Soon after I started my first lumpy scarf, I realized that I had joined a cult. A benevolent cult, of course. But once I started casually mentioning my new hobby, some seemingly normal people have swept away the (hand knit) curtain and I have been shown the light.
Early on in my knitting career, I went for an eye exam. I’ve been seeing my optometrist, Dr. W, since I was a teenager. She’s a pleasant but quiet woman, not terribly chatty beyond “How far down the chart can you read the letters?”
Dr. W asked me if there was any change in my usual crappy vision, or in my daily tasks involving eyesight. I mentioned that I had started knitting, which requires looking closely at tiny stitches.
“Oh, you knit? So do I!”
Dr. W then spent the next half hour showing me the details on the hand-knit cardigan she was wearing, talking about the differences in British and Newfoundland knitting techniques, and recommending knitting websites for me to check out.
Who was this woman, and what had she done with Dr. W?
Not long after that, through work, I heard about a set of traditional Newfoundland mitten patterns, by Shirley Scott and Christine LeGrow, of Spindrift Handknits. I placed an order.
The patterns arrived in an envelope at my desk, with a nice note from Christine, and this card.
I wasn’t sure whether to be excited or worried.
And then there’s my friend Rayna Curtis. We first met in junior high school, and like many old friends, we reconnected over Facebook. It was her photos of her knitted creations which got me thinking “hmmm, maybe I should try this knitting thing.”
Now, Rayna is at a completely different level of knitting – which she refers to as one of the “fibre arts.” Here she is spinning her own wool.
That’s her extremely cute dog, Kayleigh, hanging out in the background.
Rayna also dyes her own wool, she’s a test knitter for some well known knitting pattern makers, and naturally, she has her own blog, First Light Handcrafts. So I guess she’s my Obi-Wan Kenobi of the knitting.
I reached out to Obi-Wan Rayna early on for some advice, and asked her to go yarn shopping with me.
I picked Rayna up at her house and she came out with a project bag and yarn for me, and a question “Do you know what a project bag is? Well, you do now!”
She was such a force of nature in the knitting store that other random wool shoppers came up to her asking for advice on yarn and patterns.
I’m looking forward to my next eye exam so I can pick Dr. W’s brain on her favourite Brooklyn Tweed patterns.
I carry that card in my wallet. And I use Rayna’s project bag every day.
Now, I’ve never thought of myself as the evangelical type, but here I am, with my own knitting blog.
Someday, I hope to pass on a project bag, skein of yarn, or wallet ID card to another newbie knitter.
But if I ever wind up working crowds in the mall trying to recruit new addicts to the (knitting) needles, please stage an intervention.