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We asked our designers why they like knitting and we were so impressed by the stories they had to share about their knit beginnings. Here are their candid answers to hopefully inspire your answer to the question…
“I like knitting because learning to knit boosted my confidence and it gave me the chance to play with cables! My maternal grandmother was a needlearts master and she successfully taught me to crochet, embroider, and sew when I was a kid. She even tried to teach me to knit, but everything I made turned into a trapezoid. Since all evidence of my early knitting projects has been destroyed, I’m not sure if it was a gauge issue, if I was dropping stitches or if I was increasing somehow. I tried to learn to knit at various points in my adult life and it never seemed to stick. I was convinced it was “too hard” for me. Then a dear friend who is a knitter told me that I was just psyching myself out. She said I was an expert crocheter and that I already knew all about yarn. This little switch in my mind made knitting somehow possible! I picked up a knitting DVD and suddenly, almost like magic, I was able to learn how to knit. Since knitting didn’t come easily to me, I’m proud of every finished project I make — and, I’m also proud of the disasters that end up getting unraveled. I have always loved the look of knit cables, and getting to make my very own projects with cables has been really fun.” – Marie Segares, Underground Crafter
“I began to knit because I was an eight year-old pest. As the youngest of a large family, and many of my older sisters and mother all sewed and knit, I badgered my poor mom to let me “help” too. When I was six, she sat me down at her old Singer machine and told me to follow the lines on gingham fabric. Poor Mom, I became too good at this! At eight, badgering no longer worked as Mom had found out that I would teach myself something if ignored long enough. Hey, moms know their kids, right? Now, a (ahem) long time later, I am an avid knitter and designer of knitwear. Thanks, Mom, miss you always.” – Nancy Vandivert, Nancy Vandivert Designs
“First, Well, I’ve been knitting since I was 4. So. . . I guess it’s just kind of stuck with me. I actually learned to knit as a form of physical therapy and fine motor skills training, so 4-year-old me was less then impressed. But now, I love it, and my knitting comes pretty much everywhere with me! It’s actually really wonderful, the interactions and reactions I have when people see me knitting on the subway or on a bus — I’ve met some of the best people that way! Also, for me, knitting is my version of a fidget toy — I actually pay better attention in lectures and meetings if I have knitting in my hands. So I really do knit just about anywhere, now. It’s portable, and it helps keep me sane!
Second, I’d actually have to credit Nicola (one of the amazing staff I have worked with), for my love of I Like Knitting. I admit, I didn’t really know a lot about the magazine before I found one of their design calls, and started looking through their catalog of patterns. After seeing the amazing patterns they’d previously published, I decided to submit, and was accepted! Well, during the design process, I wrote many e-mails with many questions to Nicola, and she was always so sweet in her answers, and really helped untangle any problems that came up! So much of a knit designer’s work is helped or hindered by the people we work with, and Nicola was just a gem! It speaks a lot about a company how they treat the folks they work with, and I’ve been very impressed!” – Sarah Dawn Adams, Sarah Dawn’s Designs
“I Like Knitting has given me an opportunity to share my passion for knitting. In every stitch I make I weave in my love for knitting. This simple act connects the past, present and future. Knitting brings out memories of my time with my grandmothers, my aunts, and my mom. Our passion for fiber art and craft unites us across the globe and generations.” – Stana Sortor, Stana’s Critters etc.
“I like knitting because I think it’s magical to be able to take some sticks and string and turn it into something useful and/or beautiful. I like knitting because it’s a way to make love tangible and to send a hug to someone on the other side of the world, or to express something that I cannot put into words when someone is hurting. And I like knitting because it gives me something productive to do when I can’t sit still!” – Bonnie Franz
“I like knitting because it enhances my life and allows me to contribute to our family whilst we are in transition, PLUS I can take it anywhere. Knitting keeps my hands busy and I have met many lovely people and amazingly talented craftspeople! In addition, I have forged a few close relationships. These people are crucial to my continuation of design, whether it is a springboard to bounce ideas or just encouragement on those low days.
Meeting my friend in France was so funny – we both just sort of jumped in and she said, “Come stay at my house for a week!”, it was not until I was on the train we both thought, ‘wait a minute – how is this going to go? We have never even spoken on the phone!’ Then I arrived and it was like we were old friends, staying up late and talking until we passed out! It was such a wonderful visit. She is a terrific crafts person and spins gorgeous yarns along with knitting my designs and selling them in her shop (lapattedelourse). Since we met she has a new workshop on her land and we have dubbed it as ‘Mona’s bedroom’ for when I next visit!
I adore designing for I Like Knitting magazine – it is a super cute versatile platform and I am not constrained by the amount of pattern space. It gives me a chance to happily ‘chart away’ to make for a clearer easier to read pattern and still let me be a part of a group of contemporary designers!” Mona Zillah, Bunny Muff Designs
“I like knitting because it’s orderly and meditative, and it combines with crochet so well! It took me a long time to learn to knit after learning to crochet, but anything to do with yarn is fun for me – and I like to mix it up once in a while!” – Tamara Kelly, Moogly Blog
“I like knitting because it allows me to create something from an idea. The art of the process draws me to it. It is never the same. Even with a given pattern, the knitter is free to modify and customize until it is perfect” – Renate Kamm, Yarn-Stube
“I like knitting because I have a lot of trouble sitting still and it is something productive to do with my hands. It also allows me to flex my creative muscles. It’s like a little puzzle. I never know what something is going to look like when I start, and it’s always exciting to find out. It’s also the nexus of math and art. I never thought I would use geometry, but in pattern making, I use it all the time.” – Adrienne Larsen, The Yarnslayer
“I LOVE I Like Knitting magazine! It is exciting when the new issue is released, because I know it has been thoughtfully planned to include a wide variety of clever designs featuring a specific theme, style or look! There always is a “got to have/MUST MAKE project” in every issue! I LOVE its focus of providing a fresh look on the “tried and true” techniques of knitting. I also enjoy the “outside the box” contemporary projects which give knitters a chance to stitch something that is currently trending in fashion and home decor.” – Deb Arch
“Several years ago, on the long commute to work, I saw a senior colleague knit on the bus and she very kindly offered to teach me. In about two months time, I had learned to knit and purl and had a hideous blouse to show for it. But the bug had bit me and I slowly started to develop my skills. What started as a hobby to pass time on the bus has now become a way of life for me. I like knitting because it keeps my restless hands and mind busy, helps me make and create things, keeps me calm and brings color into my life. And I Like Knitting because it is such a versatile and lovely magazine!” – Lana Jois
“I like knitting because it makes me happy. It reconnects me with beautiful childhood memories, and I feel that on a way it is a tribute to the wonderful woman who taught how to knit and crochet.” – Griselda Zárate
“The reason I like knitting is because of the great sense of achievement it gives you.” – Jo Bodley
“I love creating things and the ability to make things that are one of a kind, which are two of the things that originally drew me to knitting when I learned (I was twelve). Recently, though, one of my favorite things about knitting is that my kids LOVE it when they see me making things just for them, it’s absolutely adorable to see them light up when they see me making something and ask, “Is that for ME?!”” – Karen Fletcher
“Knit and purl. Just two little stitches. But with those two little stitches, you can do SO MUCH! Combine them for texture patterns. Work them in a different order for gloriously complex cables. Put holes in between them for breathtaking lace. Work them in multiple colors to make beautiful images and patterns. Increase ’em, decrease ’em, pick ’em up the side, stop in the middle of ’em and go back the other way; and you can make fantastic shapes. The possibilities are virtually endless – but when it comes right down to it, it’s just two little stitches. Knit and purl.” – Kathleen Sperling, WIP Insanity
“I Like Knitting because they are an avenue through which I can create and express myself. I also like knitting because it was a long awaited skill I kept trying to learn. I first learned to crochet a couple of stitches when my mom showed me, but because her knowledge was very limited I looked for someone to help me learn more. In one of my crochet lessons I saw my teacher take a knitting project out. My eyes became huge with curiosity! The fabric was very different from crochet, and she was using “sticks” to make it. I clearly saw the ball of yarn, so I wanted to learn
how to knit as well. My teacher tried, but it was pointless at that time. I just could not grasp it. She used a very distinct technique that she said was known as Italian method. I kept yearning to learn how to knit. I love crochet, but I also wanted to be able to create knitted fabrics, specially cables! Then, years after, I moved to the US, and thru meeting my step-grandma I learned that she also crochet and knits. So we hit along just nicely talking about yarns and crafts. I begged her to teach me to knit and she said “alright”. She is German, so she learned to knit the German method, or also widely known as continental knitting.
That was just the way I could knit!! The way continental knitters hold the yarn just like in crochet, and not having to place a needle in my armpits was what I was looking for! I quickly learned to cast on, knit and bind off. Purling took a little more practice, but eventually I learned that as well, and even how to knit those cables I always wanted to knit. So, I like knitting because it is an adventure that took years to develop, something that I wanted for so long, that when I finally learned I felt utterly accomplished. And of course, I like knitting because I am a creator that loves to be making something, be it crochet, painting, or of course: Knitting.” – Mary Dickerson, CraftyTuts
“I like knitting because it is a relaxing and artistic hobby that exercises both my mind and hands! It keeps me always busy and always moving my hands (I just can’t sit still!) I LOVE that I can turn yarn into beautiful things. And I love the magazine because it inspires me to knit and CREATE more beautiful things! And as a designer, everything I create teaches me new skills and gives me more inspiration for future designs.
I do not know where I would be without knitting. As a stay at home mother and disabled knitwear designer knitting and designing are my way of still putting myself out there into the world even though I’m not leaving and going to a day job. It allows me to meet knitters and other crafty people from all over. It’s not just a hobby for me, it’s my passion.” – Mesha McMullen, Mesha Knits
“I love knitting because it’s my way of focusing my creative energy and turning it into something constructive with my own hands. On a day-to-day basis, knitting calms down my anxiety and temper as I take care of my kids and home. It gives me a lot of peace and relaxation after all the routine and monotony of daily life. In the past, knitting has helped me cope with a lot of inner turmoil, restlessness, conflict and negativity, and has taken me out of some deep abyss after the loss of my first child. The very act of sitting in a place and channeling out all the physical and mental energy into my hands either in a repetitive way (garter/stockinette knitting) or looking at something like cables or lace “evolve” or take shape is in itself very meditative. I think knitting is a way to connect to my deeper, inner self and in some ways one of my more natural modes of expression. So, knitting is truly my yoga!” – Jayalakshmi M H
“At 9 years old we made all kinds of crafts- potholder loops on a loom, papier-mâché sculptures, plastic lanyards for keychains at Summer Recreation Camp. But, oh, the yarn and knitting needles!
I was an immediate addict. The instructor, a high school girl, brought in needles and yarn and she changed my world. I knit, and knit, and knit! My Aunt Blanche visited my grandma next door and was delighted that we could sit in the living room together and knit. She showed me how to do that wrap around drop stitch and OMG, my doll had a variegated vest with a special stitch, designed by ME! I appreciated the ease of garter stitch scarves, but also decided that bed slippers could be made by adding seams to garter stitch rectangles. Long rectangles, if they had ties on each end could be ear warming hats, just as folded and seamed hats with ties and pompoms could be made with partial balls of someone else’s leftovers. My hands loved the feel of the yarn moving through my fingers, and my brain loved the endless possibilities of shapes and colors.
Those feelings haven’t changed, though at 66 the number of stitches and techniques I know has grown beyond huge. Some nights I dream in Fair Isle; some nights I dream in cables; some nights I wonder just what I did in my sleep and have to figure it out by hand. My repertoire includes much crochet as well, and the sky is full of knit and crochet collaborations. Why do I like knitting? I don’t! I LOVE knitting!” – Michele Maks, MainlyCrochet
“I think the reasons I like knitting have slightly varied throughout my life so far. As a girl, I still remember learning to (Long Tail) CO from TV show. Yes, my mother was a great crafter, but I always wanted to learn MYSELF. I liked learning that way because: I can, it’s fascinating, and I can make something with my hands which brought me joy. My mom also had quite heavy book of knit patterns. Believe you or not, I skipped the “Scarf stage” although I loved swatching. And my very first FO was the tiny socks/booties for my newborn niece Lena. St.st. foot and lacy (YO, K2tog all over) calf. On set of 5 DPNs. The socks were yellow. I made them, following instruction from that very book. I was 12. It was so pleasant to give something you made.” – Nadya Stallings, Nadya’s Designs
“Why do I like knitting: it is a wonderful creative outlet; seeing a pretty seashell or a tiled wall and thinking I wonder if I can create a pattern that looks like that object. I love everything from searching for yarn to all of the math. For me knitting is more than just knit and purl, its all of the beautiful yarn, the great publications (like I Like Knitting) and the amazing people in this community.” – Claire Slade, Verily Claire
“I like knitting because, with a few bits of pretty string, I can make lacy shawls, elegant garments, and toys that please the little ones. I like knitting because I have something to keep me occupied while on a long car ride or plane trip, and I’m never bored. I like knitting because I can turn out a pair of socks while watching TV, and how many hobbies do you know where you produce something so practical lovely?
As a knitwear designer, I’m happy to be able to combine my knowledge of math with my creative side. I love to come up with ideas for details or trim for a design, and then do the math to work out how it will all fit together. Very satisfying!
“I could make a whole list of what I like about knitting – the feel of the yarn, the smell of the yarn, the kinship to the wonderful animals that share their enchanting fiber with us. I cherish the links to the knitters of the past, whose needles made the same stitches ours make today. But mostly, I love the amazing simplicity of it. I love that two sticks and a string can make such wonderful creations, both elegantly simple and mind-boggling intricate. Such simple tools, always such fantastic results! Every knitted item is special. Even those that didn’t quite turn out are still filled with patience, and love, and magic.” – Sierra Morningstar