I considered it a certain sort of fate yesterday when I walked into a local yarn store in search of yarn and a pattern to make socks, and they told me about an upcoming sock-knitting class. I was slightly in awe not only because the class appeared right when I needed it, but because I had just finished reading a good book about the very same topic. Debbie Macomber’s, The Shop on Blossom Street, had been recommended to me by someone I met in knitting class and I read that and Macomber’s sequel, A Good Yarn, in quick succession. Easy and inspiring reads, both books feature women from various walks of life meeting each other at knitting classes to intentionally make projects. Unintentionally, of course, bonding friendships formed. They are the sorts of compelling, coincidental and feel-good stories that you wish would happen in real life. Perhaps I wished it into being? In the second book the shop’s owner held a sock-knitting class. When I heard that the same kind of class was starting up at this local shop, I took it as a sign of truth imitating fiction and signed up.
I’ve very quickly become aware that there is a certain je ne sais quoi about knitting. Now that I have started, and am the proud knitter now of a baby blanket and two skinny scarves, I appear to be continuously looking towards my next project. (Hence the search for supplies to make socks.) I’m so interested in this topic that as you can see, I’ve also been searching out people writing about knitting. After reading Macomber’s novels and another excellent story in Knitting: A Novel by Anne Bartlett, I found the compendium of knitting stories, KnitLit, and have been making my way through that. I must admit I’ve also been reading knitting blogs.
What is it about this craft that has me hooked? Back to the je ne sais quoi – I suppose it could be any number of things: the fact that I’m making something from scratch, the slow nature of it, the feel of the yarn in my hand as it slips through to the needles, the anticipated look on a recipient’s face when I give them my hand-knitted-with-love project. But part of the allure has got to be the discovery of a whole host of like-minded women and a community as such of eager knitters. Creative people who obviously feel exactly the same way I do about this handmade craft. When I mentioned that I thought I might be getting a little addicted to knitting in the yarn store yesterday, the two shop clerks looked at each other and laughed. Their ‘uh, YEAH!’ response (said in a nice yet sarcastic way) told me everything. It was almost as if I’d just uttered the secret pass code letting me into an underground society. Apparently I wasn’t the first person to have felt or commented upon this fact, and they themselves shortly thereafter admitted to being hooked as well.
Can I also just mention that the customer service I have received in knitting stores has been incredible? I almost feel like I’m one of the characters in A Good Yarn, who will slowly and surely become fast friends with the women who work there and who I will meet in this next knitting class. I’m sure we’ll at least share our love of knitting. Maybe they’ll be able to suggest some new books for me to read as well.