cara; Winter Park, FL

  74. How cool. I love reading everyone's responses.

    Knitting is my creative outlet. It makes me feel peaceful and productive, and it is fun.

    I knit all year round, and pretty much everyday.

    I think the easiest project to start with would be a scarf.

    I learned the knitting basics from my aunt as a young girl. It makes her feel good to have taught me something that brings me so much pleasure.

    Mary, Hopkinton, Mass, USA

  75. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I know there is a resurgence, but I honestly NEVER see people knitting in the wild. I also knit at the pool in the summer (so, yes, I'm a year-round knitter) and always get a million comments. I don't really care, but sometimes I'm not in the mood for the questions and comments. I love to start projects, usually by the middle I can't wait to be done to move on to my next idea.

  76. This comment has been removed by the author.

  77. Sounds like a great magazine- fun little project too!

    I learned to knit from my MIL. I was 8 mos pregnant with twins and we were visiting her is WA. I wasn't up for walking and playing tourist so she taught me to knit a dish cloth/ pot holder. I knitted the same exclusive item for 2 years before I branched out. I prefer to knit alone if I want to get knitting done, but I also love to sit and gab with other knitters. I am so glad I asked my MIL to teach me and it is something I hope my daughters have an interest in learning one day.
    Samantha Beaumont, TX

  78. For me, knitting is therapeutic (sp?). I love the rhythm of the needles while knitting. I am proud when I finish a project but it is the process that does it for me. I am a self-taught knitter - my Mom showed me the basic cast on and knit but I learn best by following a book. I knit year round. I live in Georgia so wool is not always practical - I love bamboo or silk. I always follow a pattern. Love to knit alone or in a group. I'm not a very fast knitter.

  79. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I wanted to say that I understand the sudden urge to knit,sometimes you (I) just don't want to talk just say hello and move on.And those who do not knit do not understand they find it weird!!! We live in a crazy very fast paced world and with tons of eletronics and everyone is connected to their cell phone or blackberry,people have forgotten about the simple pleasures of life,no knows how to slow down.
    The reason I love to knit is for the calming effect it has,I did it as a teenager and when my son was diagonised with Medulloblastoma in May of 2005 (pediatric brain cancer) and always being worried and after a while how many books can you read? And the urge to knit was very strong so I went to the yarn store,and the smell of the yarn the feel the colors I was hooked,I bought tons of yarn & all brand new wooden needles (I have a ton of medal yuck)and I was hooked it really helps with stress,and it works...
    So everyone needs to find that simple pleasure and the thrill of creating something for someone or yourself....

  80. I feel people say that about me all the time. I was knitting at a high school football game this fall & some women were poking fun at me in a way, I mean they were friends of mine but they just didn't understand..........or were they jealous. Who knows? I don't care. I've had a hectic life, one never without drama, pain, arguments, death, divorce, travel, kids always so busy, busy. I have 2 hobbies; knitting & fly-fishing. Both are quiet, serene, & theraputic. Someone once commented that they couldn't believe that someone like me, who never sat still, was fly-fishing. My hobbies are oppisite my personality & they keep me grounded...they are like my Yoga.

  81. :: How does knitting make you feel?
    No matter how my day has gone -- from hectic to slow and boring -- I can always depend on knitting. And, although I love the creating side of knitting -- if I never completed a project, I would still be knitting every day. Just the simple action of pulling yarn through the loops on my needles has such a calming effect on me. My breathing slows down, my mind stops racing around and I've found a little bit of peace wrapped up in wool. That's why I knit !
    Regina Anne - Oklahoma City, OK

  82. My husband would say knitting is expensive. I say it saves him thousands of dollars we would otherwise spend on a therapist. It's the most relaxing thing I do. The only time I get a little panicky is when I don't have anything on the needles. After twenty-five years of not knitting, I picked it back up about five years ago and haven't put it down. I knit all year - small items in the summer, large projects in the winter. Socks are my new love...oh, and of course, reading your blog.

  83. Cool!

    I knit because it soothes me. It satisfies my creative energies anytime of the day, anywhere. It doesn't matter to me whether it is hot or cold outside, I like to knit anytime. I prefer to knit alone because it gives me time to think.

  84. More than anything, knitting makes me feel productive; even if it's done during a 12 hour movie marathon!
    Jenny, Houston, TX USA

  85. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I started knitting so I couldn't munch on potato chips while watching tv at night...greasy fingers and lovely yarn don't mix!

    I still love the process of knitting more than any other part. I'm pleased with finished products, but I love the rhythm of stockinette, the challenge of two-handed color knitting, the feel of bamboo needles, the sight of delicous color.

    I taught myself to knit from an article in "Real Simple" years ago...stayed up until 2:00 am trying to figure it out!

    Evergreen Park, IL

  86. Anonymous12/09/2008

    What a great project - its really wonderful to see all the different responses.
    My grandmother taught me to knit and crochet when I was little, and I sort of set those skills aside for a while, then jumped back on the knitting bandwagon a few years back. Following the trend, but I have discovered that it really is a wonderful way to spend time. I no longer have the ability to sit still and do nothing.
    Knitting comes with me everywhere - even to the movie theater (since I always knit while watching tv or movies at home, its only natural for me to take my knitting on the road). It is a year-round activity - I just might choose a smaller project in the summer, to avoid the weight of warm wool on my lap when it is 90 degrees outside!
    I find it a very soothing activity, and am sort of slow to try new skills (although I have become more adventurous lately) so I can continue to be soothed, rather than stressed, by the process.
    I enjoy knitting alone and in groups - they are both different, but enjoyable, experiences. The group aspect is always fun - showing off projects, getting ideas and feedback from one another. And, I have found that fellow knitters are wonderful people - creative, helpful, encouraging - what a great community to be a part of!

  87. knitting is my escape - my mind goes into a totally different place and mode than it does at any other time. a lot of days i really need that!

  88. How does knitting make me feel? I am constantly amazed at knitting. It seems so simple and organic...but the "simple" concept quickly fades away at each pattern's details and intricacies. It's all connected--the yarn, the pattern, the stitches. It's addicting. I can't wait to get my hands on a new hank and make something one of a kind. Something I made with my own hands. Something so beautifully connected...just like I wish to be in my world. God bless knitters!

  89. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I used to express all my creativity through words. Then I lost a job and found myself uncertain and "voiceless", jeopardizing my creative outlet as well as my vocation. Enter knitting. A wonderful way to create with my hands. A hobby that can go anywhere and be done in any mood - expression found a new form for me in knitting.

    I knit alone and enjoy so many aspects of a project. Reading blogs & thumbing through pattern books inspires and makes me believe I could express myself any way I choose. I also love the knitting process - the feel & texture & pace of a project. Blocking and finishing is no fun - but then I love to look at it and enjoy giving it as a gift.

    I once read that knitting is the new yoga - good for me since I'm still into the old yoga and the new knitting!

    Czech Republic

  90. How does knitting make me feel?
    Like me. The me that does not have to rush to go here or there. Not to be behind my desk at work for 8 hours. Not to be getting the dishes done, cooking supper, cleaning the house, doing laundry. Knitting makes me like the me that is myself. Because at the time that I am knitting, the feel of the yarn, the repitition of the rows, the clicking of my needles helps my thoughts stay in line and I can prioritize me. This makes ME better for everyone in my life.

    Who teaches you to knit?
    Mothers, Grandmothers.........fondest memories. What a pleasure using their "antique" needles and finding a stash of their old yarn. An added bonus....my grandmother that passed away years ago....a stash of her yarn (really cool cream colored wool yarn) found by my mother....given to me with the pattern for which it was intended....my daughter loved the yarn so much she got a gift out of this old yarn, knitted on her great grandmothers needles. The intended project will have to wait for the next generation...maybe my daughter as she is now knitting her first scarves for Christmas gifts this year. Calming satisfaction.

  91. Fun!

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    For me, it is definitely the completed item! I am a total product knitter. Though I do love the process, the major thing that drives me to knit is the promise of something new and (hopefully) pretty to wear!

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    Most of my friends who knit originally learned from a mother, grandmother, or other family member. I think one of the draws of knitting is the way it makes one feel connected with tradition or the past. I myself love knitting for what it is, but the fact that my grandmother taught me makes it even more special than if I had learned from a book.

  92. I answer a few of your questions. I knit year round. It wouldn't even occur to me to stop knitting because of the season. I also think knitting is expensive. But you spend money on most hobbies and I would consider knitting a hobby. I taught myself how to knit and I tend to knit alone.

  93. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I had to laugh at your pool story...I'm the only one at our pool knitting and have thought that people probably think along the lines of your friend's friend. Too funny!

    How does knitting make me feel? The answer is so complex! It's:
    - a fix for a need I posses to create.
    - rewarding to see a loved one sporting one of my creations that I spent hours creating just for them.
    - cool, in these days of the same mall stores in every town, to wear something unique that's tailored just for me.
    - satisfying to be productive when sitting and waiting at soccer practice, karate, lessons, etc.
    - such a pleasure to enjoy other people's talents at creating not-so-simple skeins of yarn and pattern designs.
    - challenging to tackle more complex patterns and stitches to expand my skills
    - awesome to conquer those challenges
    - so relaxing to disconnect from the electronics of our world and just listen to people, sounds, quiet, etc. around us
    - practical. It makes me happy to be able to use what I create
    - beautiful and inspiring. It's wonderful to admire someone else's knitting. Just look at the sweater in your photo!

    It's a passion so it must be done year-round.

    Unfortunately I did not learn from a loved one, I paid for lessons from a very special teacher.

    I enjoy knitting with other knitters, alone, in public, wherever.

    Hope that helps.

    Good luck with your project.

    Karen, Bridgewater, NJ USA

  94. Knitting makes me feel creative, though I am such a new knitter (with horrible math skills) that I don't feel confident enough to go it on my own. It also helps me to slow down and focus on something other than the many thoughts rushing through my head. I decided to learn after taking an out of town friend to a local knitting shop, and signed up for a class. I must be a process knitter because I'm famous for being 98% done with a project and not finishing it up for months. I knit all year round, but do tend to stay away from the large woolen projects in the summer. I tend to knit alone a lot, though I like to knit with others. Being a relatively new knitter, however, I have to pick really easy projects otherwise talking distracts me too much!

    Erica, Louisville, Kentucky, USA

  95. Anonymous12/09/2008

    ::Knitting makes me feel relaxed and in control of my actions
    ::Usually my favorite part is the begining and execution
    ::I like to knit with friends and in family settings
    ::I learned the begining (cast on, Knit, Purl, cast off) from a teacher everything else I have taught myself or learned from watching others
    ::Wash cloth or scarf
    ::I knit all year constantly
    ::I usually use patterns for the first time and then reuse my favorites that I have memorized
    ::It usually takes me two weeks to knit a pair of socks(in between work, kids house work and life in general)
    ::in the beginning it was in expensive since I purchased yarn at walmart for most of my projects Then I discovered the good stuff at a local yarn store. (No turning back)Then I still purchase stuff on sale or in my budget.
    ::I think many people are getting back into it because it reminds them of people they loved or are wanting to be reminded of simpler times and places.

  96. ::do you think it is expensive?
    It isn't a cheap hobby, but it's cheaper than therapy! Plus you get something at the end of it.

    ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Calm, industrious, clever, focused.

  97. Anonymous12/09/2008

    forgot to put my location information.
    Monroe, North Carolina,USA

  98. Anonymous12/09/2008

    in response to the resurgence of knitting...

    i think knitting is popular again because technology has bombarded our lives. cell phones, computers, ipods...the list goes on. these things do not really produce something personal and creatively our own. knitting does. people want to be able to craft something themselves and then give it away. it is such an awesome feeling to do so!!

  99. I knit all year round. I knit as a way to relax at night and get myself to sit still after the kids go to bed. I get very little free time, and after they are asleep I should take advantage of it and be lazy. I can't seem to sit and watch tv without being fidgety unless I am doing something else. Knitting makes me sit still and forces me to relax at night.

    My oldest daughter (almost 11) has decided to start knitting and it has become something fun we can do together. We were having so much fun that my younger daughter (age 8) decided to begin too. So I would say that although I prefer to knit alone (as in no knitting group), I prefer to knit with my kids rather than completely alone.

    tori in illinois

  100. keeps your lid on tight...LOL. that is TOO funny. and I can relate to that. (with quilting, at least.)

    I don't really consider myself a knitter, but I do enjoy the little knitting I do. I find that knitting relaxes me. I like to knit while I am spending time with my family. I can't sit still unless my hands are busy. I love knitting because it takes so little prep work...just sit down and get started (as comparted to my first love, quilting.) I think knitting is expensive. (if you use the good stuff, which I have just started doing) but I appreciate that a good product is worth spending the money on. I learned to knit at my local MOPS (mothers of preschoolers) group and then I followed it up with learning from the internet. (what a fabulous resource!!!) so far I am a seasonal knitter. but I expect that to change.

    good luck with your project! and I, too, am wondering if you knit that sweater in the photo. it's fantastic!!!

    amandajean in wisconsin

  101. what a great project, Leslie! I loved reading your story about the two friends, so funny! I do the same thing, when the kids are busy I must knit.
    For me, I love starting a project. There is nothing like it. if I look at a pattern i love, i automatically know what color/yarn i will use. I then have to rush out to my LYS grab it, and start it. I work best when i am really inspired, which is why I knit so fast, i think.

  102. Anonymous12/09/2008

    ::how does knitting make you feel? Well, that depends on the project & if I have a self-imposed deadline, but overall it makes me feel useful & creative. It is great for passing the time. I also love making things for others, especially my son; it's like wrapping him in my arms.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? I think the idea phase is one of my favorites - the what could be; there is no fear that it won't turn out well or running out of yarn or will I finish in time, just options.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone? I enjoy both; we have a group here on the college campus where I work that meets once a week & it's fun to visit & I love helping people w/their projects. I also love that quiet time alone after my little boy has gone "night, night" (can you tell he's small?)& my husband falls asleep (I don't get much time to myself).

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? I think knitting is something that is very difficult to learn from a book; I learned my basic skills from my husband's great-aunt. I think since yarn shops are so popular now a lot of people take classes as I did to learn or aquire some more complicated skills.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? I always recommend starting with a simple scarf, then a hat, since you get a feel for the craft and get comfortable w/the basic priciples & then the hat is a gradual progression towards more complex techniques.
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? I knit year round; I typically change to more summery fibers when it gets warm (bamboo, silk, synthetics).

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? I typically knit from a pattern, but I do altert things as I see fit; I have "done my own thing" a few times, though.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? This really depends on the pattern & yarn used; I have knit a short sleeved sweater in a couple of weeks and taken a month to complete a pair of socks.

    ::do you think it is expensive? It can be as expensive or a thrifty as one chooses to make it.

    ::what has to do with the resurgence? I think it's a number of factors a couple of them include the Hollywood darlings being spotted w/sticks & string, sparking interest, & now with everyone going "green" interest has continued.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding) Your blog is great, but I must say my husband's great-aunt is up high on my list, as are the Yarn Harlot & Wendy from Knit & Tonic. There are so many talented individuals out there it's really hard to name just one!


  103. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I think I knit because I love to always be accomplishing something. For example, I can watch tv or have a conversation and still be knitting! I can't do that when I sew. Also, I love all the beautiful colors and textures of the yarn. Is it expensive? Yes! But I don't care, because it really is wonderful. I haven't been much of a group knitter, but I did teach one of my friends to knit, and she's been obsessed every since. Oh, and I learned to knit in college through a textile class I took for my clothing design degree. I think I covered a bunch of the questions...
    That magazine looks really cool. I love the whole "small" idea! I'm a sucker for anything miniature.
    Horicon, WI

  104. Anonymous12/09/2008

    How fun! Good for you. I love that - keeps your lid on tight. I feel the same. :)

  105. Knitting is expensive if you just look at the price of yarn, needles, and the commercial cost of the items I knit. But, if you factor in the cost of the hours of entertainment I get from knitting, it's actually quite reasonable. For example, a movie is $10 for 2 hours. So that's $5 an hour. A ball of sock yarn is $25 (for the sake of round numbers). It will take me at least 25 hours to knit a sock. That's $1 an hour. And probably less since it'll take me longer than 25 hours to knit a pair of socks. See? Knitting is cheaper than the movies!

  106. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I learned to knit on my own at about age 10 when my father suggested I get a hobby. I had a week to consider what that hobby might be and had to give him my decision at the end of the week. Later, after telling him I wanted to learn to knit, I was presented with knitting needles, several balls of red acrylic yarn ( this was back in the 70's when all yarn was acrylic worsted weight), and 2 "Teach Yourself to Knit" books. I never stopped. I knit all year round and rarely a day goes by when I don't take some time for my knitting. I enjoy all aspects of knitting: the thrill of starting a new project,the calm, steady progression of working on the project and the fulfilling sense of accomplishment when a project is completed. I knit for myself and others, from published designs and my own. There is a deep creative need within me that knitting satisfies. In a world of uncertainty where sad and scary news bombards us at every turn, my knitting is something that is reliably mine to control from start to finish, a steady constant in my life.
    Kim, Indiana

  107. I knit simply because I love to create. Making something beautiful with my own two hands gives me such a wonderful sense of satisfaction, pride, industry, and fulfillment.

    And if you ask my husband, knitting IS expensive. I generally use cheaper yarn and only buy "the good stuff" for the really special projects.

    I learned to knit mostly on my own (and with a little help from the cute lady at the yarn store) after I saw a baby sweater pattern in a magazine that I absolutely had to make. The problem is, I am continually seeing patterns now that I just have to make and so I don't think that I will ever stop knitting!

    Peggy in Utah

  108. Knitting helps me unwind from a world that seems to be always rush, rush around me. It gives my hands purpose when I'm watching tv or during those times when they would otherwise be idle. I like that I can create something in colors and textures I choose and I like that it takes time and patience.

    I learned to knit when I was a young girl living in rural France. My next door neighbor, Denise, was a salt of the earth kind of person with an attitude about work that matched the calluses on her hands. She couldn't believe that at age 8 I had no cooking or domestic skills. Having 5 sons of her own, she seemed eager to have the opportunity to teach me how to knit. Having learned the European style of knitting, I sometimes find it difficult to follow US patterns. Mostly, this is not a big deal for me - I look at patterns as a reference and for ideas but ultimately create my own patterns.

    I love that I live in a community where there are farmers raising sheep, women who sheer them and clean and dye the yarn, and spinners who spin the yarn that appears in my local yarn shop. It makes me feel more connected to my community when I can create something useful from this old process. I'm grateful to be part of this cycle.

  109. PS - Atlanticsong is Sara E.
    Altamont, NY

  110. This comment has been removed by the author.

  111. How happy I was to find that we live in the same city! Are you part of a local knitting group? I moved here not too long ago and can't seem to find one that feel right.

    ::how does knitting make you feel?
    Knitting makes me feel both useful and creative. I love knowing that I can make a useful garment from, essentially, a piece of string. I like knowing that garment could fit my six foot seven partner or my five foot two self, too. There is that power in creation, you know?

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    For the most part it is the completed item, although with laces and more complicated or experimental endeavors it's the execution.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    I'm not sure about most people, but when I knit with others I'm really just knitting around others. That is to say, I'm usually the only one knitting.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    I learned on my own. My grandmother taught me to crochet, needlepoint, and sew, though.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?
    Scarves. Then on to hats and mittens. Then a raglan sleeve sweater.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    All year 'round.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    A bit of both. I'll often start with a pattern and then change it so much that it's no longer a close relative of the pattern.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    Socks: forever. Sweater: three to six weeks. Scarf: two weeks. Of course, I'm an evening knitter, and I work 60+ hrs. a week as a librarian and teacher.

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    It's as expensive as you make it. You can get good yarn from a thrifted sweater, or you can get good yarn that costs a fortune.

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    We are so removed from the origins of anything, ourselves included, that it is satisfying to be involved in a process to organic and slow moving. We knitters can see every step if we choose to: from sheep to batting, the spinning into yarn, and finally, the slow stitching that results in a functional object.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know?
    I happen to think we're all pretty damn cool!

    Hadley/Chicago/USA <3

  112. How does knitting make me feel--relaxed!!

    Who taught me--My girlfriend made me learn to knit--it was difficult for me--I cried over it for 3 days--but when it came--it came and I have been knitting 32 years now and I love it. I have never taken time off from knitting.

    What was my first project--why a plain simple pullover sweater--why start with something small,--Actually my first crochet project 38 years ago was a shell stitch ripple afghan--as I said why start with something small.

    Do you knit all year round--Of course, doesn't everyone?

    If you should happen to use one of my comments--which I doubt--my e-mail is in my blogger profile. I live in NE, Ohio.

    You are such a talented lady.

  113. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I love the idea of mini mag! Will definitely buy it when it is out. I knit constantly to keep my sanity and to keep me from thinking about my husband too much. Not his flaws or his refusal to pick up after himself (kidding) but his constant travel schedule. I can make a scarf in 3 evenings i.e. 15 hours. Which is a bummer becoz I would have to start a project every 3 days and the cost adds up. But I find great satisfaction from the finished projects. In all I was glad to pick up knitting 1.5 years ago.

  114. Anonymous12/09/2008

    Hi!! You don't know me but I have been lookin around for some great ideas for handmade crafts and one of them was knitting or crocheting.. but i do not know how so i was wondering if you would be able to give me any advice or anything that can help.. id appreciate it.. thanks

  115. ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    I first learned to knit at the age of 8 on #2 pencils from an older cousin. But I didn't touch knitting again until I was 25. Then I learned form a Knitting for Dummies book on Christmas day.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?

    If the technique is new I will definitely use a pattern. But after doing something once I like to try it out on my own and see what I can come up with. I really don't like knitting the same thing twice. While I like a lot of patterns out there, I always seem to be making revisions or creating my own.

    Celeste - Minneapolis MN

    What a fun project to be part of!

  116. Anonymous12/09/2008

    Hey Leslie,
    I'm Anny from Frankfurt in Germany, a constant reader of your blog and I want to answer the question "do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?"
    In my case, it was YOU who brought me to knitting. I was just searching for a way to sew a bag when I found your blog. I was so captivated that I started reading it every day (a little miracle because I was realy bad in english in school and never read any english text voluntarily). My mother used to knit socks, but I was never intrested in, before I stumbled upon this blog. It was in spring 2008 and from this day on, I learned to knit and knitted socks for my whole family and a jacket for my boyfriend. Today I can't understand that there was a time I didn't know how to knit, realy!! I want to thank you for your wonderfull blog, even my boyfriend is reading it with me, because of the beautiful photos! He also loves the tradition of "cookie of the week" because I adopted it to our family :)
    My sister started to bake slice and bake cookies too :) I think you are doing a real great thing with this, you make a lot of people happy every day. That's a real feat.
    I hope my english isn't so bad at all, I never wrote a comment on your side jet because I feared the spelling, please excuse my faults.
    Greetings and merry christmas for you and your family!!

  117. Anonymous12/09/2008

    ::how does knitting make you feel?

    Happy, like I have accomplished something.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    The execution and start. Start cause of the nice fresh ball of yarn and the crisp new pattern. execution cause the knitting is so soothing.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?

    I like to knit alone when trying to get stuff done, but in a group to learn and see other methods.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?

    I learned from my mom, who learned from her mom.

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?

    Cat Scarves.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?

    All year round!

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?

    I knit from a pattern always. I would like to make something up sometime soon though!

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?

    Socks 4-5 days.
    Sweater = infinity. I can't finish a sweater....sigh.
    Scarf 4-5 days.

    ::do you think it is expensive?


    ::what has to do with the resurgence?

    Do it yourself TV shows and more emphasis on homemade and the search for unique items.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding)
    Catherine, Nova Scotia Canada.

  118. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I used to think that the easiest thing to learn to knit was a scarf - or rather that a scarf would be the first project new knitter should tackle. Now I think a hat would be a great first project - I can knit a hat in a day or two. However, I have not taught anyone to knit a hat, so this is just a theory.
    I knit whenever I can -- riding the bus or the Metro in DC - even while waiting on the platform for the Metro. I knit at night watching TV, on airplanes or riding in cars. I've knit while waiting in line at the farmers' market, waiting for doctors and dentists - but I won't knit at church or during work.
    Knitting makes me feel connected to my mother and grandmother - I have a picture of them knitting together -- it sits on top of the cabinet where I store yarn and my collection of knit shawls.
    Good luck with your article
    Trudy, Alexandria VA

  119. Oh, I could talk about knitting all day, but I'll stick with two questions: a hat is the easiest project to begin, with, and all year round, baby! All year round! (My third would of course be YOU as the coolest! That tight lid is what clinches it, you know.) (Rachel in Massachusetts)

  120. ::how does knitting make you feel? - like I have a purpose in life. I've never been one to have lazy hands

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? The start of the project is an exciting feeling. It gets me going. Sometimes the middle bits are a bit hard to get through but when it appears that I'm close to the end, the excitement to finish comes.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone? I like both. I like to knit while watching TV or chatting with friends, whether they are knitting or not.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? I had a great grandmother who taught me to knit. She was a fantastic knitter & even today I will knit in her "style" without even realizing!

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? Socks

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? All year round. I always have socks going. They are a wonderful to knit while driving with my husband. The small rows means I can get rounds down inbetween navigating.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? I usually start with a basic pattern & go from there, at least with socks. With hats, & jumpers, I make my own.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? Socks. If I really push I can definitely get a pair done in a week of evening TV watching.

    ::do you think it is expensive? yes, it is getting expensive. I don't knit because it saves me money. If I'm going to knit, I want to use decent wools. Knit Picks helps with giving good prices but if I head to the wool shop, I can guarantee it will be an expensive project - but worth it.

    ::what has to do with the resurgence? A love of being able to do your own thing. Have a designer look without the high designer price?

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding) YOU! What time do we come for cookies & pictures. Your house always looks like it is a lot of fun!


  121. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I learned to knit at an adult education class at a local high school just a few years ago. It was fun to be a part of the class and knit with others, but I like to knit alone so that I can concentrate because I usually choose more challenging projects. I love to knit socks, but I have one and one-half completed right now and can't seems to get back to it! I love luxury yarns (my sister calls me a "yarn snob"). Just being in a yarn store makes me feel like a kid in a candy store! Last Christmas my husband bought me some buffalo yarn. I knitted a cowl, and it is so warm! The matching mittens will be next. I loaded up on cashmere when our local yarn store went out of business, and I am currently working on a pair of fingerless cabled gloves. I love to knit all year long! It is very relaxing, and a great creative outlet for me. I always knit from a pattern, but I hope someday to be able to master writing my own patterns...I am truly amazed by those of you who can!

  122. Anonymous12/09/2008

    I love the execution-always learning somethi new!

  123. Wow, looks like you have enough answers to your questions, but I'll put my two cents worth in too, if that's ok :-)
    My mom taught me to knit at the age of 8, I am still amazed that I persevered and stuck with it cos I hate learning new things. I'm very creative, love to do crafts and stuff and what I love about knitting is the fascination of creating something with two stix and some wool! It still amazes me each time I knit a hat or a mitten or a sweater, I look at it and think "wow, I made that" :-)
    The best part for me is casting on with new yarn. Despite often being disappointed in the finished garment it doesn't stop the excitement of casting on for yet another new project - that feeling never gets old ;-)

  124. Gosh how exciting for you. Love the sweater that you're wearing in the picture too. Knitting helps me switch off from the restlessness that drives me crazy. I really fin it difficult to sit still and knitting allows me to stay on one place for at least twenty minutes or so. Some yarns are expensive, but there's something to be said for cheaper acrylics. I knit all year round I just switch over to cotton or bamboo in the warmer months. I also knit everywhere, in the car, at work, in the cinema.

  125. I can't stand just sitting around waiting. Knitting makes me feel productive and not as lazy.

  126. Anonymous12/09/2008

    ::how does knitting make you feel? Surprised. I can knit without looking at my hands, so it's always a surprise to look down and see what I have done.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? I hate to block and usually don't.

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone? I've never found a group to knit with.

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? My mother taught me to knit 48 years ago -- I was 15. She learned by taking a class.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? Sometimes I go for years without knitting, but then pick it up again.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? Always use a pattern.
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? A sweater takes a month. I can do a sock on one plane flight.

    ::do you think it is expensive? Yes. I never use cheap yarn -- I'm making a memory.

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? My mother. She made some wonderful stuff. She could even do fair isle, and argyle. With bobbins.

    Sue, OH

  127. Anonymous12/10/2008

    what has to do with the resurgence?

    it isn't considered an old lady thing to do anymore. I remember when I would tell people that I knit and they would look at me like, why do you do that? (I'm only 51) I can't tell you how many people I have taught in the last couple of years, including women that used to knit and now want to start again.I think it makes some people calm and they are amazed that it can be easy or challenging. I also think that September 11th had an impact on the resurgence, keeping your hands busy but at the same time making something useful, solid.
    It helped my mother at age 92-94 keep her mind in the nursing home, she knit all her life. I sent her directions in the mail how to bind off using an i-cord, I called a few days later to make sure she understood how to do it, she was almost finished with the project.

    Joan Northfield, VT USA

  128. I'm a high school English teacher and the curriculum Head of 5 departments in my school. I work a lot and knitting allows me to not be a teacher for a while. I wish I could knit every day but I actually get headaches if I knit too much, so I sometimes have to take a week off when I'm overenthusiastic with a new project!!

    However, when I DO knit (and I knit alone), I feel as if I'm meditating. Someone mentioned using knitting to calm anxiety and panic attacks and, as someone who also used to suffer from both of those, I do find that knitting is an excellent outlet for stress related anxiety. Also, I often say I'm powerless over my knitting addiction as not does my grandmother knit, but both of my parents have their own creative outlets (quilting and woodturning), so I'm well versed in the concept of having a creative addiction.

    When I knit, I not only feel a connection to my grandmother but also to the knitters of Newfoundland, Canada, where I was born and lived for a time ( and where my grandmother still lives). Newfoundland has a tremendous history and community of knitting - just google a charity called NONIA - and I truly feel sometimes as if I'm channeling the energy of all of those women in Newfoundland - it's an awesome feeling.

    Thanks for the opportunity to share. I love reading your blog!
    Krista/ Ottawa, Canada

  129. These are great questions. Knitting is really calming for me. I usually knit alone, but would like to join the knitting group at my local library--it would motivate me to finish a project. :)

  130. Oh, how great you get to do some photography for this mini. Knitting makes me feel relaxed, it is the process and the completion (for sure not the beginning). I think it is pretty expensive, maybe that's why I tend to use acrylic more and I end up making my own pattern most of the time.
    Chicago, IL

  131. Anonymous12/10/2008

    ……how does knitting make you feel?
    I started knitting when my father was in the hospital recovering from a stroke. Quite literally, I think my knitting helped me keep it all together--emotionally, mentally. If I hadn't had my knitting to focus on while my father slept or through all the tests, the injections, the setbacks, I think I would have gone crazy. Knitting makes me feel focused, clearheaded. It's my meditation.

  132. Anonymous12/10/2008

    san antonio, tx USA

  133. Anonymous12/10/2008

    To answer a few:

    I like all the three stages of knitting although starting a new project sometimes makes me restless (figuring out things).

    I knit all year round and never without wool.

    I mostly knit up my own stuff. Most of the time.

    I also don't think twice about the cost of knitting although in reality, I probably spend more on yarn than I have spent on a good pair of boots.

    Lastly - personally I knit alone. I prefer it that way.

    Have fun Leslie.

  134. The why and the "resurgence" answers are connected for me. I knit to feel connected to the generations of women that came before me that did the same thing. I can knit alone and know that my great-grandmother is somehow "with" me in that moment. I also think we, as a generation/culture want to feel more connected to even the ordinary and everyday items in our world. A winter hat, or socks or a blanket has a journey and a story that will last and we are intimately connected with each stitch.

  135. ::knitting relaxes me...it keeps my mind off of things when I need that.
    ::i love the start and the end of the project the best...the middle gets old to me depending on what i'm working on!
    ::i like knitting in groups and alone
    ::my grandmother taught me and then my mom and mother in law are helping me with more advanced items.
    ::blanket and scarf
    ::i live in florida it doesn't get that cold :)
    ::i just made up my own scarf pattern...liking it
    ::expensive is very relative
    ::people are just looking back to tradition and doing things in generation groups...back to home feeling
    ::my grandma was the coolest knitter i know...she made everything...

  136. I started knitting after my first daughter was born , I wanted to make her a hat . I never did. My first project was a handbag that turned out pretty great , if i do say so my self . I gave it as a gift . Most people say scarves or washcloths something very basic to start with, I say be brave , if you can follow directions and have a bit of patience you can achieve anything. I continue to knit all year long because it's my thing, I do it to relax after a long day of running after my many small children it's nice to have something that is mine , maybe not for me , but it's my project alone. It keeps my brain ticking outside of diapers , toys , and nursery rhymes. Lastly , I knit because it's timeless. My mother taught me to knit, she has knit since she was a teenager. She knit for my brother and I as babies and small children and she started to knit again once she became a Grammie . I still have the things she made for me, my girls love them and so do I. Knitting creates memories that are creative and unique , that can be treasured for generations!

    near Pittsburgh , PA

  137. That's a lovely photo!

    Knitting makes me feel: Calm. Productive. Capable.

    I love it for the ever expanding skills that are fostered by challenging projects (math, creativity, and problem-solving skills in addition to specific knitting techniques) ...

    I think there are as many different answers to some of these questions as there are knitters, and I love that about this community. We're incredibly diverse!

    Thanks - good luck with the pics and the article!

  138. Wow, it seems you've gotten plenty of comments, so I'll just say this-
    knitting makes me feel productive, creative, and focused, all at the same time. I knit in as many spare moments (car/bus/train rides, waiting rooms, stop lights, etc...) as I can, any time of year.

    Happy knitting-

  139. When I was in college my knitting/crocheting rhythm always followed the same cycle. I'd go home for Thanksgiving, somehow 'rediscover' all my yarn and unfinished projects, bring some back to school with me, and just in that critical lead up to finals period I'd be knitting and crocheting like mad. "Oh, sure, I'll study for OChem ... after one more round ..." and then two hours later I'd put down my needles and haul my books to the library. But Christmas was coming up and I needed to make gifts! Plus it was super relaxing and a productive-feeling way to procrastinate.

    These days I'm back in grad school and there are certain *cough* *boring* *cough* classes where my fingers itch for a project for my hands. Unfortunately I'm between projects at the moment but it always seems to be the same, the more I want to knit and the longer I go without yarn in my hands, the fiercer the longing becomes and the greater speed with which I tear through the project once I finally track down the yarn/pattern/needles that was holding me up.

    Oh yes, and a born tinkerer with patterns. Have yet to make much up from scratch, but tinkering? I don't think I've ever completely followed directions.

  140. Anonymous12/11/2008

    Thanks for the chance to add input to your article! I just discovered your blog and like how you express yourself, and your projects and photos are lovely. I knit alone and it helps me stay focused and calm, I have to concentrate on knitting and it fills my mind so that I don't have to think too much about the zillion worries of the world. Lately I have been off work due to stress and knitting has helped in my recovery. If all else fails I know I can roast a chicken and knit a sock! It's very empowering. It is also expensive, $20 for good sock yarn! But I love my fancy socks and so do the people who have recieved a pair. The delight factor is huge! The Internet is a great tool and I have learned a lot of techniques through YouTube of all things. I wish so many times my Granny was alive to see how much I enjoy handcrafts like she did and imagine how proud she is of my progress. I got my mom on Ravelry and she loves the community. I've discovered knitters everywhere I go and even the most macho hard boiled tough guys on the bud like to fondle the yarn! This year I learned how to knit socks, I can make a pair in a week or so. Scarves are quick projects for me too although a lace scarf done in laceweight yarn took me 7 months. I have made 2 sweaters and depending upon the complexity they seem to take a few months - bit I have one sleeve that I've done 9 times and I have to rip it again as my gauge changed drastically!!! Hope you give us a link of where we can get the magazine!

  141. You just validated my fear of public displays of kniting (ha ha). Good for you for being commited to what you're working on though - and why are other 'public hobbies' any less acceptable: reading, portable video games, BLACKBERRIES. Anyways, this is another whole huge topic.

    In the meantime, here are a few more answers for the great project you are working on:

    ::how does knitting make you feel? (comforted, focussed, calm)
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item? (I love all three, but the start that excited me most and the execution that relaxes me the most. The completion is just a bonus)
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own? (I remember watching my mom knit and learning a very basic cast-on stitch when I was little. It wasn't until recent years that I taught myself to knit from some terrific books. Now it's an activity that helps me connect to memories of my mom who is no longer with us, and the crafts that surrounded my childhood.)
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? (I knit from patterns but dream of one day making my own original creation. Every pattern I choose teaches me some new stitch or trick, and one day I hope to piece that knowledge together into something new.)
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf? (Far far too long. For a sweater I would guess about 6 months. For socks I would say 2-3 months. A scarf would be about 2-3 weeks)
    ::do you think it is expensive? (It can be, but I think quality materials are worth the investment considering the time involved in making something. I also justify the cost by considering it an investment a beautiful item and a hobby/interest. The great thing about knitting is that you can combine bigger and smaller projects; knitting choices can be big and expensive, or compact and affordable.)
    ::what has to do with the resurgence? (I think knitting draws us to a perception of simpler pursuits and pleasures. Handmade connects us to our own past and the activities of generations before us. And in a complicated, turbulent, and rapidly changing world where so much is 'virtual' and electronic, knitting is a tactile and patient process that lets us 'unplug' while creating beautiful things with just our hands, some string and a couple of sticks.)
    ::how does knitting make you feel?
    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?
    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    ::do you think it is expensive?
    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (That woman sitting beside the pool with the f#*$*≈g knitting.)

  142. Anonymous12/11/2008

    Knitting makes me feel calm, creative and as if I may have achieved something worthwhile. It's the actual process I really enjoy but there is a small (okay quite a big part really) part of me that loves to wear what i've made, or even better see someone else wearing what I've made. Makes me feel good.
    My grandmother taught me how to cast on but Mum taught me how to knit so that an object came out the other end. It is expensive but gives me so much peace of mind I figure it's better than some other things that I could be doing. Plus I end up with the finished thing.

    Good luck with the project

    Jen, UK

  143. Anonymous12/11/2008

    my mam taught me to knit when I was about 8. I've knitted on and off for years but nothing really seriously until I started blogging - it's my way of relaxing when the kiddies go to bed and I knit all year round My LYS is literally at the end of my street so Hub would say it is expensive but I don't think so as I always look for bargains. I always tend to knit from a pattern , don't think I;m clever enough to go for it on my own.... hope this helps with your research..
    Lisa , Sunderland , UK

  144. Leslie:

    I'm so excited by your post and all the great questions about knitting.

    I am a relatively new knitter. I took lessons in Feb 2008 from a very old Irish woman named Agnes. She taught me patiently over four weeks how to knit and told me frequently that I reminded her of her granddaughter.

    I live far away from "home", kind of like Agnes, and knitting always makes me feel connected to all the women knitters in my family before me. I really believe that knitting was coursing through my veins, long before I picked up the needles. For generations, Adams women have been knitting - for functionality and fun. Knitting relaxes me and really inspires me. I love the challenge and yet the simplicity of the art, and know it will be a talent and skill I'll use for the rest of my life.

    Holli - Boston, MA

  145. Knitting is like therapy to me - it allows me to sit down, zone out, relax and create something. Creating things makes me feel very centered and happy.

    Completing an item AND being happy with it is the best feeling ever.

    I do think knitting can be expensive - but if you shop wisely - you can create beautiful projects on a budget.

  146. okay, is that you in the photo? love the photo.
    you have plenty of comments from others, so I'll be brief.

    when I was young, my grandmother knit my sister and I everything-hats, scarves, gloves, and vests. I thought it was corny-wearing something hand knit to school???
    now that I'm older and grandmother is now gone, I want to carry on the tradition she started-family knitting.

  147. I know you already have more than enough of these, but there is one that I really wanted to answer.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?

    I knit because each part of a project grounds me in a reality that has nothing to do with the increasingly virtual world I find myself in.

    The beginning is about imagination and creative solutions. I enjoy the tactile experience of choosing a yarn, a fiber, a color.

    The middle is about embracing the way things are. Everything from a stitch pattern that exciting once has now grown stale to feel of a lanolin-rich yarn smoothing my dry hands in winter connects me to the now, while still leaving room to dream about tomorrow.

    The end of a project is a rush of excitement. I am done and I have something. It is real, and can be used either by myself or someone else. It is great to work on something and produce an object out of nothing more than string and time.

    My husband's main hobby is video games, and often he bemoans the apparent waste of his time. He doesn't have anything to point to and say, "I did this thing and it is wonderful" at the end of a long day, and that is a sad thing. Everyone benefits from making something with their own hands. Knitting is just the path I have chosen for my little acts of creation.

    Seanna Lea, Braintree, MA

  148. Anonymous12/12/2008

    ::how does knitting make you feel? Very clumsy..

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?== Dont know, i have never completed a project. (seriously!)

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with? A row. :)Probably kitchen towels...

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out? When i get a hankering i will knit. I keep it with me always no matter what.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up? So far, i make my own up, as patterns make no sense to me.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of a scarf? I refuse to answer this question.

    ::do you think it is expensive? Not yet...

    ::who is the coolest knitter you know? (ha. kidding) My friend Angela of Larksongknits.com. She taught me in 10th grade how to do it, and has inspired me ever since to get better. I have failed her miserabley in this venture. (teehee)

  149. Wanted to jump in as well.
    I knit because I want to meet a goal. And there is absolutely nothing better than having someone say "I love____" and me being able to say "Thank you. I made it!"
    I knit all the time. There is no season for me to knit!
    Thanks for your blog!
    Tiffany from Tokyo, Japan

  150. Anonymous12/16/2008

    Great questions! If you don't mind, I'd like to answer them all on my blog, linking back to you.
    The post is here: http://stancesandstitches.wordpress.com/2008/12/16/knittingjournalism/

  151. I love your sight, and this post..so I had to do alll these questions on my blog...thanks for making me think about why I do what I do....


  152. i am wondering what has been happening with this project, and what you're up to... hope you're swell.

  153. Anonymous2/13/2009

    how does knitting make you feel?
    I came back to knitting after achieving tenure at an ivy league university in a scientific field. I was so focused on my research I never thought about these issues previously but a senior colleague made a comment to me that I was basically “an aggressive *****” and I looked around and realized I was one of a handful of women at my institution in the sciences who had made tenure. So I got into knitting as a way of reclaiming my femininity after being in a masculine competitive world for so long, and I also feel that it is a terrific stress reliever.

    ::is it the start of a project - the execution- or the completed item?
    Like all aspects and love knitting and gifting for others

    ::do most women/men like to knit in groups? or alone?
    Love my knitting group, also love to knit alone at night after the kids are tucked up in bed

    ::do most women/men learn from a mother/grandmother, or learn on their own?
    Self taught via YouTube

    ::what are the easiest items to begin with?
    A hat because a scarf although “easier” requires endless amount of knitting and with a hat one has the satisfaction of seeing a 3D object emerge from the needles and it can be created in a timely fashion. Other than that, the easiest pattern to start with is the one that you are most motivated to create.

    ::do you knit all year round, or just when it is cold out?
    Pretty much year round.

    ::do you always knit from a pattern or do you tend to make your own up?
    Mostly with a pattern but I typically knit something a couple of times and make variations on the theme.

    ::how long does it take you to knit a pair of socks? a sweater? a scarf?
    Have never knit socks, a sweater between 6 months to a year, scarf takes about a month ~ 2-3 inches every knitting session.

    ::do you think it is expensive?
    It’s an infinite hobby, it can be done v. economically but to sample the entire range of knitting and to make things easier involves the purchase of lots of little gadgets. Cumulatively these things eat up money, not to mention the yarn. These is the dollar expenses, the time expenses are also huge!

    ::what has to do with the resurgence?
    Several factors and it was interesting to see the difference from when I had learned to knit as a child and when I picked it up again 30 years later.
    lots of fun yarns, not just novelty but all kinds of fiber and all kinds of colors made it very desirable, I love collecting single skeins of interesting yarns
    the idea of having more control, being able to deconstruct and construct clothing, great for women as a way to assert independence from whatever ha
    being able to create something unique, a sweater designed to fit the contours of my husband’s body just so
    Debbie Stoller and the ‘can do“ independent attitude of her writing.
    Knit bloggers and the dissemination of techniques online, most particularly Ravelry.

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