Madness set in

So, I finally finished it: this book about how knitting was my obsession and precursor into madness. Will be in distribution by the fall (I have to wait 8 weeks????) There are a number of questions posed in the book, but one I'd like to offer here: Do you actually remember that first moment with a skien? Like a crack head and his first hit from a pipe, or even an alcoholic with his first drink, do you remember holding those needles and becoming...addicted?


DeceptiveCookie's picture

I wrote this as a blurb a while ago in case I ever decided to publish a pattern... I thought it would be a very fitting response to your post:

I remember the first time I picked up the needles…. I was 19… and setting out to make a scarf for the man… well, “boy” really… I loved. Working from a skein of Red Heart Super Saver in a variegated white and green (his favorite color), and red size 8 Aluminum Needles by Susan Bates. It was scratchy, and the color pooling made it look like a 60’s Ombre throwback, but the moment he saw the finished product, I knew I was hooked. Not only because of the therapeutic calm that would overtake me when I was working on the scarf, but just from the look on his face… the “oh my god, you made this?” scrutiny paired with the amazed “this is for me?” expression. I’ve been addicted ever since. The relationship between this man (boy), has long since fizzled out… but my obsession and passion for knitting has been burning brighter than ever. Although knitting is often seen as antiquated, and a female oriented activity; it has become one of the most fulfilling part of my identity as a man, a man who knits for those he loves.

Let us know when it hits the bookshelves! I'd love to give it a go. Will it be available on Kindle?

WillyG's picture

Hahaha! I love the part about the "therapeutic calm," I guess because I don't get that from knitting. Spinning, yes. But knitting keeps me up at night, it winds me up as I think of all the possibilities when I start a project, or as I race to the finish (the whole way through). I brag that knitting makes me patient. But calm? Not for this sorry pup.

But I digress from the question. I really don't think I can remember my first time with a ball of yarn. I remember my aunt giving me a crochet hook, and learning to make a chain. I made a very long chain. Many years later, though, I remember perhaps the first time I visited a local yarn store. Hospital white shelves, with vivid colors arranged cleanly; colors like Noro and Malabrigo jumping out at me. I think this was where the crack appeared, as I learned the fun of working with yarn that is a multi-faceted experience. Before that moment, I had knit. But at that time, I think I actually became giddy (something that has happened repeatedly in the presence of large quantities of colorful yarn, and has resulted in my feeling a bit embarrassed afterward).

Craig's picture

Well done on finishing the book and getting it published.

Have been knitting for years. I knit continually then will try another craft, but will return to the needles.

MMario's picture

God - my first time was almost 50 years ago...can't say I recall it.

My addiction was subtle and snuck up on me....

MMario - I'm not divorced from reality - we're having a trial separation

The summer of 1944, with khaki fingering weight wool and needles that seemed far too long. Goaded on with the words 'your daddy will love this scarf'. My grandma did not believe in idle hands.

RickeScott's picture

Congrats! I'll watch for it in the fall.

chipsir's picture

Wow!!! Such good memories. I am with MMario on this one. I am 63 this year and my first recollections of knitting was when I was about 9 or 10. We where a very poor family and I unpicked a pullover that had to be blue wool as it was slightly felted. That wool provided me with a lot of practice. My first love in those days was crochet, I made endless baby jackets out of anything I could get my hands on lol. The older I get the more obsessed I get with knitting. I was fortunate enough never to have gotten into drugs (not even wacky backy). But because of my fibre addiction I can truly sympathise with those addicted to much more harmful things.

WillyG's picture

I hear you on the addiction bit. Dare I admit, a "friend" recently told me I need to learn to face the world without my needles.

purlyman's picture

I was taught to knit and I believe I did a hat (possibly a scarf) by a woman from New Zealand (Auntie Ailsa although she wasn't related). I have no recollection of doing it or the yarn or the needles... absolutely nothing.

I picked it up again about 7 years ago when I decided to knit a chemo cap for a friend. I picked out some pretty nice purple yarn (her favorite color) and some straight aluminum needles. I'm glad to say I didn't start with yucky sticky scratchy acrylic although I went through a ton of it after my first project. I got a book - something like "Learn to Knit in a Day" - a thin paperback thing that I still have somewhere.

I do remember, after casting on and starting row after row, thinking that it was sort of miraculous. I still get that feeling every time I see an airplane take off. I could spend hours at the airport - every time I see one take off I think "wow... it worked... again!" Seeing the stitches building upon one another to create a fabric was like a miracle to me.


QueerJoe's picture

I actually still own some of the first hank of yarn I bought at Woolworth's (has nothing to do with wool, and neither did my first hank of yarn).

It was aqua colored worsted weight acrylic, and I crouched down on the floor with needles way to small, taught myself to knit from a little Patons booklet, and 5 hours later found myself still crouched (now stuck) in the same position where I had started.

It was my first of many fiber-related blackouts.

mwkbloom's picture

My mother is a knitter (argyle sweaters, mittens with Santa Claus' face knit into the backs, etc.). I got her to teach me. My first project was in shades of blue, Red Heart acrylic, 40 stitches wide on size 6, 10-inch Boye needles (I think I still have them somewhere!). I don't know what happened to that scarf, but I'm knitting an identical one for old times' sake. Even though I've been knitting almost continuously since 1965, it didn't become obsessive until the early '80's when I met an elderly lady at my church who had been knitting for over 70 years (and had once had a yarn shop and also been a yarn company rep, in those days known as a "yarn stylist"). My first attempt at a sweater had gone awry, so she helped me get it on track. We spent many evenings together, knitting and watching "Mystery!", for the next 15 years. I can't imagine casting on 500 stiches for the hem of a pleated skirt, but it didn't phase her a bit --- she had knit countless skirts, suits, string gloves, etc., over more than 80 years of knitting.

Stan Stansbury's picture

Absolutely. Very clearly.
The German lady next door held a little class for 4 guys that she knew/was related to. I had burgundy-color worsted weight acrylic, and #8 needles, and we sat around and drank bier and ate wurst and laughed about how foolish we felt with our 10 thumbs apiece. It was a great way to begin.

Sorry - I posted my post in the wrong place.

Joe-in Wyoming's picture

I first taught myself to "knit" when very young...actually working out how to do a knitted cast on. However, several years later, a dear friend learned to knit (while in her 50's) and that inspired me to teach myself how to truly knit. [I was around 12 then.] A pair of slippers in Red Heart Worsted Wool [yes, it was that long ago] with # 7 needles - I think - and I have never looked back. I may not have knit very much while away at university but once I picked up needles and yarn again, it was like a return home. The rest, as they say, is history. --- Looking forward to the book. -- Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

Books, knitting, cats, fountain pens...Life is Good.

michaelpthompson's picture

Interesting stories. I was first taught to knit when I was about 7 years old, by a babysitter named Mrs. Combry. She was an old lady who lived nearby and would watch over us kids from time to time. I don't remember many of the details, but I've been fascinated by the ability to create something out of a ball of yarn ever since.

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"All knitting is just one stitch at a time."

rc_in_sd's picture

When I was about 10, my family went back to Texas to visit my Mom's parents. We were there for a week or two, and somehow my sister and I got into learning to knit and crochet. Crochet was the more popular activity and Grandma was happy to teach us. But Grandpa showed me how to knit and I guess that's when I was hooked. When I say he showed me how to knit, I mean literally, specifically, knit. Not purl, not bind off, just knit. I don't know if it was lack of time, or attention on my part or patience on his, but the lesson went no further. Nevertheless, for years, I would make a long narrow strip of garter on mis-matched needles. Then pull it out. Then do it again. I guess that was the first clue that I was addicted. Slowly I learned more skills (imagine the worlds that opened up when I added purling to my repertoire). But I didn't actually make anything until my late 30s. It's a strange progression, especially now that I see it written out. Strange, but no regrets!

Gregory Patrick's picture

I did the same thing with my first skien. Had no clue what to do when the skien was done, no binding off, no weaving in ends, I just pulled the whole bitch apart and started over. I love that your grandmother was the crocheter and your grandad the knitter. That's balance in the force, man.

Thomasknits's picture

Senior year, choir trip, bus. Three hour drive. I was sitting next to one of my best girl friends at the time. She and I had dated in middle school, but that had come to an abrupt end when I came out to her in 8th grade. While we had dated I had made all sorts of crafty romantic objects for her, and she later returned them to me... in a bag... in shreds. Two years later - and she finally began talking to me again. By the time the fateful day rolled around, we had become inseparable, and were sitting on the bus together, and she pulls out her knitting. She was set to swatch a new stitch pattern, and I was enthralled. "Now, you know you HAVE to teach me how to knit." And she did. The rest... is history.


Gregory Patrick's picture

See? Now, I love happy endings. Don't you feel that learning the craft helped to build a bond that possibly nothing else could have?

jinct's picture

My mom used to crochet. I used to love to watch the needle make the stitches. I started knitting about three years ago.