A Reason to Knit

People are always fascinated by my knitting. But typically non-knitters who engage me in conversation about it inevitably get around to asking me if I can a. make them something or b. can they buy something from me? Sigh…but it’s always people who knit or know someone who knits that ask me why I knit. I got caught up in a long conversation about it the other day and thought I’d share my thoughts and would love to hear your reasons why as well.
Usually the first reason I give for why I knit is joy. I named this blog Yards of Happiness for a reason, when I knit it makes me happy. It destresses me when work and life are a bit too hectic. I’m elated when I figure out a pattern, a new stitch or give someone a gift and you can see they truly love it. My girlfriend Rachel got the box with the two doggies in it for her kids on Tuesday and when I was packing them up I text her this pic and told her I was a little sad to see them go after spending time with them. I mean I made them, sometimes it’s hard to let a finished object go.
She wrote back, “They will join a well-cared-for bunch of rotating visitors in Jacob’s bed. They will also learn to play ‘school’ and get books read to them. Leah will put them over her shoulder and say ‘pat,pat’ (which she did in a video she sent me). They will go on car trips and subway rides. Watch Disney movies. We will give them a good home.”

Well damn that made me almost cry. And that’s why I knit. I get to make something for someone I love to share with someone she loves the most in the world. She even sent me videos of them opening the box and her 4 year old read the card out loud. It was the best.
My secondary reason to knit is for myself. I’m not a person who talks about the whole slow fashion movement because I don’t exactly know where I fit in it and I never feel like I’m slow. LOL But I have started to buy less when I know I can make myself something instead. I said about 2 years ago that my goal was that all the sweaters in my closet would eventually be hand knit. I’m slowly getting there. Last year I focused more on knitting things for myself and less on others. Despite my extended family that asks me all the time for hats, scarves, ties and sweaters I don’t feel bad putting their requests to the side when I’m working on something for myself to add to my wardrobe. I’m trying my best to build a thoughtful collection of things in quality yarn that will last me for a while and will be timeless but still match my style and personality. And in between all of that I’ll knit a gift or two but for now my focus is really on me and what I want and need to add to my wardrobe.

So now I’m asking you, why do you knit? 

22 Replies to “A Reason to Knit”

  1. Your question really got me thinking! I thought about it and realized the reason I started knitting was I wanted to knit myself a sweater. I could crochet, but I feel crocheted sweaters are kinda ugly. So about four years ago I went to YouTube and learned to knit. Today I have knitted countless items for other people (which I love to do!), my Etsy shop, and my sweater has been sitting on the needles forever! One of these days I will have to put everything else aside and just concentrate on my sweater. 🙂

    1. You should! Sometimes we get caught up feeling we should make for others and forget to make for ourselves.

  2. Rachel’s message about how the little doggies will have a good home and your description of the kids’ getting them is so sweet I can hardly stand it. ❤️

  3. AWESOME, DWJ!!! Paying forward the joy and I’m glad the doggies got a caring home! 🙂

  4. I just love the whole process. Choosing yarn (I love buying yarn, imagining what could be made of it!), thinking of the specific item I want to create, looking for the pattern, and then knitting or crocheting itself… so relaxing, keeping me focused but not too much so it doesn’t get stressful… just something about creating a beautiful (hopefully) thing out of scraps that keeps me hooked. It’s quite empowering too, to know that I can actually produce a garment with my own hands. And then I also like wearing what I made, it just feels so awesome 🙂

    1. You’re right it is pretty empowering to know you made something with your hands. Although in the beginning I was always terrified something would unravel as soon as I wore it. LOL

  5. Knitting started off as a hobby to calm me because I had a baby who howled if I didn’t carry her. It still is my yoga. Yeah, I get annoyed when ppl say, “You can sell that.” I know they mean well in that they’re complimenting me but yeah, it’s like do you even realize how long it can take just to knit up a beanie? And man, can’t I just enjoy knitting not be all thinkin’ about the green? I used to want to open an Etsy shop and sell handknit beanies; now I’m like no thanks because when will I be able to knit for myself?

    1. Exactly!! People want me to knit dog sweaters all the time and sell them and I just don’t want to lose the joy I have for knitting by making it something done for profit. I just want it to be my special treat.

      1. Yep! People tell me all the time I should sell my knitting/quilting/sewing. If I had to make things for a deadline/sale it would take all the fun out of it. Not interested!

  6. I knit because I enjoy it and it’s relaxing. Sweaters are my favorite things to knit, followed by baby items. The number 1 comment I get from non-knitters is: I could never do that. I always tell them anyone can knit, you just have to try. They never believe me…

  7. I learned to knit from my grandmother’s cousin — Aunt Kate to all of us. She was a world-class knitter who made everything from coats to Christmas stockings (I still have mine, featuring Santa with a white angora beard), and we thought she was magic. When I first met her, she looked at me and said, “When I was your age, I was knitting myself a pair of red mittens.” I was six and not used to being told I was lagging behind my age group, so I sat right down next to her with a little wad of yarn she gave me and a couple of spare double points. It was hard work, and I dropped stitches and made holes and lost my way, but at some point it began to make sense. The feeling of carrying on a family tradition from pioneer times (Kate was born in a sod house on the prairie) is part of the pleasure of this work. And then there’s the fact that I have a serious “woolgathering” streak. When I feel a need to daydream and ponder, it helps get the creative wheels turning to have a piece of knitting in my hands. So I knit for the pleasure of doing it and for the FO, both. And when I pull out some of Aunt Kate’s needles and cast on a new project, I send up a quiet word of thanks.

    1. Ahhh that is so awesome. My grandma could sew and she taught my dad and he taught me but I am not great at it. I wish I was better so instead I took knitting lessons and that clicked in my brain. It just gives me so much.

  8. Knitting keeps me calm. When everything else is a source of stress I have something to hold in my hands and soothe myself.
    Have you seen the Fall 2017 issue of Knitscene? 9 cardigans and I want them all!! The question is which one first!

  9. I enjoyed reading this post, Dana! I definitely knit to soothe my heart and/ or rid myself of excess energy. Sometimes it’s happy energy, sometimes it’s anxious. Knitting, and the friends I have made online because of it, has seen me through the deterioration and passing of my beloved grandparents (and friends), teenage years, an almost empty nest, marital stress, and health problems. But it has also given me a sense of confidence, community, appreciation for simple things, and daily joy. It’s part of life, like fixing food for my family. It’s just necessary now.

    1. You are right, it is necessary now in my daily life. I feel off when I can’t/haven’t knit for a few days. It’s just become a part of me.

  10. Yes! I love this post. It has so much truth in it. I knit for a lot of reasons – joy, satisfaction, personal challenge – but the primary one is calm. It calms my anxiety and reinforces the fact that even though I have a chronic illness I can still do something productive.

    I’m new to your blog and I already adore it. Finding such colour and happiness in one place is magical.

  11. I knit because it makes my brain feel good. Knitting is binary – Purl is a backwards Knit, a needle can enter a stitch in one of two ways. The repetition makes my hands strong. I can knit in the car, standing in line, on a flight (particularly now that circular needles are so comfortable and adaptable.) Beautiful yarns call out to my hands – “Touch me! Make something with me!”

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