Like Mother, Like Daughter: Why Knitting is My Favorite Hobby

As a young girl, I couldn’t wait to be old enough for my mother to teach me how to knit. When I was about eight, she bought me a “knitting mushroom,” which is a spool that allows beginners to knit in-the-round, making an “i-cord” or a narrow tube that can later be shaped into various objects with a few stitches, such as tiny rugs for dollhouses or hats for teddy bears.

As I got older, I either became intimidated by her skill and afraid that I wouldn’t live up to her expectations or I was just being a rebellious brat, because I stopped knitting and instead picked up just about every other needle craft you can think of: rug hooking, cross stitch, crocheting, and so on. If my mother had been disappointed, I don’t remember hearing about it.

I am old enough to have an original Barbie doll, but mine has little value due to a long crack on her neck that made it too easy to remove her head. I can’t remember how she got the crack….My mother knitted all kinds of clothing for her, including elegant strapless evening gowns with “fur” trim. After finding these items, which had been stored in a musty basement for many years, I was able to save a few but had to discard most.

For many years, my mother was working on an afghan of epic proportions. Every evening, she would sit on the long, black, modern vinyl sofa under an original Calder print that was a replica of a sculpture in front of my Dad’s office building in downtown Detroit and knit while Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune played on the 19-inch color t.v. She never finished that afghan and I’m not sure what happened to it, but she did make two beautiful ones for my first two babies. I loved the first so much – it was green and white in a  very difficult-looking bobble stitch with flannel backing and a crocheted edge – that she made a second in yellow and white. She was never able to finish the third afghan, which followed the same pattern except in pink and white, but I have saved it and someday hope to get up the courage to try to finish it myself.

My mother died eighteen years ago and it wasn’t until about twelve years ago that I caught the knitting bug from some newcomers at our church who were avid knitters. Since then, I have been knitting continuously, sometimes in more of a frenzy than at other times, especially if I am determined to finish a gift. Knitting is, in my opinion, the best hobby because it is so portable, so easy to start and put away, and so rewarding. I was not fond of getting poked by hundreds of pins when quilting, nor was I fond of the time-consuming set-up every time I wanted to cross stitch. I was also never great at crocheting because I had trouble seeing the stitches, so I ended up accidentally increasing and then would have to decrease, which some may think led to nice curvy edges on a few of the afghans I made….A friend recently asked if I would teach her and a few other ladies how to knit. I gladly accepted the invitation because not only is knitting a great hobby, but when combined with great fellowship, you have the makings of a fantastic afternoon or evening.

My only regret is that my mother didn’t live long enough to see me finally pick up knitting and know that I finally found my hobby niche. I wish she knew how many sweaters, afghans, hats, scarves, mittens, hand warmers, and slippers I have made, not to mention all the felted items. I wish I still had the brown, gold, and black afghan she had been working on, but my father is the opposite of a hoarder, so I’m sure it was discarded years ago. Perhaps one of these days, I’ll get up the courage to finish the pink and white baby afghan she had so lovingly started. Maybe there will be a baby granddaughter who will get to enjoy it. We’ll see.

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