Why we knit

I’m on a weeklong trip and I forgot to take my knitting with me.

A few days in, I am considering going on an emergency shopping trip and buying something (even though I have enough). So far I missed knitting when in long conversations with family members, in the early morning as I wake up and during lunch-break.

So I am spending some time today to reflect on why I knit and why others do it. In my research, I stumbled upon Ann Hood’s Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, a collection of essays about knitting. [https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20663751-knitting-yarns](https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20663751-knitting-yarns)

Here are some excerpts from the book:

“But here’s the thing. The lesson in all this, which I did not learn then, is that so much of the joy of knitting is not in the creation of a perfect product. Rather, it is in the act of using one’s own bodily skills to make something for someone else’s body. The gift is not so much in the end result (although the end results are often if not usually spectacular), but in the way that something made with one’s own hands says a few things of utmost importance:
I made this for you.

I thought of you while I made it.

I guess I kind of love you.”

Elizabeth Berg

“My grandmother, born in Shanghai, knit brioche turtlenecks for the harsh winters of Wisconsin. She knit mohair cardigans in pale blues and in peach shades with matching buttons. My mother, sisters, and I wore and loved the things she made. Our family was short on money and purchased clothes so rarely that any breath of newness and prettiness in our lives was a treasure. She was a wonderful knitter. She never used patterns, but she had an eye for fashion; she studied the catalogues and newspapers for trends in collars and sleeves. We all knew that she spent every penny she had on yarn for us.”

Lan Samantha Chang

“And I was looking forward to wrapping it and giving it Christmas morning to my Aunt Jeannie down in Fishville, Louisiana. But this feeling of joyful anticipation rarely came while I was actually knitting, for the act itself was too calming for that, the constant sticking and looping and light cinching and more sticking and looping, my fingers moving in a rhythm they’d never known before. It required me to focus, and it allowed me to drift too, the way running a long distance required my feet and legs to do one thing while my mind could do another. ”

Andre Dubus III

I liked these quotes because the two knitting projects I was considering taking with me were both gifts I had hoped I would finish during my trip and gift them to their beloved recipient. But I know my needles are patiently waiting for me at home, and that I will be able to pick them up in a few days.

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