I started knitting so long ago that I don’t even remember when it was. My mom tried to teach me as a child but I didn’t quite have the patience at the time. In high school, I started teaching myself and really propelled that forward when I entered university. For me, knitting is the original fidget spinner. In university, I found that I was able to concentrate on the material being presented if I was knitting. I generally wouldn’t take notes except for maybe a few key points.
I think I approached knitting in a fearless way but when I say that, I mainly mean that I didn’t know what to fear so I just didn’t fear. After doing scarves, I took on sweaters, mitts and socks, just following the instructions for short rows, increasing and decreasing. I had a solid resource book that showed me how to do different stitches and just took it in stride. I did lace work using sock and lace weight yarn without life lines or fear. I guess this is what people mean when they say ignorance is bliss.
After I left university, I wanted to learn how to crochet and tried to teach myself the way I had with knitting. This was before I (and the rest of society) was as dependent upon the internet and resources like Ravelry and YouTube so my main resources were books. I liked in a small, remote town in Northern Manitoba and I didn’t know anyone else that knit or crocheted. I wasn’t able to wrap my head around crocheting the way I had knitting and so I had to put it away for a few years. Instead I tried dying yarn and spinning with spindles and with a spinning wheel. My time spinning and dying meant that I started to learn the different types of fiber and how they act. I even started to understand the different breeds of sheep and how their wool provides different results. My knowledge of the fiber world just continued to expand.
When I moved to Saskatoon, I joined a knitting group and one of the members was nice enough to teach me how to crochet. I guess I just needed to see it to understand it because once she got me started, nothing could stop me. Since I had been knitting for so long at this point, it was easy for me to have the correct tension. Crocheting was something I saw as having less structure than knitting so I started making up my own patterns or changing other patterns to suit my taste. I even started incorporating knitting and crocheting together based on what I liked about each craft.
I ended up moving to a small town just outside of Calgary called Okotoks. While there, I was able to start teaching knitting and crocheting at Michaels. I mainly had students that were new to the craft but I also had a few seasoned students that were trying to expand their skill set, often because of a specific pattern. With my new students, I always told them try whichever craft spoke to them – knitting or crocheting – but, if it felt really awkward or just didn’t seem to make sense, to try the other one. I find knitting and crochet are like math, music and art all rolled into one. Sometimes, because of the way our brain works, one makes more sense than the other. Maybe it is a left brain versus right brain, or maybe it is just how we have used our hands in the past. Regardless, people usually have an easier time with one over the other and it is best to not fight it, at least not when you start out.