When I retired from the computer industry, I needed a hobby. First I made a couple of scrapbooks. That was fun, and it met the needs of my inner kindergartner with all that cutting and pasting, but how many scrapbooks does one really need?
After watching a lot of Martha Stewart, I decided to bake cookies. I bought half-sheet pans and Silpat liners, a KitchenAid stand mixer, and cookie cutters. I took cookie decorating classes, and bought more cookie cutters. I found a sugar cookie recipe that worked, and got pretty good at Linzer cookies. But I don’t have the patience to decorate cookies. I hated the icing and the sticky gunk that got everywhere. I hated amount of washing up that baking generates. But mostly I hated the waiting — for the butter to soften, for the dough to cool, for the cookies to bake, for them to cool, for the icing to set.
I gave it up.
Then one day at the library, I picked up Sally Melville’s book The Knit Stitch and something just clicked. I bought yarn and needles and started to knit. I bought more yarn, met knitters and read more books and kept on knitting.
Better writers than me have waxed poetically about knitting; its calming qualities, its frustrations, its creativity. And every knitter has a list of reasons why they keep knitting.
Recently I’ve been considering my list. I keep knitting because it takes concentration or can be mindless. I keep knitting because I can do it with friends or alone. I keep knitting to give things away or to keep. I keep knitting to learn something new, either about knitting, or myself. I keep knitting because the techniques don’t change, only the knitter.
Several of my knitting friends are also keen spinners. They have spinning wheels, and stashes of fiber as well as yarn. When I watch them at their wheels, I am fascinated, but not enticed to learn. Too much overhead, too much going on, too much stuff to lug around.
But spindles are a different thing. They are portable, simple, and elegant. I’ve been thinking about spindles for a while. Then a friend gave me one for my birthday last month. And some fiber and a book. It took me a couple of days to spin all the fiber, and to seek out more. That’s now yarn too. Not great yarn, but yarn.
I’ll keep spinning because it takes concentration or is mindless. Because I can do it alone or with friends. Because I can give the yarn away or keep it. Because I am learning something about myself and spinning. Because I’m changing instead of waiting.