10,000 Hours Later…

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I started knitting when I was a teenager. My grandmother taught me the basics and then I basically picked up the rest as I went along. I wasn’t terribly serious about it though until well into college; actually about the same time the neat little existence of my adolescence crumbled around me and I was forced to rethink everything I’d ever believed about anything. I finished my first scarf when I was twenty. I finished my first blanket when I was twenty-one.

For years I have been what I would call a hobbyist. I dabbled in a little technique here and there, but nothing too serious. I didn’t really learn how to follow a pattern until I was twenty. It was just a thing that I did to keep my hands busy. Then, almost six months ago, something clicked. My brother bought me a gift certificate to my LYS for Christmas. I had been in a few times, but for the most part I had been buying my supplies from soulless superstores like Jo-Ann Fabrics. Somehow, this time was different. This time was the turning point. I wanted to do something really special with Charlie’s present. What Red Purl offered, was not just something to keep your hands busy during your idle hours; it was an opportunity to display craftsmanship, attention to detail and self-expression. It was an opportunity to make art. So I walked out with three skeins of Malabrigo and a Brooklyn Tweed pattern and I was off to the races.

Improvised Cowl in German Herringbone

Improvised Cowl in German Herringbone

Ever since that fateful January afternoon, I have experienced a new fire in my desire to knit every spare minute that I get. Each new project is a new lesson in technique. I learned consistency in making a pattern twice. I learned precision in crafting my first fitted garment. I learned creativity in improvising my own pattern off of a swatch that I found in a book. Every stitch brings me closer to mastery. Every yard makes me a disciple of my own hands.

They (whoever they are) say one must practice a craft for at least ten thousand hours before one can master it. I don’t know how many hours I have spent knitting. Frankly, I don’t want to know. What I do know is that I just finished a lace shawl in ten days. I may not be a master yet, there are still many things that I need to learn, but I feel safe in saying that I am now a journeyman knitter. I have left the term hobbyist behind me.

Knitting is not my hobby. It is not the thing I do in my spare time. Knitting is my craft. I am a craftsman. A craftsman work shapes her body until it is part of her. I feel my fingers and wrists grow stronger and nimbler. I feel my posture improve to prevent cramping. Knitting is literally changing the way I carry myself. And I am ready for the next 10,000 hours.

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Oh, and you can check out my featured FO, Swallowtail Shawl by Evelyn Clark on Ravelry.

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2 thoughts on “10,000 Hours Later…

  1. That was lovely ;). I can relate to having shopped before in soulless super stores. I just bagged up some embarrassing yarn I’ve had for ages. Before I understood, to be honest, that the materials matter. What they are made of, who made them, where they come from, and what they do to the earth. My mind has been fully blown open. I love how you said your posture had even changed. Beautiful. I’m nowhere near your level, but that was inspiring!

    • Aw, thanks. Good materials make all the difference. A few other regulars and I were hanging out at my LYS this weekend and we were talking about how even your choice of needles makes a world of difference. One of the girls had been trying to teach a friend how to knit and it wasn’t going well. At one point, she picked up her friend’s work to show her something and realized what a pain the plastic needles were to work with. She immediately helped her friend find a new pair and they were off to the races. All the good technique in the world can’t make up for bad material. Happy knitting!

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