Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Things My Mother Taught Me

My mother taught me:

To love beauty. To appreciate nature.  The importance of eating my vegetables - and loving it.  To be gracious.  To be strong.  To be myself, and let others be whomever they're going to be.  To cook really yummy, nourishing food.  To adore the written word.  The importance of having and being a good friend.  That the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is real.  That it's okay - desirable even - to be silly . . .

I guess I learned all the important stuff from my mom.  But my mom didn't teach me to knit. 

My favorite online magazine just published a video called "Things My Mother Taught Me" in which one friend patiently helps two others who are learning to knit.


In the video the more experienced knitter friend tells us, "The way to learn to knit is to have someone who loves you, or who is willing to tolerate you, nearby . . ."  She got that right.

A little over ten years ago, I learned to knit.  I had just one knitster friend, who introduced me to knitting just by doing it around me.  I asked her to teach me to knit, but she declined citing lack of the requisite patience.  Knowing me the way she does, she recommended that I get a book.  So, I bought my first knitting book - Debbie Bliss' How To Knit - which was a Godsend.  Then, I bought a couple of others including Knitting for Dummies (which I also highly recommend to beginning and even more advanced knitters).  And it has been a fiber party (okay, off-and-on) ever since.  Even my non-teaching friend will tell you that I taught myself to knit from a book, but the truth is as I was learning I had someone nearby to tolerate me and my questions about my many screw-ups, and to celebrate each of my little victories (though her celebration might have been a wee bit coerced).  That support was invaluable. 

Anyone who has taught someone else to knit knows the importance of patience.  Believe me, it helps to love (or at least really like) the person who just can't seem to get their fingers to work, or insists that a stitch consists of two loops - not one, or just can't seem keep more than four stitches on a needle at a time.  But, even if you are not the teacher, but just the "nearby tolerator" a certain level of patience is required when the novice freaks out because they dropped a stitch, or their stitches are all twisted up, or they have more stitches at the end of a row than they had at the beginning.   Or when they get excited about having finished an entire 30-stitch row, or finally remembering to bring the yarn forward on a purl stitch, or finishing their first purple, acrylic, three-inch-wide, two-and-a-half-feet-long, K1 P1 rib scarf.

Sigh.  Patience and Love.  That's what knitting's all about.  Maybe my mother taught me a little something about it, afterall.

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