My name is Jenni and I’m a fidgeter. Always moving. As with a toddler, I can find absolute focus when my hands are doing something. So years ago I decided to try knitting. It made perfect sense: It would keep me busy while at the same time creating shawls and blankets to keep me warm during the long, dark, cold winter months in Minnesota.
It didn’t go so well. I couldn’t figure out from a book what to do so eventually I took a class. My very first ever project was a pair of mittens for my then-eight year old son. Knit flat and seamed up the outside edge, they were a sight to behold. What kid doesn’t want a mismatched pair of mittens sized for a giant with long fingers and itty-bitty thumbs hand knit in a neutral, goes-with-everthing beige acrylic yarn?
I don’t think my son ever wore those mittens. I’m sure it was a sign of respect for their handmade craftsmanship.
Shortly after this masterpiece, I tried knitting mittens in a beautiful Cascade wool in the round on double pointed needles. That was the beginning of my love affair with knitting. Hats, mittens, fingerless mitts and scarves became my projects of choice.
I was happy being that knitter. Simple patterns. Pretty yarn. Nothing too hard. Not seeing a reason to try anything new.
My mom had always been a crafter. She sewed and crocheted but not very much to my memory. She took up knitting at the same time I did. Where I was happy to settle, my mom explored. She tried different patterns, techniques and yarns. She knit sweaters, hats, blankets and socks. Lots and lots of socks. There wasn’t a beautiful (and often expensive) yarn my mom didn’t need. When my brother was getting married, my mom knit an amazing shawl out of a beautiful creamy white mohair for my sister-in-law-to-be to wear on her wedding day. Somewhere between binding off and weaving in the ends, my mom decided the shawl should have been in a different color and made the exact same lace shawl out of a burgundy mohair. She was a knitter’s knitter.
When my mom died from breast cancer, she left behind a number of beautiful, partially finished projects as well as dozens of balls of amazing yarn and a shelf full of knitting books and patterns. Some of these were half finished sweaters for my twin daughters who had outgrown them before they were ever finished. Others were blankets for each of her grandchildren. There were socks and scarves. Some of these projects I shared with her friends who were also knitters. But others I knew I had to finish. And that required leaving my perfectly mitten-shaped box and learning knitting techniques I had planned to avoid to complete projects I hadn’t started in yarns I didn’t choose.
I’m pretty sure my mom left a little bit of herself in those yarns and projects. I haven’t finished many of them yet. But I have started to knit like my mom: with unbridled abandon and glee. I have completed lacy shawls and scarves, quick hats and simple socks. I have tried my hand at toys and patterned mitts (edit a pattern to knit two at a time on magic loop with a clear left and right mitt at the same time? Check!). I’ve tried different cast ons and bind offs and knit in public. I’ve pulled out, reknit and fixed errors. I have realized that yarn is forgiving and knitting even more so. I have helped people learn to knit and fix their problems. I have shared my love for this craft with anyone willing to take a moment to listen.
I have fallen deeply in love with this craft.
This blog is a celebration of that love. It is a place to share what I’m doing. What I’ve done. What I’ve learned and what I’ve undone. I hope it inspires you to pick up your own needles and try something new.
When I’m not knitting, I’m a wife to a very spoiling husband and a mother to three pretty awesome human beings (sometimes they even model my work!). During the day, I work as a graphic designer (my other love).
This is me in dramatic evening sunlight. Alas, there are no handknits in sight.