Sit . Sip . n . Be .

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Why I Knit

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knitting

This Trane vest just needs buttons now (and weaving in loose ends).

Why does anyone make stuff?
Why does anyone make art, soup, music, or a sweater?

Well, for me it’s been JOYFUL to get back in touch with my inner knitter. My momma nudged me to knit again, so I did … with gusto last autumn. I’m not fast or prolific, but I’m knitting. Once I took it up again, I couldn’t believe I’d left it alone for so many decades. It feels like I’ve run in to an old friend from long, long ago. Hello, friend.

So, now I knit. I knit to heal . . . it’s healing on so many levels. The feel of natural fiber in my hands, as I weave it together with “sticks” to make fabric, literally connects me to plants and animals: sheep get haircuts and share their wool. Plants, like flax, literally give their all to become linen—bless their purple hearts. These plant or animal fibers are spun into yarn. I need this connection to plant and animal as I knit, especially on days when I’m too unwell to explore outside very far on a given day (except for my morning sit sip n be 🙂 ). God’s world is meant to be enjoyed firsthand, but on the days or hours I can’t, I knit.

I knit to connect. The soft, percussive rhythm of clicking needles makes me feel part of a worldwide orchestra of other knitters … surely we are an ensemble of countless knitters across the globe radiating quiet, percussive music from our many homes—a flea’s breath of hope. Such a peaceful melody. whyiknit

I knit to convey love. If my intention is to knit with love, every time I throw the yarn for a stitch, or weave in loose ends (not as easy to love that part, but I try), it is done with love. Whoever wears what I make, me included, hopefully feels that love. It’s like yoga for the hands … it’s nice to begin with an “intention”.

I knit for the JOY of it!

I also knit to heighten my awareness of life’s essentials. Knitting has led me to the process of “essentialism” in my wardrobe and my home (as opposed to minimalism)–I now keep or create essential things that will last. Because I invest so much thought into choosing just the right fiber and pattern, this mindset helps me cull my closet of froufrou. Choices are an essential part of knitting, and that spills over into life. In essence you are choosing to spend a LOT of time to create something from beginning to end that you will wear time and again–something that becomes part of you in a way.

The first thing I made for myself had a way of overshadowing the majority of random clothes in my closet, like a radiant guest at a pot luck dinner. I didn’t mean to see things that way. It just WAS that way. I then knew what I wanted to keep and what to let go.

My gut feeling about essentialism became cemented through an essay by Margaret Everton in Kinfolk Magazine. The copy was a good find (forty percent off spring sale at Purl SoHo, yay). Everton suggested that, “The heart of essentialism isn’t about asking how little we can live with, but determining what we simply cannot live without.” When I read this I thought, “That’s what the many facets* of knitting are to me: essential”.

In fact, just today I’ve been paring down my closet and handwork room to the essentials (healing on many levels as well). I forbade myself from making one more thing until I’m done. My reward? I’ll knit my next sweater. I’ll knit to feel joy, connection, love and awareness. The sweater will be the soon-to-be staple for my autumn’s small, essential wardrobe. Allison, you know which Quince & Co. yarn I’ll be using.


Gwendolyn

P.S. *Please enjoy this beautiful, philosophical description of fiber, spinning, and the benefits of knitting … dexterity and empathy. The video was shared with me by a lovely friend after one of the most memorable conversations of my year, which took place in—just guess—a knitting shop. Thanks, Ali Pyper.

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Author: Gwendolyn

Welcome, friend! I am an American writer, based in Utah. SIT.SIP.n.BE is a blog I created to share my passion for slow, simple living, and the importance of camaraderie. Since 2005 I have dug deep and unearthed rich things about life, self, God and others as I've lived with autoimmune disease. In spite of occasional darkest days, there are compensatory the-light-is-so-bright-I-have-to-squint moments that are utterly joy-FULL ... bursting with fulfillment and gratitude . Life can be fulfilling even with what some call limitations. Loving conversations, healing conversations, and learning conversations ARE possible with self and God.

5 thoughts on “Why I Knit

  1. Wow what a healing experience knitting must be. Thanks for sharing this lovely post.

  2. Gwen, I so love these thoughts! They very much echo mine – especially about how sewing, knitting, and crocheting my own clothes has helped me pare back the frou-frou to the essentials. I have thought many, many times how creating things slowly, with intention and careful thought, teach me empathy and love. Thank you Renate Hiller! And thank you Gwen for reminding me to not only approach my work with empathy and love, but with a fixed intention. Big hearts!

  3. And can’t wait to see you start that beautiful sweater!

  4. Thank you, Stan. It is incredibly healing. ❤

  5. Aww, thank you, Allison. It’s easy to see that this is your philosophy just by the way you are; you are very empathetic and loving. It’s a joy to know you. And, yes, thank you Renate Hiller, and here’s to approaching our work with intention :).

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