Those Island Books patrons who are knitters have probably had a conversation with me at some point about the craft of knitting. Either you’ve asked about a book or magazine, or we’ve mutually admired a hand knitted item that one of us is wearing. Once identified as fellow knitters, we will always ask after each other’s current project. We trade our favorite patterns and yarn stores, and commiserate over dropped stitches and tricky instructions. For me, getting to talk knitting is always a fun bonus to any interaction, and it’s hard to remember there was a time when it was all a mystery to me.
My journey with knitting began my first year in college. A girl on my floor organized a trip to the yarn store in town, then taught us all how to cast on, knit and purl. I labored away at a scarf all autumn long, forcing myself to keep going despite the increasing and decreasing stitch count (not in the pattern), and how hard I found it to work the needles into the yarn. Come Christmas, I wrapped up a scarf that could stop bullets for my mom. She never complained, but once I learned that it was important to match the needle size to the type of yarn you were using, and that I had been using a much smaller needle than I should have been, I took it out and redid it for her in a more forgiving rib.