In summer 2006, I observed a friend happily knitting away and I was deeply envious of her obvious peace & enjoyment in the activity. Knitting seemed a little intimidating (she was knitting a textured sock on dpns...), but I had learned a few basic crochet stitches from a cousin when I was 10 years old, so it seemed like a good idea to take it up again. I bought "The Happy Hooker", some hooks & yarn, and in one afternoon I learned all the major stitches, how to increase & decrease, how to read crochet charts, and I made my first easy granny square. I felt absolutely brilliant.
But it bugged me that I was intimidated by knitting, and after seeing all of the beautiful knitted items that friends were making, I was determined to learn how to knit. The first few knitting attempts didn't progress too well. Crochet is easy - you have a hook in one hand and yarn in the other, there is only one "live" stitch at a time, and life makes sense. With knitting, I had to figure out how to coordinate a needle in each hand with yarn dangling some place, I had a whole row of "live" stitches that were smirking at me (one stitch nudges the other, "which one of us do you think she'll drop?"), and it frustrated the hell out of me.
In early spring 2007, I decided enough was enough - I was going to learn how to knit, no matter what. I fortified myself with a copy of "Stitch n Bitch", US 8 aluminum needles, yarn, and forced myself to keep going until in a couple of hours, I could do a long-tail cast-on and knit enough to make a small square of garter stitch. I followed that up with a small square of very lumpy and uneven stockinette stitch. I ripped out the lumpy stockinette about 17 times until it finally started to look like even stitches. Every time I wanted to throw the needles across the room, because this whole knitting thing was impossible, I kept reminding myself of how my friend looked so happy and peaceful working on her sock.
I challenged myself to a first project of a garter stitch scarf & hat, learning how to change colors and make a few simple decreases. I hated that scarf and hat - in fact, I never completed them. (Did I mention I was using Red Heart acrylic? This didn't move me towards affection either.) I moved on to the next project, a child's size stockinette stitch hat knit in the round using self-striping sock yarn, and somewhere in the middle of that project, something clicked. My hands knew what to do! I relaxed! I felt happy! And thanks to the beautiful yarn, simple stockinette stitch looked gorgeous and again, I felt absolutely brilliant.
From that moment to now, I spend at least a few minutes every day playing with yarn. My day simply does not feel complete unless I've added a few rows to one of my latest projects.