I’ve been watching a lot of the Olympics recently, which means that I’ve also been getting a lot of knitting done. I haven’t done much knitting since my first daughter was born over three years ago; it isn’t often that I have time to sit with two hands free, and even when I do, there’s nothing more appealing to little hands than sticks and string, which can lead to quite a mess. Seeing as how my girls aren’t ready to learn to knit yet, it’s been hard to find time to finish a project–which is why I’m still working on my baby’s first blanket. (The baby just turned 2 at the end of June. Ahem.)
Traditionally, when people think of knitting, they think of grandmothers on the prairie darning socks; for some reason Jewish mothers don’t usually come up (which is ironic, really, seeing as how we’re obsessively telling our children to put on a sweater). Yet Jews are knitting more than ever now, and we’re not just making kippahs and tallits. I knit a uterus a few years ago for a friend. Really.
To be honest, I’m not much of a crafter (or a cook, for that matter), but for some reason I can knit. I’m constantly amazed how a piece of yarn can turn into a little strawberry hat, a cable-knit sweater, a warm blanket. Knitting forces me to slow down, to pay attention, to focus on one stitch at a time. I pick patterns that inspire me, that make me happy, that keep me connected to people I care about. I’ve knit scarves for mentors, shawls for family members who were ill, and stuffed toys for friends with new babies.
I understand why knitting can be intimidating to others (I’m terrified of roasting a chicken), but in the end, it’s just sticks and string. If you’re interested in learning to knit, there are a number of great resources available, both in real life and online.
- If you live near a yarn store, start there first. The women who work there will be more than happy to get you started.
- If books are more your style, Teach Yourself Visually: Knitting has clear, easy-to-follow pictures.
- There are easy-to-follow, free online videos at KnittingHelp.com. Ravelry.com is a social network for knitters (which caused quite a stir when they received a cease-and-desist letter, and later an apology, from the US Olympic committee for hosting their own knitting Olympics). Knitty.com has free, interesting patterns for a variety of skill levels. (I found the uterus pattern here.) If inspiration is what you need, Pinterest is a good place to start, and this Flickr album has some great ideas for Jewish knits. Finally, if you do want to make a kippah, they’re usually crocheted rather than knit, and there’s a great pattern here.
What are your favorite knitting books or websites? I’d love some more ideas.
Happy knitting, and Go Team USA and Team Israel!