I’m a knitter. It started after reading Bernadette Murphy’s inspiring book, Zen and the Art of Knitting, several years ago. After hearing Murphy’s thoughts on the wonders of knitting, I wanted to learn. I haven’t set down the needles since.
I won’t forget what it was like to realize how, when two sticks and some string work together, fabric is created. The ability to turn string into a sweater is — well, it’s a miracle. Something else happens, when I knit. The slow creation of a thing (whether it’s a hat or a sweater or a scarf) helps me appreciate the materials and work that it takes to create things. If you look closely at a sweater, you can see each individual V of the stitch. It makes me think about the materials that I use in the world — where they come from and the work that’s put into them.
Knitting is not necessarily simple living or anti-consumerist. In fact, if you visit Ravelry (the Facebook of the knitting world), you’ll find that consumerism and yarn can be quite a happy pair. Knitters have “yarn stashes” and yarn buying problems. Some knitters spend more money than I make in a week on yarn every month. Some knitters, though, are pushing against consumerism with their craft. They’re unraveling old sweaters to knit into new projects. They’re trading yarn, sharing project ideas. They’re also making things. It’s what some call the DIY revolution: creating handmade objects as a way to cultivate awareness and appreciation of how things are made — and of our stuff in general. In a world where so many things are manufactured so far away and sold for so very little, it helps to think about where stuff comes from.