There are some knitters who have learned how to knit from their grandmothers or their mothers:
I am no exception to this time-honored tradition. Well… except for the “learning how to knit from my mother or grandmother” part. My mother and grandmother have roots in a very hot country. They lived in an area where crocheting & sewing were more common and knitting was not as popular. My grandmother was a seamstress for several decades and serves as the inspiration for many of my projects. But alas, they did not teach me how to knit.
In 2008, I decided to learn how to knit for the first time by joining a group on Meetup.com and then volunteering to lead the group after it lost its inactive organizer. The group hadn’t yet held an event for itself & was one day short of being deleted from the Meetup.com website.
Dear Reader, are you going to tell me that you haven’t volunteered to lead groups of knitters when you haven’t knitted a stitch in your life? Perhaps you haven’t done this because you thought of a myriad of things that could go wrong with the scenario. Did the word kamikaze come to your mind? This is a perfectly rational response to the scenario that I’ve just presented you. I, however, may have lacked the capacity to address the situation rationally at the time:
Truthfully, I can’t remember what my rationale was for volunteering to organize a knitting group when I had never knit a stitch in my life. However, I am a sucker for lost causes and the old organizer had made an awesome logo for the group. This logo, which my group lovingly called Cthulu, was going to go to waste without a single event or group to show for it:
So I waited, patiently, for someone else to volunteer to organize the group. I figured there were plenty of knitters in the group that could do it. Anyone else would be far more qualified for the job than a person like me who had never knitted anything in her life.
With one day left until the group’s deletion from the website and with no other takers for the organizer role in sight, I decided to take the group over as its organizer. I sent out an email to the members and polled them to figure out a day & time that everybody could meet with me and started scouting out venues in the area for it. I congratulated myself for volunteering to organize the group when I didn’t think anyone else would & looked forward to the friends that I would make from it. “This is going to be great!” I thought.
It was around this time that I remembered that I did not know how to knit, which is a key skill that’s needed for anyone interested in running a knitting group.
As you’ll see, I handled it quite well:
“Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!” I thought to myself. “I don’t know how to fucking knit! I’m the organizer of a knitting group and I don’t know how to knit. Isn’t the organizer of a knitting group supposed to be, at minimum, a knitting goddess? What the hell am I thinking? Fuck.”
I resigned myself to a fate of being the organizer of a knitting group who had to audacity to lead knitters without knowing how to knit by herself, a crime which was only punishable by humiliation and a thousand deaths. Thinking that I didn’t have very much to lose in this tragedy, I went out to buy a pair of knitting needles & chunky yarn. I started spending my evenings on KnittingHelp.com and learned how to knit, purl, and make a simple cable. I thought that since I was now an organizer of a knitting group that it would probably be good for me to learn how to knit before running my first meeting as the Supreme Knitting Leader Over All I Survey.
By the time the first meetup happened, I had already begin working on a scarf and managed to get through the first meeting as a knitter without looking too foolish.This encouraged me to continue working to make the group great, and became the beginning of a 5 year journey for me.
After I became busier with school, my career, & getting married, I bought a home in another area and thought it best to hand the group off to a trio of great women. By this time, I learned that it was okay that I wasn’t a Knitting Goddess Extraordinary, and that this asset actually helped promote the group’s membership because members felt less intimidated by it. We were never a group that would turn beginners away, and with many of the group’s regulars came several decades of knitting and crochet experience. Soon, I became one of the teachers.
The rest, as “they” say, is history.
3 thoughts on “Monday Musings: How I Learned to Knit by Jumping Into the Fire”
Sometimes the best method of learning is just to jump into the fray and flail about a bit. It’s an approach I believe most of us had to try at one time or another. Besides, none of the best live stories begin with “There I was completely stable, and knew exactly what I was doing as I took on another familiar task like many I have done before.” Who really wants to hear a story like that anyway? Good on you for jumping in and taking a chance.
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Haha, yeah. I basically flailed for the first few months of running the group & then hit my stride after the first year of it. It really was the best way I could learn how to knit – being in that position basically made me push myself harder with something that was supposed to be a tiny hobby.
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Self development sometimes shows itself in funny ways.