Sunday, December 13, 2009

A new generation of knitter-

I was on Ravelry this morning, and happened to see a contest notice in the Asian Knitters group. It was for the Bergere de France's celebration on Mélusine tricote's blog, and I MUST play! They want to know what it's like to be a new generation knitter. What? Me? I am an old
school knitter! Or maybe not?

It is odd to write about a new generation of knitter. I learned to knit in the pre-Internet days, the days when I scoured the magazine rack, longing for French yarns, Italian yarns, British yarns; yarns that were difficult to obtain in Texas. I was isolated. I could knit, yes, but my skills grew very slowly. To learn new things, I relied on sketches in "How to Knit" books, and laborious instructions. I became lost on projects that were, in retrospect, simple.

In 2003, something happened. I joined a bulletin board, and got a chance to talk with other knitters. My knitting world EXPLODED. I found people who thought like me, knit like me, were LIKE me. I discovered that not all patterns are correct, and my friends could help me navigate the errors! My new knitting friends wore yarn under their blouses to check for roughness BEFORE they knit it. Learning knitting became FUN!

The influx of new ideas, new ways, and new know-how was GREAT. I learned how to knit two colors two-handed on YouTube, and posted a how to crochet clip for someone I knew. I could easily email a friend to talk about a pattern, a yarn, an IDEA, and work thru the execution. I discussed the color plan for this top with a woman who lives 1000 miles (1400 km) away! I could not show a badly-made project, so my skills grew quickly.

At some point, I became friends with these online knitters. As a group, we've done blankets for new babies, shawls for grieving widows, and slippers for sick friends. We've knit our way thru crimes and blessings, lost parents and siblings. We've made breasts for cancer patients. I've wagered sock yarn on television show contestants in a Ravelry group. We even had a 'bridal shower' for a friend-and we all gave her yarn e-gift vouchers!

At first, my husband laughed at my "imaginary friends", but as time passed, he came to see how solid we knitters are. I had a surgery recently, and my post box was stuffed with letters and parcels
from women I have never seen. I found a knitter in Malta who is a distant relative (very distant-the marriage between the two families took place in 1854)! I was even able to find local knitting friends!!!

My knitting world is SO big now. My knitting has no boundaries. I learned how to read a Japanese pattern on-line, and found sites with knitting translations, so French, Spanish, and German patterns are not confusing anymore! The patterns all start the same-needle size, tension swatch, and cast on! If I run short of yarn or need something for a project, I can buy yarn and patterns in ANY country, either through a store front or on-line auction.

It is a big, big world, but the community IS, dare I say it.....tightly knit! We share our lives as well as our projects. In a world that can be very impersonal, we have an oasis. That, to me, is the best part about being a "new generation knitter".

Knit on!!!


smariek said...

Good luck with the contest!

I never would have learned how to knit if it weren't for you and all my other "imaginary friends".

Michelle said...

What a fantastic post!

Anonymous said...

You have no idea how much I've learned from all of you 'imaginary friends', and how much comfort you were during a very difficult time four years ago. You said it well!!


Libby said...

Well Said Betsy!!! I feel the very same way even though I have dropped off the face of the earth. However I am trying to keep up but somehow seem to always be behind.


Gryffinitter said...

YEah, bets, just - yeah!


Daryl said...

Moi, aussi, yeah.