I learned to knit about five years ago. I’m still a very basic knitter: nothing fancy like entrelac or Fair Isle is happening here. Since life has been chaotic and unusual the past month or two, I need the retreat of knitting. I can sit down for a few moments here and there, pick up my needles, and suspend my thoughts for a while.
I feel more like a person and less like an unhealthy chore chart when I’m making a bit of time for a project. Knitting is tactile and it forces me to be present there in the moment. It’s humble, repetitive, challenging and, most of all, meditative. It’s been the easiest way I’ve found so far to be fully present. If your mind wanders, you snarl it all up. I find that I walk this line when I knit – the line between striving and resting. My mind isn’t too full but neither is it empty.
It’s simply quiet and fully present.
(Also: it gives me something to do while I watch Anne & Gilbert, or Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy, or Anna & Bates, or the Doctor.)
I thought I’d share a few of my favourite patterns. I’m a bit predictable, I’m afraid. Much as I order the same thing in a restaurant every single time, I tend to find a couple of patterns that I love and just make them over and over again. I have learned over the years that I like simple patterns that can be constructed in one piece (none of this “sewing together” stuff, thank you very much).
For babies, I’ve truly adored the Plain Vest by Anne & Heidi Pickles. I have probably made more than a dozen of them by now. (Look at little baby Evleynn sporting hers a couple of years ago! *sob*) It’s warm, stretchy, perfect for cool days. It also fits through a lot of ages and stages if you give it an extra inch or so at the bottom.
For little girls, our favourite sweater, hand’s down, for is Melissa LeBarre’s Tiny Tea Leaves Cardigan. It’s simple to knit but absolutely gorgeous with such feminine detail. Every two years, I just knit the next size up for Anne.
For little boys, my go-to pattern is this Wonder Years cardigan. There are sizes for toddlers and children. For Joseph, I have often picked out the colours of his favourite hockey team or football team to make it extra special (one year when he was little, it was white and green for the Saskatchewan Roughriders).
I have loved this Super Bulky Cowl by Kelly Hechinger (particularly when I splurge for Malabrigo’s Rasta yarn. SO YUMMY) as well as the The French press cozy, the Slouch Hat, and Susie Rogers’ Reading Mitts. For nights when I want to knit and watch a real movie (as in, one that actually requires occasionally looking at the screen instead of reciting the dialogue), I resort to plain old cotton dishcloths.
I haven’t had much success in knitting projects for myself or Brian. The sweaters just never seem to fit right – and that’s a lot of stockinette stitch for not a lot of success, so I don’t attempt them any longer. Smaller projects with higher success ratio, can I get a witness.
If you’re also a knitter, I’d love to read in the comments about your favourite make-it-over-and-over-again patterns, so please share the links! I’m particularly interested in finding a couple of good patterns to make a nice warm winter toque for the tinies.