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I didn’t learn to knit because I needed a sweater. I live in the humid mid-south, where even during the coldest streak of January, a Members Only jacket is plenty to keep me warm. I didn’t learn to knit because I needed a scarf or mittens. See above. I didn’t learn to knit to make a crib blanket for a beloved friend expecting a baby (which might indicate my interest in some random baby, which … well, just no).

I learned to knit because I couldn’t drink any more. Or rather—because I couldn’t seem to drink any less. A ruined Thanksgiving, a near-death experience in a kayak, and a particularly, uh, let’s say treacherous camping trip later and bing bang bong, a trip to the nervous hospital was in my sights.

It took a bit, but that time in a healthy, peaceful setting (replete with a breakfast buffet!) helped me order my thoughts and life and gave me a lot of time to think about all the trouble I had caused and, while not a strict program-of-any-sort follower, I did pick and choose some ideas that I thought might do me some good in the weeks and months and years that were to follow.

Some things were, are, tough, though. In particular, simply apologizing to my family—and my sister, in particular—for decades of, uh, difficult behavior on my part didn’t seem quite adequate. As an official sort of “amends” to my sister, I decided to learn something that she knew alllll about and I knew nothing of. In the future, we could talk about it or not talk about it, whatever, but it would always be on tap if necessary and it would be something about which she would always be the expert. 

I asked her to teach me to knit. Turns out it wasn’t so much a tap that opened as it was, hmmmm, a floodgate. But maybe not in the way that you might be thinking. I didn’t go nuts about the end results of knitting—the sweaters, the scarves.  I like to knit, but I don’t love it. I get bored with it quite easily, so I will sometimes pick up a project that’s out of my league, knowing I’m basically setting up some sibling chitchats about whatever the all-new required skill at hand will be (“Meg, WTF does SSPP2 mean?”) and that’s when the water gets kind of deep question-wise and suddenly we’re two hours into a discussion about which way yarn twists or perhaps The Eternal Mystery: What does DK mean?

Oh, I know what you are thinking! “Poor Sister Meg!” You would be right to think that because I really did have a lot of questions at first. I could barely remember how to bind off while in the midst of binding off. Let’s all have a moment of silence for her. She spent the first year after she taught me just shouting down the stairs,  “As I have mentioned a million times, the answer to your dumbass question is on YouTube!”

But still. Learning to knit remains one of the greatest things I’ve ever done—and more than that, being open to learning how to do it was the real lesson learned, something that would have been unthinkable even in the fairly recent past.

It’s not that I can now make a sweater out of string (though that does at times seem faintly magical) but because knitting is always going to be something I have to be humble about. I will never know as much about this thing as my sister does. (Though I would like to point out that I maintain the upper hand in at least one way by not sharing the “unplug the cable box and plug it back in” secret when her television goes on the fritz. I just wave wrenches and pliers and OHM testers around like I’m repairing a space shuttle when all I’ve really done is unplug the box from the wall. “You’re welcome!” I shout, demanding a flowery thank you, thankyouverymuch).

Bonus: there’s no question that learning to knit also salvaged my relationship with my sister. We talk about everything now—dinner, the dogs, Mom, travel plans, mowing the yard, voting. Sometimes we talk about knitting, but as time passes we do that less and less.

My two favorite skills to exercise as a knitter are weaving in the ends and duplicate stitch. One of those cleans up the messy business of knitting; the other gives me the chance to make wrong stitches right. Recovery is rife with metaphor; it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the appeal of those two things. That said, it did take me a bit, and I have my sister to thank for teaching me that the messy, wrong things can slowly but surely be made right again.

A Giveaway!

The prize? A Skill Set Box of Joy. This kit sets up a new knitter with everything, sparing you the dumbass questions and requests to borrow tools. Seriously, these are the beautiful materials that make knitting a joy. Let’s make more knitters.

How to enter?

Two steps:

Step 1: Sign up for our weekly newsletter, Snippets, right here. If you’re already subscribed, you’re set.

Step 2: Is there someone you would like to offer a moment of silent thanks for teaching you something? Let us know what you learned in the comments (and feel free to name that someone if you like).

Deadline for entries: Sunday, July 31, 11:59 PM Central time. We’ll draw a random winner from the entries. Winner will be notified by email.

About The Author

DG Strong took up knitting in 2014. He lives in Nashville with his sister, her rat terrier and a hound dog named Opal. He has a blog of drawings and faintly ridiculous rambling called The Psychopedia—there are worse ways to spend your afternoon.


  • Almost every hobby I indulge in was gifted to me by my grandmother – knitting, appreciation of nature and the love of reading primarily, but also sewing and baking. So thankful for my Grandma Nana.

    • My older sister has taught me countless things, like how to drive a stick shift. She is largely a self taught learner, who does not like to ask for help. She has dabbled in knitting — purl stitch only. This kit would be perfect for her.

    • My mom taught me how to cross stitch and that led to my greatest downfall: thinking (& knowing!) “I can do that in just the way I want it!” for nearly every aspect in my life, including the fiber arts! So, Thank you, Mom for teaching me that I can learn how to do anything (& that I can make it just so as I envisioned it) and that starting and ending your project neatly and tiddly really does make a difference. It is a gift I hope to pass onto our next generation (as soon as she gets big enough). ❤️

      • Thank you for each and every post sent our way! Todays was exceptional.. a gift of tears between the laughter. Being a healthcare worker through the pandemic, a special friend taught me to knit so I could mentally survive. Knitting “plugs me back in”.

        • Thank you for your beautiful writing D.G. Strong!:) It touched my heart and I think your sister probably learned as much from teaching you to knit.

        • I completely agree with Sue. This post in particular was a selfless gift from you to us.

        • I’m thankful for my mother who taught me to sew , and crochet. And for my oldest sister who taught me to garden and basically became my mother when we lost ours when I was a teenager. We always would talk crochet or gardening and I helped her to learn knitting.

        • I agree with Sue, I always look forward to reading your posts and today’s was exceptional. I, too, have tears this morning because I completely related to what you wrote. As a knitter friend said to me years ago, “knitting saved my life once”. I had to correct that statement to say that it has more than once and it continually does. Thank you for posting.

  • I have to say, I look forward to all your posts, and am a bit disappointed when someone else has the weekend spot. Your writing makes me think, makes me smile,(okay sometimes a good laugh) and if I am ever in Nashville, want to shake your hand and say, “Thank you.”

    • Your posts are always a joy to read (I watched Persuasion last night, thank you very much!) and today’s was honest and real. I learned I can’t knit AND drink wine at the same time. Knitting gives me something to do with my hands and my brain that wine takes away.

    • My sentiments exactly!

    • DG, As I have written before (to you, I believe) in an order: You Rock!… and it wasn’t because you helped me with zauerballs. How and what you write goes really well with a.m. coffee towards starting my day right. Thank you.
      I will thank Frankie Myers for showing me how to knit my first ever item: a hat!
      I will also thank United Bicycle School for teaching me bicycle assembly, repair maintenance. I can now spend more money on yarn!

      • I’m curious. What was the help with zauerballs? (Oh, my imagination.)

    • I couldn’t have said it better. I read MDK everyday hoping it will be you writing. I enjoy all the posts but yours the most.

      • Me too!

    • What she said. –Seriously Thank you D.G.

    • I 100% agree with you Janet!

    • Ditto a hundred times over . . .

    • I agree!

      • I am grateful to many people who taught me many things throughout my life, father taught me to read before I was old enough for school. My beloved Uncle Shamus who helped me with so many things and instilled my love of crosswords. My beloved husband who taught me to love myself because I was worth it. I love you all so much.

      • I too, look forward your columns.

        • To all my sweet crafty friends who love to talk stitches, needles, design, life.

  • Wow DG. That took my breath away.

  • I’d like to give a moment of silence to my mom for teaching me to bake. After knitting it’s probably my favorite hobby.

    • I heart you DG.

      • Thank you, DG. Your posts are always my favorite but this one was special.

  • Thank you for sharing DH, I just learned something from you

  • I will be eternally grateful to my younger daughter for teaching me not to be ashamed of my voracious appetite for books and instead to go on reading anything and everything no matter what others may think of my choices.

  • I’m thanking my wonderful French friend C*, who, unlike the owner of a yarn shop I won’t mention, had endless patience showing me the same things over and over again every week while we practiced English. I OWE her for life.

    • Thank you Leslie for teaching me to knit!

  • My parents were always asking questions. They were always curious and they passed it down just by their actions. They also brought us to the library where we could load up on books to learn about those questions.

  • Thank you, DG.

    • Thank you to my children for helping me learn patience, thanks to my husband for helping me learn self love, thanks to my mother for everything else.

  • Some guy I knew in college old me to stop trashing myself. It was a revelation and I thank him for that b

    • Thank you!
      And thank you to my grandmother who, I think, learned to knit from her German immigrant mother-in-law.

    • Well I live in the south and in the fourth grade I met a lady who was my teacher and the first African-American person I ever met. She was also the first person who ever told me I was enough and I was loved just because I was me. She taught me a lot of other things but boy did that one open up the doors. Thank you Mrs. Galbraith.

      • So lovely. We all need a Mrs. Galbraith in our life. Such a gift to recognize we are enough, loved, just as we are.

  • Kudos to you, DG, for building a happy life and a good relationship with your sister! Thanks for sharing your story. I am grateful to my mother for giving me a love of all kinds of creative handwork and to my father for my lifelong passion for gardening.

  • Kind friend, thank you

  • I send thanks to my grandmother,whose family moniker was “Mammy”, who led what I now perceive to have been a zen life of loving,caring,cooking,quilting, and only ever occasionally passing on a spoken pearl of wisdom.My mother was always willing to help me learn whatever early,creative endeavor swept across my deep,ingrained love of learning new things. She made a few things herself, like glamour balls,ice candles and wreaths from teeny pine cones, but she always managed to magically conjure up a teacher/crafter for me of my whims- like sewing,whittling,corn shuck dolls,oil painting….She found Mrs. Shapiro, who lived in a lovely old house in Jamestown, TN,Cumberland mountains,who taught me in weekly sessions how to knit. She wisely taught me the basics, and then let me forge ahead with my vision of a beatiful turquoise and white sweater. I have followed that knitting magic,learned as a child, for 60 years now, and I am still thrilled with the learning and the doing!

  • My grandmother taught me ALL the things; how to cook, sew, garden, etc. I would follow her around like a little shadow, copying everything she did. She even made doing laundry (with a ringer washer) seem fun! I’m so thankful to have been able to spend much of my childhood with her.

    • I come from a time, mid-last-century, and a place, Tallahassee, FL, where children roamed neighborhoods freely and learned all sorts of things from neighbor ladies. Miss Dove and Miss Trussell, maiden sisters, lived across the street. I’m so grateful that they taught me how to shell pecans, make jam and suet balls, sew, and embroider. I developed a love of birds, possums, and squirrels under their care and learned to love gardening by watching and listening. Most of all I appreciate the time they gave us, just neighborhood kids looking for things to do.

      • Ruth, that’s beautiful.

  • This is such a beautifully written thank you note to your sister. I bet she got a bit choked up reading it. My great aunt taught me to weave, spin, dye and knit. I inherited most of her stash of yarn, fibre and equipment. I am eternally grateful to her for inspiring me to make stuff, and for showing that we don’t need a significant other to have a happy and fulfilled life.

  • I am grateful to the knitting instructor who taught me that when something is not right it is okay to rip it out.

  • Knit on.

    • Thank you DG for helping me to see the world with laughter and a thoughtful perspective. I’m grateful to my mom for instilling in me a love of family, a job well done and the joy of reading. I’m grateful to my dad for teaching me unconditional love. I’m grateful to my aunt who taught me to knit which opened the door to my love of making.

  • DG – Thank you so much for this lovely and courageous post. And what a great approach to mend and grow a relationship! You inspire me to attempt the same with some friendships that have merely puttered along over the past couple of years. I always enjoy your posts; through this one you generously bestowed hard-won wisdom as well.

  • I have been gifted patience and faith (in my opinion, two of the MOST important skills for knitters and midwives) by every person I have attended in labor and birth. And I can’t even begin to describe what every baby I have caught has gifted me! ♥️

  • I want to thank my mom for modeling a certain fearlessness for trying any and all crafts. Though not everything turns out beautifully, she’s never afraid to try something, to just go for it, and sometimes the result really is magic!

  • My mom taught me how to knit. She taught me lots of things. Some l’ve had to unlearn, like you can’t be perfect no matter how hard you try.

  • My Aunt Jessie taught me the knit stitch when I was a girl. I just couldn’t master the purl stitch. She also taught me crochet which I did much better at. As an adult, I now live both crafts. Here’s to you, AJ (RIP).❤️

  • My husband and sons have taught me that my parents were completely and utterly wrong – I CAN be me. So now – in my mid-40’s I am learning to be myself rather than who other people think I should be. It is fun – exciting – liberating and just a bit terrifying! I love being quirky rather than boring and conventional!

    • You were put on this earth to be You! Enjoy!

  • Thank you for sharing how you came to knitting — your story was a beautiful way to begin my day.

    Among many other good things, my father taught me to love books and words, and my mother taught me to love birds. When I decided to learn to knit as a way to relax, I taught myself from a book. When the pandemic confined my husband and me to our house and yard, we discovered that feeding and watching the birds gave us something new and interesting to do every day. And of course, I bought a book about birds.

  • My Mom. She did not actually teach me to knit although she was an avid knitter and crocheter herself, she taught me the patience that I needed to learn knitting. The patience extended far beyond knitting.

  • Our mother taught my sister and I to knit the summer we were 11 and 12, something to keep us occupied. Well, more than 60 years later we are both avid knitters and many of my friends are knitters. Thanks , Mom for a life long skill.

  • My mom. She passed on her ability to teach. If a willing student isn’t learning, it is the teacher’s responsibility to find the way to connect the student with the information (or technique). My knitting group regularly comes to me when they want to learn something new – which sometimes means I have to figure it out first. So much fun!! Thanks Mom!!

  • At 12 years of age, my best friend taught me to knit. She grew up with a favourite grandmother who was patient and had loads of yarn in her stash. Since that time, I’ve knit almost continuously – for family, friends, neighbours, loved ones. Knitting is my meditation, my therapy, my go-to activity when I am feeling low or need a productivity boost. It is my lifeline.

    • I will always be grateful to Elizabeth at my LYS for helping me rekindle my love for knitting.

  • My grammie taught me to knit (silent thanks) and even though I was MUCH too tight and tense then, I loosened up and in spite of myself, became a knitter!

  • Thank you DG, your insight is inspiring. I so enjoy your letters. I wish you and your sister smooth stitching and the gift of easy unravelling of tangles.

  • DG,
    Thank you for sharing your story, and for reminding me the power of healing can often be found in conscious, simple choices.

  • This is a post that I will be thinking about all day!

    • I so agree!

  • A silent thanks to my dear friends, V & M, who taught me that using your talents through volunteering is far more worthwhile than a “job”, as well as a great way to feel good about yourself.

  • My grandmother was a consummate artist who taught me to keep at it until I made what I had envisioned and was happy with it. With experience it gets easier to realize these goals.

  • My grandfather taught me how to catch any sort of ball and gave me courage to keep my eyes open!! with a ball hurling at me. He also taught me the amazing gift of unconditional love.

  • My moment is for my mother who taught me to sew when I was a child. She loved searching for the right fabric or finding that beautiful remnant that could magically be enough fabric for the dress or top or pants I wanted to make. I was introduced to the joy of making through my mom. What a gift to give someone!

  • My brother… taught me that everything can basically be fixed by kitting it with a hammer. Thanks for making me think of him!

  • My Mother’s Aunt Edna for teaching my mother to knit. And my mother taught me. And I am still learning.

  • My mother taught me how to read a clothing pattern and how to sew clothes. I’m no expert but it has brought me so much joy. It’s limitless and it brought me the confidence to enroll in other classes and to be open to trying new things. Like knitting!

  • My Grandmother, know to all as Nana Bus, (the unfortunate result of me looking out the window as a child waiting for her to come and exclaiming “Nana’s bus Nana’s bus!” when seeing it). She did all the crafts, sewing, crotchet, knitting, tatting. I decided around 9 years old to ask her to teach me to knit, my Mom was left handed and I’m right handed and we couldn’t get it going. Nana very patiently got me on my way. Just about 65 years old now and still knitting up a storm. Haven’t done it consistently all of those years but since about 2010 started again with a vengeance and haven’t let up. Always grateful she took the time,

  • Thanks, DG, that was beautiful. I learned to knit after my mother died and I am sorry that I’ve not had the opportunity to discuss knitting with her. I might even have been able to convince her to use better yarn!

    • Each of my five sisters continue to teach me in so many ways. I am very lucky.

  • Very poignant story, DG. My own sister could use a little of the benefit of knitting but physical issues prevent her. She does love to untangle jewelry chains for some reason. But would probably balk at untangling yarn. Maybe it’s the yarn fumes. Knitting You Tube videos are a two-edged sword. On the one hand they are a great way to learn a craft. On the other hand they may prevent an opportunity for one-on-one communication among people who would otherwise not get to know each other very well. (You and your sister are a different matter entirely). I still remember a new acquaintance walking – forcing – new-knitter me through the eighteen-stitch repeat of the Old Shale pattern while sitting in a coffee shop (torture chamber). That opened new worlds for me. And I doubt the existence of a You Tube video would have drawn me to that inexorable, excruciating first-time exercise. I applaud MDK for its all-inclusive encouragements for learning knitting, easy-but-still intriguing patterns, excellent videos and each one-teach one opportunities in their workshops. And I don’t think I will ever get the hang of SSPP2, even when it’s TBL.

  • My Mom was an prolific crocheter who could copy a pattern with no insyructions, but by just looking at a photo or making a sample of a finished piece someone else had made. She tried to get my sister and me interested, but aside from a simple crochet stitch, we didn’t get very far. When we finally wanted her to teach us, it was too late because Mom no longer had the patience. As for kntting, it was a little strange how I got started. I traveled and studied in Portugal several summers and would visit a cousin who machine knit on a Passap from morning to night making garments that she would sell. One summer on my return home, I decided to buy a Passap knitting machine without knowing a thing about handknitting. I, however, hit a roadblock and decided that I should learn how to handknit in order to better understand what the machine was doing with the yarn. Although Mom did not enjoy knitting as much, she was able to help me when I made mistakes. I am now retired, kniiting up a literal storm with my S.A.B.L.E. and have deicded to take up crochet using all the youtube and internet videos as my instructor. Wish me luck!

    • If you still have that Passap there is a very active machine knitting group in Nashville. Every machine knitter I know is also an avid and expert hand knitter. How they love to teach – and I have benefited from their teaching.

  • DG, I am so touched by your article. Thank you for sharing. I learned to knit from my Aunt Alice 61 years ago, and now teach knitting to many.

  • Commenter Jeanne provided the word I was looking for when I wrote my original post: courageous. Your poignant, courageous post. Sometimes I am at a loss for words (though many may doubt that.)

  • My grandmother tried to teach me crochet when I was about 10 yrs old. I could never get the edges straight and gave up quickly. When I was in my 40s, I started working at a lab where most everyone was knitting at lunch time. I watched and saw that when you turn the work, the edges stay straight. Soon I was asking to learn and had several great teachers. Thanks to them I have a lifetime activity to enjoy now that I am retired!

  • Wow! So beautifully written. I also have a wonderful sister who taught me to knit many years ago. There are so many people in my life I can thank for so many things learned. Family, friends, everyone!!

  • Thank you for sharing. This post was touching and inspirational. I agree “being open to…” is the key to change. Loved the knitting metaphors for life. Saving this!

    • PS thank you Mom for teaching me how to knit when I was 8 even though I didn’t do it again for 40 years and showing me how to be open to learning new things and navigate changes in life. Loving knitting skill now Mom!

  • My grandmother taught me to be strong and independent. I’d don’t even think she realized she was doing it. But I am now who she always dreamed of being she’s current 93 and I’m 29, so there are a lot of things she wanted to do that just didn’t seems possible for her when she was young.

  • Thank you DG for sharing your thoughts with us this morning! This is your best yet!

  • Thank you for this.

    My mom taught me to knit, to crochet, and to sew. Knitting won out over everything else, but I still can do all of those things. Most importantly was her philosophy: “oh well, this will do”: that what I was making did not have to be perfect (although she taught me how to make it perfectly) for me to enjoy what I was doing, and to use it with joy.

  • I’d like to thank the staff person at the Lancaster Yarn Shop in Intercourse, PA for showing me how to prevent ladders when using DPNs a number of years ago. She saved me from giving up on a project, and now I actually enjoy knitting in the round with DPNs!

    • So…what is the secret?

  • Thank you for the wonderful reminder of how something like knitting can mean so much more……I am grateful to my Grandma for showing me how.

  • I am thankful to my dad who taught me how to knit was i was young (and did all the cast on or first rows since mine were so tight). He got that it was ok to work on one skill at a time. I come from an extended family of teachers both official and not (like my dad) and I share that bug to find out what someone is trying to achieve or learn and then helping them get there. I’m working on combining both skills to help start new knitters on the path of their choice.

  • My husband teaches me patience, humility, & humor; he shows me how to be grateful and that I am loved. Always.

  • I agree with Janet. Thank you D.G.

  • Thanks to my mother who taught me all the things: knitting, crocheting, sewing, embroidery, cooking and baking, all of which have carried me through all the things called life!

  • My dear grandmother taught me to knit when I was 8 and I thank her for the years and years of joy it has brought me.

  • It’s so hard for me to choose the creative endeavor of the day: knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, watercolor, zentangle, baking, process the garden, yoga/exercise, even laundry is a creative outlet in my world. And, I love bonding with anyone ~more skilled, less skilled, or the same as, me~ in all these areas. It’s a rich, rich world we live in.

  • My college roommate taught me to knit. I didn’t get really serious about it until much later, when I was trying to quit smoking. Having both hands in yarn helped me and I’ve been a non-smoking knitter for about 35 years now. Thanks Barbara for getting me started. And count me in as one who hopes for DG every weekend.

  • I have learned so much from my teacher at knitting and she is also my friend Marlene. One thing I always remember is “I’ll be right back” for a cable…if you hold the stitches in the back then it leans to the right! So clever

  • My college alum interviewer L.S.C. and admissions rep B.C. for believing in me and giving me a chance. Using initials for their privacy.

    • Thank you for sharing, DG! Knitting has supported me and given me joy and serenity and creative expression for decades. I am grateful to my friend Bonnie for teaching me when I was 22 or 23.

  • Thankful for our dear friend Mary who brought our knitting friends together ……she opened many doors for all of us. New skills and friendships

  • My grandmother was a crafter, always making something. I have fond memories of working at a card table in her bedroom making sequin Christmas ornaments. She taught me to knit and crochet, 50+ years later I still have some of her needles.

  • My sister tried reaching me on and off for about ten years. Having a dyslexic brain I just couldn’t understand what she was showing me and my eyes and fingers would not cooperate. One summer when my daughter was 4 we went on a car trip vacation to North Carolina. I borrowed a knitting book from the library determined to finally battle with my brain and figure it out. I wrestled with it in the car and on the ferry and on the beach but I finally got it! My first project was a small rectangle that I turned into a checkbook cover. I still only make simple things but find knitting to be the ultimate healer when times are tough. I have begun lace and cable patterns and if I work really hard I can actually Make something lovely. I am currently seen by the teenagers who have learning disabilities and adhd that I work with as someone who can teach them knitting and that is a interesting full circle experience! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • I did not learn to knit until I retired in 2006. Then, I studied every article, etc. on the computer to learn. I really enjoy knitting, especially socks, that I enjoy giving to others who need a little joy for a moment by a pair of socks I have made. I am a caregiver for my husband with dementia, cancer & other health issues. Now knitting gives me a respite from his serious needs, (24 hours daily). By picking up my project, even for a few moments, I find a special put life in the proper order…always my husband first but then catch a moment for myself. Otherwise, my day would become very difficult in this situation.

  • My Armenian sister-in-law’s aunt taught me to tat… I remember the magic when I was fumbling with the first step and then the second step and she showed me how the second step was just the first step backwards!

  • I love reading your posts, and this one is very special. You and your sister are lucky to have each other.

    • There is still hope for my sister’s and my relationship after all!

  • DG, thank you for sharing your story, it does us all good.

    These past two years, I am most grateful for my first Karate teacher, who was super patient with this adult new learner. It has taught me mindfulness in addition to self-defense, and made me a physically and mentally stronger human, and like you, I am surrounded by lots of people who remind me that there is always more to learn.

    • I thank my mom who had the patience of a saint. She taught me to sew and knit, but most importantly inspired me to try many needlecrafts even if she didn’t do them herself.

  • It’s hard to believe that two sticks and some string can soothe the soul, but it does! My grandma taught me to knit and it calms me, and like the tote bag says, “keeps me from killing people “.

  • I nominate you today for my teacher…
    You are always funny and a balm in these times, but today you were funny, poignant and wise.

  • Your piece this morning touched me. In every story, there is another story underneath, so thank you for sharing your story behind the story of knitting. It sounds like knitting FOUND you and, in some mysterious way, saved you. I know it has seen me through many tough times in my life and I’m forever grateful to the Norwegian lady across the hall from where I lived 50 years ago who taught me that “anyone can learn to knit!”
    I did have to chuckle at your admission that you like to knit, but don’t love it as you are writing for a knitting audience. Might as well just tell it as it is! Thanks for keeping it real!

  • DG, thank you for a lovely, thought-provoking essay this morning. I want to thank my friend Melinda, who taught me how to celebrate. I grew up thinking that the only things worth taking note of were birthdays and Christmas, and those “celebrations” registered about a 2 on a 1-to-10 joy scale. Then I met Melinda, who knows how to find the fun in life and make people feel special. Now I know there’s always some reason for a party, and that the more you put into a special occasion, the more you get out of it. Life needs more sparklers!

  • My grandmother taught me to knit, crochet, and cook. I miss her every day.

  • I’d like to thank my mother for teaching me to be creative. She was an amazing seamstress and she taught me to take something that’s a base pattern and change it to make up my own, fearlessly. There was always a way to figure it out. I love sewing and always will but that skill “to figure it out, break it down to smaller pieces, trust my abilities and try until I get it” shows in my knitting and crocheting and training horses. My professional life and all of my life. I can’t thank Mom enough!

  • Wonderful post , thanks for sharing! I just realized what a big part of my sobriety knitting is. Very happy I found that out.

  • Thanks to my grandmother who started the process and to Peggy, patient teacher, who refined it. I knit so I won’t need Valium!

  • My mother and father taught me to enjoy my hobbies.

  • I come from multiple generations of women who made magic happen with their hands & their creativity. I am so thankful to them for their gift of a creative spirit.

  • My grandmother taught me to tat, crochet, and sew. I no longer know how to tat, lessons lost to the winds of time, and I can sew enough to make simple clothing, but the crocheting started a lifelong love of fiber. I learned how to knit while in Germany as an exchange student; now I am “never not knitting” and it’s all due to my grandmother’s foundation and host mother’s patience.

  • I’m eternally grateful to Don Knitz, who taught me to knit continental, so I could knit two colors at the same time without ever tangling my yarn! He also taught me the best way to hold my yarn as a thrower, so that my knitting speed increased dramatically, and my hands never cramp up anymore.

  • Appreciation for fiber arts, reading, and cooking are all life skills my mother lovingly taught me. Confidence and strength came from my father. Both of my parents managed to teach me valuable skills that allow me to enjoy my life and endure it at the same time. I’m very lucky for that, I know.

  • My aunt taught me to knit. In the years before she passed I was able to repay her teaching me. She couldn’t remember a lot of what she knew about knitting. I was able to help her knit.

  • My children have taught me how to live better.

  • I learned by watching my mother when I was a kid, so for a long time I wrapped the yarn clock-wise because my view was from the front.
    When I inherited her knitting needles I could tell which ones I had used because I had knit so tightly the needles were curved.

  • Awesome post DG, thank you for sharing this story! It tugged on my heartstrings for sure. Knitting has helped me too in so many weird ways while getting sober, coming up on year five. This hobby is a healer in so many ways, for so many of us. Some friends and I have a local knitting group called the Booze Free Knitting Bee … it’s kind of like AA but there are no rules. We just knit. We all don’t drink (and sometimes we talk about that, or we don’t.) But we are there to support each other and offer community and accountability. The group has grown one person at a time, by word of mouth. If you don’t know how to knit, we’ll teach you. It’s a group of the most fantastically different, creative, cool people I’ve ever known. We have an oddly high success rate … and I can’t help but think that maybe it’s the knitting.

  • My Mom, Ruth, for her patience and endurance. My Aunt Ardith, for those raglan cardigans with the 3/4 length sleeves. She originally told is they were “typing length” making us all feel like secretaries at the age of six, seven, nine and eleven. We were styling! Aunt Ardith was my inspiration, my Mom, Ruth was my educator. Two amazing women, to whom I owe my lovr of knitting!

    • And thank you for sharing your own struggles. We have all been there and we wish we could write our own story with the humor and honesty that you can. As you can see, like your sister, we love you just the way you are!

  • To thine own self be true …
    and now, you outed your secret tv fix!

    I hope she likes Jane Austen as well.
    We can all write odes to “the one who taught us to knit.”

  • DG, I love it when I open up MDK and find a new article from you! Even better, when you not only serve up the morning’s laughs, but also honor us with a peek into the person behind the humor. It takes courage and character to do the work of recovery and the repairing of relationships…well done you! I am one of the many who were blessed with a grandmother who loved to teach me how to make anything and everything, including how to make a sweater out of a piece of string. But the relationship she built with me in the process was absolutely priceless, and probably the only reason I don’t drink too much today. Every time I pick up my needles, I remember her eyes looking into mine, and her hands as she patiently taught mine how to hold the needles, and the joy in her praise when I accomplished a new skill. Most of all I remember the love she poured into a small child who needed that very very much.

  • I am another fan of your columns, DG! Please keep them coming! I must credit my childhood friend, Linda’s grandma and great grandma for instilling in me a love of crafting with string. . .we started with crocheting granny squares and shawls and then this morphed into crocheting baby sweaters and blankets which then morphed into knitting.

  • My Dad who taught me to “look it up” in the dictionary the beginning of learning all sorts of new things.

  • Knitting is a remedy for so many difficulties

  • A book club friend from 20 years ago. She has become an state fair award winning knitter. Kim Laberge. She just passed away in June. An inspiration.

  • Thanks to DG for writing from your heart. And thanks to my weaving teacher, Edith Karlin. And all my knitting friends. The BEST!

  • My German grandmother taught me to crochet as a 9 yr old. Gram had to explain and explain turning the work. That sweet lady had patience! I finally got turning the corner which was so easy. I’m not sure what my hang-up was. I still have that original crocheted scarf with the edge going out and in and suddenly a super straight edge when I mastered “turning the corner.” I have kept that scarf as a memory of my Gram and remembering to keep trying. Don’t give up.

  • A moment of silent thanks for my neighbor Sharon who irritates me above all other but who is kind and persistent and does not take offence. She shares with me and others continuously day and night. And she loves baby squirrels.

  • My mom for not only teaching me to knit but modeling the patience to correct mistakes and move on.

  • I was a 5th grader, trying crochet for the first time, when my busy Aunt sat down and showed me how to weave the yarn around the fingers of my left hand to maintain tension. It was a blessing I never thanked her for. I wish she knew how much she helped me that day.

  • Thank you, DG, for such a beautiful post. You’re an exceptional writer, and I appreciate that you shared your story with us. Shout out to your sister, who sounds like an absolute delight. Best wishes to you both.

  • Thank you to my dear friend Cameron for teaching me how to name my fears, and then to walk through them.

  • When I was 10 I saw my friend Lisa’s mother knitting. It was mesmerizing. I asked if she could teach me and she did. Right then and there. What a gift. Just that little bit of instruction empowered me, enough so that 10 years later, walking along in a discount store, I came upon yarn, and needles, and books and thought, I’m going to make something. It was way before the internet so I needed a book that explained stitches. I took all that home and made many things out of really cheap yarns, and it all made me happy. Fast forward many decades later and I now knit with confidence, with mohair and cashmere, with Ravelry and a community, on Zoom with knitting savy friends, all because of Lisa’s mom. So if a child asks you to teach them to knit, please say yes.

  • I would like to thank my Granny for teaching me to crochet and my Home-Ec teacher for knitting. And thank you DG for sharing your story.

  • I would thank my grandmother number one who crocheted, embroidered, needle pointed, and crafted paper flowers, and worked with wire and beads and did just about everything else, and my grandmother number two who only crocheted but actually taught me to do it, and also taught me that “Paul Revere on a galloping horse would never notice” my mistakes.

  • I’d like to remember my dad for teaching me to make an omelette. And I’ll forgive dad’s icky wife for shrinking the original cable sweater I knit for him a while back…just today, in this moment.

  • My mother was an avid knitter and crafter. I thank her for my love of knitting and I treasure the things she made for me, most specifically a queen size bedspread that is absolutely gorgeous and took her years to make.

  • My dearest friend Peg taught me to have the courage to “rip back”. Until then I either started the work all over or tried my best to cover up the mistake. I breathlessly watched her rip back, fix the errant stitch, then pick up all those tender stitches lying there off the needle & continue on as if she had not just performed a miracle. Lesson in life—don’t just regret mistakes, summon your courage, go back & fix them!

  • I’m ever thankful to my Mom for teaching me to knit and I will be forever grateful to my dear friend Gina for teaching me to knit socks! The process is calming and has been the single best action that has helped me through the roughest times. So, thanks Mom and Gina! I owe you big time!

    • You are a pretty good mentor yourself, you know. Can’t wait to show you my brioche projects!!

  • So loved this essay!!!

  • I am grateful for you, DG, for the way an article by you and a cup of coffee never fail to help me start the day with a smile. And that isn’t always an easy thing! You are a gift to us.

  • My Great-aunt Francis would travel across the country to visit a few weeks twice a year. She always brought a project idea from ceramic glazing, macrame hangers, felt ornaments, painting techniques to needle crafts like needlepoint, crochet, tatting, and knitting. We would have large family gatherings during her visit and many would join in on learning the new skill she had researched and practiced in preparing for the trip. As we sat around, for instance, Tunisian crocheting afghan panels to later be joined together and cross-stitched on, many family stories were shared. Many years she even taught my whole Brownies then Girl Scout groups how to make items for Christmas ornaments or gifts. She had endless patience and was animated and connected readily to the girls. She was a great story teller and teacher to us all.

  • My two grandmothers, one for getting me started and one for keeping me going.

  • My friend, Paige, taught me Fair Isle knitting. She began as my group instructor at my LYS and then became my employer! She opened my knitting world to the challenge of stranded knitting and to the magic of the finished Fair Isle sweater, bag, scarf; the list just keeps going. That knitting lesson in 2008 continues to be a wonderful gift.

  • My mom, who taught me to knit, and who crocheted blankets and hats until dementia left her with only the ability to tangle yarn (something I do on a regular basis).

  • My mother taught me to knit when I was very young, and I went through many phases of knitting…or not. It was not until I retired, however, that it became a real passion for me. Although our relationship was always difficult, I am eternally grateful to her for introducing me to this amazing skill.

  • A shout out to my fourth grade music teacher who taught a bunch of squirmy kids that you don’t need to be perfect, and that being a part of an ensemble means watching out for everyone else in the group. If you make a mistake, just pick up and go on. If a piece of music looks difficult, take it in really small chunks. (applies to patterns, too)

  • My fabulous art teacher, Joseph Fitzpatrick, the closest thing to perfection I had ever experienced in my childhood. He taught us to look, see, remember and enjoy.

    • Thanks goes to my original knitting teacher, Mrs. Chalmers, of Stella Chalmers Knit Shop on Foothill Blvd in Arcadia, CA! I went there every Saturday for a while in 4th grade. Wow, this article today stirred up this memory. My 70th birthday is coming up very quickly so that was a very buried memory! Thank you!

  • Wow! A dear friend taught me finishing quilts on her long arm machine.

  • DG – I feel blessed that I have read this post. Went straight to my heart as I have made loads of mistakes in life, yet always manage to come home. My go to for knitting is YouTube. I am VERY left handed. To maintain my knitting friends (and LYS relationships) I found that my requests for do it agains (repeatedly) are easier to handle.

  • I would like to thank the nuns that taught me to read in grade school. Reading makes everything possible!

  • I thank my friend Dawn, who brought a bunch of cheap yarn and needles on a beach trip, so “we can all learn together”…and then an old semi-bizarre lady named Thelma, who taught Community Education classes in knitting…in her trailer house (nope, not a mobile home, thank you very much), amid her stacked boxes of who-knows-what, with a squawking cockatoo named Peaches looming over the kitchen table, and her husband “Daddy” watching “Cops” on TV four feet away from the class, and something truly foul smelling always cooking on the stove. Dawn provided the spark, Thelma provided the basics, and knitting has been in my life ever since.

  • Silent thanks to my grandmothers for modeling resilience and living lives of hope, love, and even joy, in the face of adversity.

  • My mother was… strict, but she always encouraged reading, & crafting of any kind, which she also did, so there were plenty of supplies around.

    I picked up knitting when after 31 years, I was finally able to quit smoking (thank you Chantix, it was worth it) & needed something to keep my hands busy. That was 15 years ago, & I’m still in love with my ‘security blanket’

  • I will forever be grateful to Tom Jipson, master weaver and amazing teacher, who taught me how to learn to weave. This is last year teaching for Harrisville Designs in New Hampshire and I know there must be thousands of weavers who hold him in our hearts as we throw the shuttle. After almost two years not being able to weave due to a move and lack of cat free space, I recently started working in my basement. It is dark, it is not ideal, but no cats have access and it is my new sanctuary.

  • There was always some type of creative thing happening in my house growing up (thanks, mom & dad!) & it carried over to my home with my daughter & her friends. One or two friends would drop by to sit & knit or craft even when my daughter wasn’t there. It was great insight into what what going on in their lives & I miss that now that they’re far-flung (but still crafting!)

  • This was beautiful. Thank you. During the early days of my big brother’s struggle with dementia, he liked to sit & watch me knit. He said that it helped him to relax. We would chat, or not. He got a kick out of his “baby” sister’s Marine mouth. Thank you for bringing those moments back to me. Also, I think I like your sister

  • My high school Latin teacher, Mrs Paul. She sparked a life long love of languages ( I am 74). Thanks to her I started learning Italian last November and am finding it fascinating.

  • My grandmother and mother were always sewing or quilting. I followed in their footsteps and became a quilter. When I retired, I wanted to learn to knit. After moving to a new, small community, I saw there was a shop offering a sock knitting class. I signed up. After the initial class I was hooked. I must have driven to that shop, sometimes twice a day, to get extra help. But I mastered it. Now I have been knitting for 12 years and totally love it!

  • I’ve been a lifelong cross stitcher and needlepointer. About seven years ago I joined a library knitting group where a local woman, thank you Trudy, had graciously offered to teach knitting. I’ve never looked back! Wonderful story DG!

  • Grateful for my friend Cathie who led me to rediscover knitting when I retired. Who knew it was going to be such a wonderful creative pastime over the last few years?! It has strengthened friendships and forged some new ones, while making gifts for others (and for me). I really enjoy exploring local and not so local yarn shops whenever the opportunity arises.

  • My elementary school librarian, I don’t remember her name unfortunately. She took one look at me in first grade and lifted her ‘only two books checked out at a time’ rule. I could take as many as I wanted each week, and I’ve been a voracious reader ever since.

  • my mom has always modeled trying a new craft/art/hobby. (at 83 she learned how to run a band saw to help with her woodcarving addiction.) my grandmother was the yarn person so i guess she pushed me in a knitty direction. my other grandmother believed girls should embroider tea towels. ahhh the fam!

  • Thank you for your courage.

  • My grandmother for making me sit in the back yard on summer afternoons (while the other kids were playing out front) teaching me embroidery. My mother for teaching me to knit. Hated it then. It’s a lifeline now!

  • My mom (papercrafrs, book binding, cooking), my grandmother (crochet, which led to knitting), sewing (photography), my dad (photography, gardening, fishing), and the life lessons of practice, patience, and being in the moment, but preparing for the metaphorical winter, and to keep going.

  • My step-mother-in-law, a wonderful person and artist, showed me and my kids ways to be creative that didn’t require particular skills. Her joy in having fun with art continues to inspire me, even though she is now gone.

  • Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to read! It’s the best!

  • I would thank my grandmother for teaching me to knit and age eight!

  • I’ll always be grateful to my Mom who taught me to knit as a preteen. It was my gateway craft, leading me down so many paths. Thanks, Mom. ♥️

  • My sister has taught me to knit and sew, and how to be patient (still working on that one…). Knitting has saved my sanity during stressful times.

  • Another great piece, DG. Thank you! I owe deep appreciation to my late mother-in-law, who showed me what good mothering is and helped me cope with my toxic parents. The real beneficiaries of her example are my happy and healthy children.

  • My Mom who taught me to knit. Absolutely loved your writing today. Thank you

  • I learned to knit in Camp Fire Girls. Later, in my early 20s, Corinne taught me the continental knit and Norwegian purl so I could make a Norwegian sweater, knitting each color in a different hand. Many thanks to her as it has been so helpful to know several ways to knit and purl!

  • DG (my initials too, btw), I love all of your columns, but this one is special. We are all richer for you sharing this with us.

    • I meant to add that I must thank my Mom for teaching me by example to smile and be able to find humor in so many situations and make the journey of life more enjoyable. She and I taught ourselves together to crochet back in the late 70’s/early 80’s, all from books. She was such a lovely person and I will continue to miss her every day.

  • Beautiful, DG. Truly.
    Thank you.

  • My girl scout troop leader taught me to knit. I watched her tackle this project with so much patience and humor. That was the real lesson. To this day, if my patience is tried I still think how would Mrs.M handle this. A great lesson to learn at a very young age

  • Aunt Mary taught me to crochet.
    Daniela Nussbaumer taught me to knit.
    Royal T taught me to love life.

  • My sister needs this. I am DGs sister in this scenario.

  • My mother was a great teacher. When I was in school I did not understand how to borrow when you have a zero on the top. I did not catch on at school but she took the time and patience to show me how to subtract. She only had a limited amount of schooling.

  • My dear, late sister in law Marilyn who had a great sense of humor, and the patience of a saint. She left us way too soon, but is forever in my heart. ❤️

  • I am very grateful for every person who (tried) showed me how to do something that was new to me. Because every single time I would have to change something that made it make more sense to me. I have always struggled with patterns, instructions and just being told ‘what to do’ in general. But once I know how to do something my way, I am able to absorb and learn new shortcuts etc to make the making easier and better.

    Here’s to all the teachers out there, they enable the passing on of skill and knowledge!

  • I was taught to knit and crochet as a child by my mother’s friend Joan. She was a lefties, I was not. So we sat across from each other, mirror image style. Rather than saying right or left, Joan would say “this hand” and wave the one she meant. Worked great!
    I have spent many hours since then making things with yarn, sometimes for the end result, sometimes for the soothing rhythm of it. It has always been a way for me to slow down, calm down, and concentrate. Thank you, Joan, fir such a great gift.

  • DG you are a brave and beautiful person. I am grateful for your presence and your posts and for being another teacher in my life.

  • I was a knitter who decided I wanted to knit socks. Went to my LYS asked where the sock yarn was, for a good pattern and needles. I told the store owner Judy, this would be my first attempt – could I do it? She said yes, it would be a bad business decision for me to sell you this if I didn’t think you could do it. Fast forward 2 weeks when I’m trying to turn the heel, knitting impossibly tight. She looked at my problem, pointed to the only chair in her store, said rip back to here and I’ll get back on track. She then showed me my error, and now 40 pairs plus later, I say – thank you Judy!

  • DG your stories never fail to delight and inspire. Thank you for bringing the human touch to knitting. Thank you, thank you very much 😉

  • My mother lovingly taught me to knit 50 years ago and I recently had the chance to expand a co-worker’s knitting skills beyond knitting swaths of stockinette. It has been so fun to share my love of learning to knit new things with her. I would give the Kit to her.

  • My Grandma O taught me to knit. My daughter taught me to be kind to myself. It’s good to be reminded that there are so many ways to give to the people we love. Teaching, and learning.

  • My mom taught me to knit at a young age. She passed away way to early when I was 16 years old. She would be proud of me to see all the garments I have made over the years, even two sweaters with cables in them which she hated cables according to my older sister. Thank you mom

  • Thanks to my Dad who is 96 and I have the blessing of caring for him now. He taught me so many handyman tricks. But most importantly he taught me to be positive in life, don’t dwell on the sad things and always be kind and helpful to others.

  • My mom taught me to sew at age 8 and encouraged me with any hobby or craft.

  • Thank you DG for your wonderful insights each week.
    Thank you Mr. Spangenberg, my high school history teacher for teaching me that everything we do is a part of history. It’s not just generals and kings, but the thoughts and actions of all people that count. I’ve taken that idea and applied it to the work and craft of women as part of the story of the community.

  • My stepmother finally did her own recovery in her 70s. Her addiction and mental health caused a lot of damage – especially to my younger brothers. But she ended her life beloved by her own kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids because she was finally able to get that monkey off her back. I am grateful she taught me how to knit when I was 9, but I am far more grateful she taught me how to forgive.
    One day at a time, my friend.

  • Thanks for sharing that. I know something about causing havoc in a family. Fortunately they are forgiving people. My mother taught me to knit when I was young. I knitted clothes for my Barbies and Trolls. I knitted samplers after she showed me different stitches. Most of those are lost to time, samplers and stitch options, but after a prolonged and misspent youth (which lasted well into my 30’s and sometimes beyond) I found myself picking it up again to knit sweaters for my own daughters, which led eventually to socks with plenty of dishrags and washcloths thrown in to practice stitches and use up yarn ends. During her lifetime my mother made hundreds of tiny hats for newborns which were distributed to local hospitals as well as uncountable baby blankets for friends’ babies and friends’ daughters’ babies who she had never met. Her generosity was unlimited. Although she was no great drinker she always said, “It keeps me out of bars.” I guess that’s my mantra as well.

  • In 2007 my husband suffered a stroke. It was an experience that no one is really prepared to handle. Even with a Masters degree is Gerontological studies and the ever constant support of my sister with 30 years as a RN it was daunting. I seemed constantly faced with how to manage “wrapping my head around” the events of the days/nights. Chuck and I both managed to hang on for 5 years. Early on there was an unexpected knock at the door by someone sent by a friend.
    A non assuming visitor toting a well worn back pack and a cheerful voice, “ Hi, my name is Rosemary and I was told by a shared friend that you would like to learn to knit socks.” As she let herself in she said, “ I understand you did knit a wee bit as a child. I brought you needles, yarn, and my favorite pattern from Ann Noring “. From that moment on, knitting socks became my
    “Lifeline”. Rosemary, a name referencing the herb of love and friendship, allowed me to have a safe place to retreat to, a baseline where life like the tiny stitches in a row can line up and once again find my place.

  • I’ll repeat – thank you so much for sharing your story. I am a healthcare worker and needed to learn to calm myself and found that in knitting. I learned a little at age 8, in 4-H, but promptly forgot it. Getting through the Covid crisis prompted me to try and bring that skill back. Thank goodness for knitting YouTube videos and the random Zoom class.

  • I learned forgiveness.

  • My daughter and my sister for encouraging me on my knitting journey. I’ve been knitting five years. Knitting gave me the courage to retire. I’ve been retired four weeks. It’s wonderful!

  • My thanks go to Chellie Pingree (yes, that Chellie Pingree, although I have never met her) and Evie Rosen. Let me explain. When she was in her 20’s, back in the 1980’s, Congresswoman Pingree lived on the island of North Haven, Maine. As a way to support the local economy and particularly the island women she founded North Island Designs, which sold yarn and patterns. I saw a photo of one of their sweaters and craved it – but it only came as a kit! The knitter who answered my call to their toll-free number assured me that someone who knew nothing about knitting could indeed knit this sweater just by carefully following the instructions. Even though it was intarsia, and also featured embroidery, she was correct! There was no YouTube – there was no internet yet – and I knew no knitters, so I turned to that old-fashioned source of assistance: a book. “The All New Teach Yourself to Knit,” Evie Rosen’s wonderful Leisure Arts leaflet, and some Bernat needles were both at the local Woolworths – particularly well-named in this case – and since there was no one to tell me that intarsia was hard, I just plunged in with confidence and hope and it turned out beautifully. I still wear it occasionally.

  • My mother taught me to knot. When I saw her marvelous argyle socks that won the Sacramento State Fair I was enthralled. I remember countless bobbins hanging from the back of her work. Wow! Unfortunately, I never got the opportunity to actually knit alongside her. Life always seemed to get in the way. The oldest of 4, there wasn’t a lot of time to just sit and relish life. Then I was off to college, Veterinary School and other forms of adulting. Now I have that longing. Thank you for such a wonderful community.

  • My hairdresser was a drug addict and alcoholic. Part of his recovery was to delve into knitting with both hands. We have had some wonderful talks about his sobriety and knitting. Stay strong. Pun intended.

  • What a great story! Thanks for sharing. Knitting is good for the bad times and the good. If everyone took up knitting , the world would be a better place.

  • I would thank my dad for teaching me that sometimes the smartest thing you can do is keep your mouth shut. Unfortunately I’m a brat and usually open it too much.

  • I learned the love of baking from my Oma. Actually I learned the love of gardening too, among many other things. She was an amazing woman full of love and generosity, and for whom I will be forever grateful.

  • My dear grandma Ester. She taught me to knit and crochet and we bonded over that for years. And I absolutely LOVE knitting. It’s ALL I want to do!!

  • A moment of silence for my dear sweat daughter who has taught me by example to be huble and kind. She is thoughtful and cares deeply for the well-being of others. I aspire to see the world as she does.

  • Pretty much self taught in fiber arts thanks to many books, magazines, videos, etc. But I will acknowledge my ex who taught me narcissists never change.

  • I’m a firm believer that the right book, the right words, the right message will always show up when you need it most as long as you are open to receiving the message. Your message struck a cord today. Thank you for sharing your why today and for being one of the best parts of every week. You’ve reminded me that it’s not just making stuff. It’s the bliss that comes from creating with a string and a needle–sewing, knitting, quilting, and beadwork. Thank you Mom for showing me the way…. I just have to remember.

  • My thanks to Mary who taught me and her daughter how to knit at age 8 — although she did not know how. She learned with us as we analyzed illustrations and written instructions in a learn-to-knit pamphlet in the days long before local yarn stores and the internet. My next 63+ years were forever changed in all the best ways!

  • Love your story! I’m 27 years sober . Knitting plus jelly candy.

  • My mom taught me to knit when I was a kid. I wasn’t particularly interested in it then. When she died too young in 2004 l took up knitting to cope with the unbearable grief of it. At that point I knew how to make knit and purl stitches, and that was it. Now I can knit anything, and extremely well too (winning blue ribbons at the MN State Fair is, with all humility, a feat).

    Knitting helped me heal, and connected with with so many wonderful, smart, creative people. If I win this I have a newish knitter in mind to gift it to.

  • It is always wonderful to read what DG has to say. It’s been a while, so a great way to start my Sunday.

    I pretty much taught myself to knit. One of the best things I ever did for myself.

  • Jane taught me to knit and Chris is my knitting coach because Jane lives in England and I live in FL. Important side note: July 31st ( day of this give away ends) happens to be my birthday. Just sayin’.

  • DJ, I always look forward to your columns, I can relate to what you write. I am Neurodivergent. Knitting is my stim. Humor based on mental health is my kindred guffaw. And you are wonderful to me!

  • I would like to give a moment of thanks to my mother (and my father) who taught me so many skills. Both were left-handed and I and my sister were right handed. As kids, they patiently would patiently teach us craft skills, which they had already turned upside down to do left-handed, then return them rightside up to teach us right handed. Knitting, especially was challenging for my mother to teach us. I think my right-handed grandmother may have intervened and helped. I know my sister and I rolled our eyes, as they would regale us with tales of their childhood difficulties learning how to cut with scissors, penmanship with ink that smeared as they did cursive writing, etc. They were superheros, of course, and I probably knew it then, but I definitely know it now!

  • My dear friend Victoria taught me how to decorate cakes 31 years ago. It was our job together for a while. I made her wedding cake many years ago. She made mine this past May.

  • What a gift you are. I love your posts.

  • I am grateful to my mother for teaching me persistence, which is important to me in many things, including knitting.

  • In 1967 at the University of RI, my most patient room mate, Susan, taught me to knit my first sweater. It was for my boy friend, who would become my husband for 20 years. Fifty-five years later, my son wears the sweater to keep warm in the winter. Knitting has saved my sanity many times!

  • My beautiful friend Molly taught me to knit, and it has been a source of joy ever since. Although sometimes knitting involves swearing and ripping out, I do it joyfully.

  • My big brother, for having the patience to teach me how to drive a straight shift when I was 16 so I would never be at the mercy of date who was unable to drive me home. I will always be grateful. ❤

  • For sewing I am grateful to my Mom and Grandmom. For knitting I am grateful to my great Aunt Pearl.

  • My grandfather who taught me by showing me how to be kind and non-judgemental

  • I inherited my artistic abilities from both sides of my family but I received most of the instruction in how to make things from all the art teachers in my local school district. I have truly never had a job that wasn’t somehow influenced by something I learned from them. A special shout out to Karen Hoekstra from Jenison High School.

  • As a fellow knitter in recovery, I am so thankful for people like you who can use your writing talent to share your experiences with other crafters. I feel like taking a moment to appreciate the reasons why we find joy in crafting is just as important as the finished product, and for me, every time I pick up my needles means I’m not throwing back a drink (there’s a knitting pun there, it was not intended but too funny to change). I knit and crocheted before getting sober, but it never had the same feeling of being so necessary to my survival as it does now.

  • This was a terrific article. Thank you for sharing your story!

  • My friend Laura, and brand m-new knitter herself, for showing me what to do and then handing me an in-progress garter-stitch scarf with the words, “Here. This is yours to do now.”

  • Like many here my family … first time my Grandma tried to teach me to knit when I had chickenpoxes as a way to stop scratching but that didn’t work I wasn’t ready. Fast word my moma taught me and my two sisters to knit all at the same time about roughly 20 years ago lol. I have so much respect for her as she has amazing patience!! One of us kept dropping stitches, one couldn’t purl and the other one I can’t remember what happened. Knitting is a family thing and I am so grateful to have learn it helps with my anxiety, depression but more importantly it helps with my migraine treatment. I also love to make items for my family and close friends!! Thank you DG Strong I agree with all of the others here you are a gift I love your posts you have a gift! Thank you also for sharing your story i feel honoured!!

  • My dear friend Susan taught me how to knit in my last year of my Internal Medicine Residency because I was moving to California from Texas and could finally wear a sweater sometimes! Best thing she ever taught me was when I noticed a mistake I had made my knitting she said – keep going no one will ever notice – and she’s right except I always noticed so I have to go back and fix it..

  • I have to nominate my late Aunt Harriet, who had the patience of a saint. She taught me how to knit barbie dresses, in the round WHEN I WAS SIX!!! Size 4 needles!!! Who knew it was supposed to be hard???

  • Thank you for your honesty. Knitting has saved me too, especially since the pandemic when all I could knit at first was dishcloths. For the past five months I’ve been unable to knit because of wrist surgery and couldn’t help but notice the overwhelming anxiety arising from no yarn in my hands. Knitting is zen to me.

  • endless gratitude to my mom, in SE Michigan, for teaching me to knit when I was in 4th grade. She’s gone to the knitting/gardening/running/cooking in the sky. I’m here, with 2 fantastic kids and 5 fantastic grandkids, who get lots of socks, sweaters, linoleum dishcloths and linen hand towels. Knitting is the very best!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for your honesty and sincerity. You’re a leader.

  • My parents taught me confidence. What a wonderful gift, to know I can just try things, from going off to college, or taking up a hobby or sport. As I went out into the world I met so many other women whose first thought seemed to be “I could never do…” and I always thought wow, of course they can. Thanks Mom, thanks Dad.

    DJ – thank you for your wonderful story today.

  • Lovely. Enjoyed this very much today.

  • Thank you, DJ for sharing your story. Neither my mother nor grandmothe knit. My grandmother crocheted, but to my young eyes she made magic with an invisible hook and spider web. She couldn’t slow down enough to show me the steps.
    I desperately wanted to learn to either knit or crochet, and when I was 8 my mother found an acquaintance willing to teach me to knit. She helped me understand that my fumbles were not for being left handed and learning right handed knitting, but just for being a beginner. That made my life as a knitter who loves making sweaters so much easier than it might have been. So I have been knitting and accumulating an enormous yarn stash for several decades, thanks to Laura McKenzie.

    I am endlessly grateful to my parents for instilling curiosity. There is always so much more to learn about everything, no matter how seemingly mundane. I hope I have passed that on to my children.

    • I do hate auto-correct! Of course I meant to type DG! My apologies.

  • I thank my mother for teaching me to crochet when I was in high school. That lead me to try embroidery, needlepoint, and cross stitch. I also want to thank my youngest daughter, who inspired me to learn to knit in 2008, because she is a wonderful knitter. Her color work is beautiful and she can knit sweaters to fit herself. Even though our daughter lives with us, I really tried not to ask too many basic knitting questions when I started knitting. Knitting has been a “bond” for us and makes visiting a LYS or a yarn store fun. As a youngster, we would go to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, so we went from admiring sheep to learning what to do with the yarn. I don’t walk well enough now to go the the Sheep & Wool anymore, but we have very found memories of spending the day there. Sometime my older daughter would come also.

  • Thank you for your story.
    My mom taught me to knit when I was about 7-8 years old. She was an amazing knitter. She loved to crochet as much. I crochet a bit but mainly I knit. I used it as a hobby, as my therapist, a meditation and as a way to connect with so many wonderful people.

  • My mother. To make blueberry pie. It’s never as good as I remember hers, but it brings back such happy memories when I do make one.

  • My mom—knitting, sewing, crochet, needlepoint, cooking, not taking sides when the children bicker. And more.

  • thank you to my sweet mother for teaching me the joy of making!

  • A friend taught me that my apology to her would always be accepted, even after 3 years. Now, knitting and sewing is something we do “together” even though we live hundreds of miles apart. Thank you for your honesty and humility.

  • Best wishes on your continued recovery. I work in mental health care and those I have met on their recovery journey taught me so much to become a better provider. Since that feels like a too big and vague thank you, I will thank my mother and aunt, who both taught me knitting and crochet. My relationship with my mother has been complex through the years, and much like you and your sister, our shared love of fiber arts has always been something open to us, when at times other topics were closed off. Though they taught me as a child, my practice was fitful until about 12 years ago, when it provided so much soothing through a difficult time. Both have passed (Aunt Maxine in 1992, mom 5 months ago), but as I now knit or crochet almost every single day, I have grateful thoughts of both of them every day.

  • My aunt Alice made me want to learn to knit, my mother taught me, and my grandmother taught crochet basics. Thanks to them all!

  • My grandma, for teaching me I was lovable just as I was.

  • Thank you mom, Clara Montgomery. She had taught me to crochet while still a child, but I taught myself to knit. Way before YouTube. I was making a tam for my baby daughter. Started with 1 X 1 ribbing, only instruction I had was the pattern booklet. Pearl one knit one. Easily done, but the second row! It never looked right. I had started over several times. So I made that long distance call in the middle of the day! The expensive time of day. She told me that the back side of a knit stitch is a pearl stitch! Last stitch on the first row was a knit so first stitch on the second row would be pearl! OH! She told me what I had was the rice stitch, a stitch I have come to love. So back to work and success

  • I commented earlier but I should’ve commented about the thoughtfulness and heartfelt tone of your words. It was a special message and I thank you for sharing.

  • I am euphoric the morning….DG a two days in a row! Today’s words left me in tears. Families are so complicated and yet we persist. Thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us, DG. I have had a bit of a slog the past four years. Happiness has been elusive and laughter even more so due to a tragic loss. So, thanks, DG, for being part of the group that has taught me to grin again. Some mornings it really gets crazy and I snort!

  • My grandma started me crocheting when I was 7 years old. I crocheted so tight, that I had to struggle to even get the hook in the stitches. So after a few weeks, she said knitting would be easier and we would come back to crocheting at a later date. Which we did. At 16, I was back at it. I love both crocheting and knitting. Now at 74 years old, I still think of my beautiful, talented grandma, Helen.

  • Thank you for that! I appreciate you, your humor and now a peak into the person you are with us! Regards

  • There was a cashier in the little grocery across the street, Mrs.Johnson, who helped me learn to knit. I was 10 or 11. My first peoject was a sweater that had color work on the sleeves. The second was a sweater full of cables with a cowl collar. No scarves, pot holders or flat things for me, because I didn’t know that is where people began. Mrs. Johnson never told me anything might be too difficult for me, so it wasn’t. That was a looong time ago.

  • My daughter Carly was in 7th grade when she asked “mom, can we learn to knit?” and so began the journey of creative fun some 15 years ago. Little did I know that we would continue knitting off and on, making more and more time for that meditative and creative outlet as the years go by.

  • Fuzzy Hopkins, Girl Scout leader, taught me to knit at age 8 years. We knit pin cushions. Not much was done with those skills until high school, and I haven’t stopped sense 70 years later. Catherine Cooke

  • I thank my Girl Scout leaders (I don’t remember which mom it was) for first teaching me to knit; I thank my friend Cathy for reintroducing me to crochet many (many!) years later on an Alaskan fishing trip; my late friend Ursula for asking me to make a baby ‘cocoon’ which got me knitting again; and my late friend Ginger for teaching me to knit socks. I owe so much to all these dear people, and to my knitting group friends who help me discover new designers and new techniques all the time.

    And thanks to you, DG, for your always insightful and fun writings, and today’s personal post is no exception. I, too, sometimes knit just to keep me from eating or drinking too much – and it always works!

  • My childhood friend’s mother , Mrs Snape for teaching me how to cast on when I was about 11 years old-I don’t exactly know it’s official name but you knit a stitch on the left needle then twist it and place it on the left needle- no long tails involved. I actually used this cast on for the next forty years !

  • My maternal grandmother taught me to knit British/American style but I am forever thankful my Aunt Marge showed my how to knit Continental…… I’ve never missed everything else I tried when I got frustrated trying to steady my needles in on hand to wrap the yarn for a new stitch with the other.

  • Sewing was first ‘real’ craft my mother taught me, then cross stitch which was my jam until my thirties when I discovered that Red Heart wasn’t the only yarn. Mom taught me crochet and then I took a sock knitting class. Knitting socks is something I feel compelled to do. What on earth do people do without hand crafts?

  • Thank you for this article. You have turned your weakness into strength and continue to persevere for love of your sister.

  • I’m forever grateful to my grandmother. She handed me scissors, fabric, needles, yarn and a wad of crochet hooks and knitting needles. These implements were my baby-sitter while my mom worked. They have stayed with me for over a half century through all of the ups and downs. Thank you grandma.

  • Mrs. Haas taught me to read. Doesn’t most everything else spring from that?

  • I would like to thank my mom for teaching me how to drive. Unlike my friends, I was scared stiff and didn’t want to do it, but my mom made me! I am so grateful for that push towards independence and self sufficiency. I was not a natural, but passed the test on my first try.

  • I always have a super soft spot for the teachers in my life, & thank you DG for this opportunity to honor them. Jen taught me to knit in a local stitch n bitch group. Extra gratitude that she taught me Continental!

  • My brother, for teaching me to read before I entered school, even if it was to stop me from pestering him.

  • I taught myself to knit. I was applying to grad school and was a wreck. My home life was bad. I had 4 young children. I needed something to distract me from it all. I bought needles from the local craft store and some yarn. I watched videos and read a lot of articles. Sometimes I sent an sos out to a friend who also started knitting.I have been knitting now for 12 or so years. I’m proud I taught myself to knit. It gave me the confidence I definitely needed. It is my saving grace. It got me through divorce. It got me through being a brand new nurse during covid. I took that love for knitting and shared it with my wonderful new husband by teaching him to knit.

  • My grandmother taught me how to sew on a sewing machine that was operated by a foot peddle. She taught me to hook rugs on a large wooden frame, using narrow strips of wool that she cut and frequently died herself. She taught me how to embroider and how to make bread and fried apple pies. But mostly she taught me to love.

    • Mmmm, fried apple pies?! I’ve never heard of them. Your grandma sounds wonderful! Thx to my late Mom who taught me how to bake bread and how to make pastry for apple pies . I still haven’t got the hang of making pastry otherwise known as pie dough. Mom had a magic touch! ❤️

    • That should be dyed, not died.
      My bad.

  • the beyond patient Sturbridge Village docent who showed 7yo me me how to cross stitch, after 1,890,568 questions, and gave me some perforated paper, a needle, and orange floss, lo these 48 years ago. altho that is also how I learned sewing in the car makes me very motion sick.

  • My Nanny… she could do anything and everything with her hands… beyond incredible cook, gardener, seamstress, crafter and also great work outside of the home … gym teacher, recess supervisor and more… … A life well lived and such a wonderful mentor for me

  • Thanks to my grandmother who taught me to knit, embroider, and needlepoint. And thanks to my mother who taught me to sew and cook. I dearly hope I have done at least this much for my child!

  • I am thankful for the many music teachers I have had over the years, and the experiences the knowledge they helped me with have given me. Amen! I taught myself how to knit and often took my projects along on trips that involved music too!

  • I learned to knit as a child, picked it up again furiously knitting Pink Pussy Hats in 2016, started going to classes at the senior center, and Betty Calabro has very patiently guided me to through many projects and challenges. Three of her most devoted students are celebrating her at a luncheon on Tuesday, just to express our thanks and appreciation for sharing her many talents with us. What a joy it can be to KNIT!

  • My mother got me into crafts but not intentionally. She was always a “nervous” person that had bouts of irrationality and other issues. Her doctors suggested crafts as part of her recovery, along with meds. She would gets all kinds of different kits – crewel, needlepoint, cross stitch, you name it. She would get impatient or bored and toss them in a closet. She “made” me “try to finish something for once” (I was a big reader but books didn’t count.) But I finished a cross stitch kit and a needlepoint. Her sister taught me to crochet and I’ve been at that for a few decades and after 9/11 I finally took a knitting class after trying to teach myself. And passed a few of my “time wasters” on to my dd. Now, I belong to a group of like minded people and we have stayed together, with Zoom, through the pandemic.

  • Thank you, @koshababooshka, for gifting me you “Knitting Bootcamp” class. It opened a whole new world for me.

  • I always enjoy your posts & todays was special! Thank you for sharing!

    I will always remember my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Callahan. She gave me the encouragement & loving attention I needed at a difficult time in my life.

  • Hi, DG,
    I learned to knit as a child..Grandma taught me, but once in high school knitting left my life for quite a long time. I picked it up again after I went to work and met the woman who would become a roommate and lifelong friend. I have been knitting ever since and found it a good way to quit smoking. I just could not bring myself to smoke while knitting although I know people who do.

    I am retired now and have taken several Craftsy classes and watch YouTube videos to learn new skills. My favorite teachers are Cat Bordhi (God rest her soul) whose wonderful book SOCKS SOAR taught me to knit socks, Sally Melville whose Craftsy class taught me how to control and use my stash which is overflowing and Patty Lyons who is a technical wizard.

    Just recently while in the hospital I discovered Podcasts, MDK, Grocery Girls, Fruity Knitting and Andrea Mowry and Stephen West’s YouTube channels. That kept me sane while trying to recover my health.

    So you see learning to knit creates an opportunity to learn new things for a lifetime and to find new friends.

    Happy knitting.

  • I absolutely loved reading this story, DG Strong! Reading about how you “fixed” your sister’s cable box, something like fixing the space shuttle! Lol, I roared!! Now your sister knows your secret power, that is, when she reads this. Hilarious.

    Back to the question on who to thank for teaching me how to knit and crochet. My dear late Mom, Clara (d. 2018) taught me how to crochet when I was a teenager. I then taught my best friend & we crocheted a millions afghans! Later, in my late 30s, I asked Mom to show me how to knit. It was complicated for both of us b/c she was right-handed & I’m left-handed. She was very patient and soon I was knitting! Now I can’t stop. Thx for the opportunity to win one of your fabulous prizes ❤️

  • Yes, I admit it, I still have a best friend. We met in college and lo, these many years with our husbands, kids, pets, families later still puts up with me. LOL She has taught me to listen to my gut feelings. It’s still a work in progress but I’m making headway, I think. She figured out many years ago that there is a reason for what her gut tells her. If she is hesitating making a decision … there’s a reason! The more I listen to my gut the better the results.
    In general, I’m a better person with her in my life!

  • How to make chocolate chip cookies. Thanks, grandma.

  • My mom taught me to knit (though just rectangles!) and to sew and, by osmosis, to love yarn and fiber and fabric and color and design. Knitting can be one of those doorways to so much more.

  • I would like to thank my first knitting teacher Anita for teaching me the basics. And Carol Feller of Stolen Stitches for teaching me short rows.

  • My friend, Nancy, taught me to knit when no one else could. I call it my menopause miracle since I was in my fifties

  • My mother in law has taught me many things, how to make granny squares within the first few times that I met her… use the good dishes, spend time in the yard, if you cook for your family, they will keep coming around, take your adult children on vacation with you when you are able and be positive.

  • My mother taught me to knit. She taught me so much. I am forever thankful to have had the most wonderful parents.

  • I learned to knit originally at about the age of eight by my best friend’s older sister. I knit scarfs, blankets etc. during my teen years. Then life got in the way and no one else I knew knit, so I did not knit for many years. Then a woman I worked with brought knitting to work and knit every possible moment allowed, she was a fantastic knitter. Originally from Lithuania, she knit so fast and could make things without a pattern, I was just in awe of her. I started knitting again but I thought my knitting could not compare to hers and I was afraid of everything…lace, cables, circular needles, etc. She taught me not to be afraid, she would say it is only knit and purl. I made my first lace scarf with her encouragement and I never looked back. Thank you to Dahlia!

  • I think many of us can appreciate your thoughts today!
    Not so silent thanks for my sister Susan, who taught me I was worth loving.

  • My great aunt Florence who taught me to knit, sew and embroider setting me on a lifelong journey of learning how to make “stuff”. She proudly used every gift I ever made for her no matter how lumpy or lopsided and given this was the 70s some of those colors were truly awful!

  • Hi D.G., Hope this finds you well! 2013 is quite a while…;but, that’s okay. You’re not God, and the sun rose this morning! What a relief! Let me get to the point: how to stay motivated to knit in this hotter than hell weather! I just have a feeling you might be able to help me. Peace to us all, Jody

  • My mom taught me how to knit, there was no YouTube back then. My daughter now likes to make things but goes to YouTube for all her instruction Not to worry, I’m making her craft rolls and bags for her “college essentials” list…

  • Ruth Ann Walter- the MOST important thing!

  • I think I just learned how I can enjoy weaving in the ends

  • I would like to thank my Girl Scout troop leaders, whose names I have long forgotten, for teaching me many different crafts one of which was knitting. I remembered the basics and retaught myself during a time of a long commute to and from work. I wish I could remember their names but I am thankful I remember some of what they taught.

  • My lovely friend and flute student LM taught me how to knit. It gave me an outlet for my natural fidgeting (and a silent one, unlike playing my instrument!)

  • ❤️

  • My mother has taught me too much to list, and I keep offering to share knitting with her. Maybe a box like this can get her to finally accept that it’s a great way to spend an afternoon!

  • I find that my life has been modeled in my beautiful mother’s footsteps. She taught me, by example, to beautify my surroundings with a creativity that reflects my style.

  • My Mom taught me to knit when I was young but it wasn’t until I retired that I picked it up again. Thank you Mom!

  • My grandmother for initially teaching me to knit even though I didn’t follow through in her lifetime and my knitting friends (you know who you are) for their support on every project.

  • I learned to knit and purl from my Aunt Janice and to crochet from my grandmother. I took to crochet more quickly and made lots of blankets over the years and then finally took to knitting in the last 10 years. Now I’m really hooked on knitting!

  • I would love to thank whoever made me finally understand Kitchener stitch – but I don’t remember! I was so excited I went off by myself to practise, and never asked her name…

  • I learned to knit because I kept trying to recruit knitters to make bears for the Mother Bear Project, but I was not, myself, a knitter. So grateful to my friend Nikki who pointed out that my short attention span was rather well matched to the leg of a bear, which is only 10 stitches per row. Ha!

  • Ahh….a lovely memory of mine surfaced the other day. It wasn’t and electronic nudge from a social platform; rather, it was a genuine, brain cell based memory from a very, very long time ago about Mrs. Scott. Mrs. Scott was my fifth grade math teacher, and SHE taught me something radical – that it is absolutely okay to be smart, to love math and to be really, really good at it. This was radical indeed in the early 70s!

  • Thank you for sharing your story!

    And I want to thank my great-aunt, who I was lucky enough to meet but only 2-3 times, to trust my eye and tweak until it looks right (and for being patient and loving enough to teach floral design basics to a six-year-old).

  • Grandma K taught me knitting, darning, embroidery, both with thread and paint and cooking…Poor woman had me for weeks at a time and needed to keep me occupied. She also taught me numbers by having me go to Bingo games with her because then she had more cards to play with…
    Every time I make something, I think of her.

  • My Mom taught me to basic knitting skills when I was a child. I didn’t do much with them until I became an older adult. During that time, my Mom became blind and passed away last year. How I wish I had paid more attention and learned all I could from her. I think of her every day when I pick up my needles.
    I am so grateful to the MDK community for the daily info in my inbox, especially the letters and knitting resources! Thank you MDK!

  • A dear college friend inexplicably found herself called to be an Episcopal minister long past the time one typically chooses a career. None of us who knew her then would have ever predicted that path for her, but she has great compassion, wisdom and insight. She’s among a group of six college buddies, now scattered across several states, with whom I get together twice a year. I’ve taught two how to knit, but this one is finding it harder to pick up. I would love to win a Skill Set I could gift to her, it would be a great payback for all she brings to the rest of us!

  • Forever grateful that my mom stepped out of her comfort zone and asked a neighbor that she didn’t really know to teach her how to knit so she could teach me. I was 7 and wouldn’t quit pestering her – this was in the dark ages before the internet. She made a life long friend and gave me a life long obsession. Thanks mom!

  • I want to teach my grandchildren to knit but particularly my oldest granddaughter. She is so bored that she needs a hobby to peak her interest and soothe her mind. I know when I first learned how I can tell you it was a very mindful thing. Knitting does wonderful things for your stress levels. I wish I had time to knit all the the time.

  • What a wonderful tale of connection through knitting! You are truly strong, DG!
    I did literally LOL at forgetting how to bind off while in the midst of binding off – I recently did that myself with a not-at-all complicated stitch pattern. I did have it written out on a post-it next to me, but why oh why can’t I remember the sequence as I’m knitting it?! ; )

  • I suppose I am indebted to my grandmother. (Not the nice one, the other one.) She taught me to knit when I was seven or eight, and then laughed at my first project, full of dropped stitches and other mistakes. I did not take that kindly. I went to the library and took out a book (or several) and have knit sweaters, fair isle patterns,lace patterns, many socks, fisherman sweaters, and so on and so forth. I think it was all out of a sense of determination to show her what I could accomplish, although she never saw another project that I completed. Perhaps my greatest feat is that my daughter is a most accomplished knitter who usually has a minimum of three or four projects on her needles, and is always ready to try a new technique. We are forever talking yarn and patterns and looking forward to times together when we can share our latest purchases and and conquests.

  • I want to thank my dad for teaching me to play cribbage. He learned to play when he was in the navy and taught us to play by his rules. It taught me to be careful how I counted points and pegged. If I made a mistake he didn’t tell me until my turn was over. I learned to be responsible for myself. Later when I was a teenager and home from college in the late 60s it was a common ground for us to talk.

  • Thank you Anthony for teaching me about a life line while knitting lace.

  • I learned to knit many years ago from a book borrowed from my local public library. I’m forever grateful to Elizabeth Zimmermann.

    • Thank you, DG, for your candor and humor. Thank you to my college friend Kristi for teaching me to knit. It connects me back to my knitter ancestors. And keeps me going.

  • My story is much less profound, but I learned from a family member as well. Still life-changing though.

  • I’m really struck by the commitment to humility that’s evident here. That approach to healing a damaged relationship is inspiring.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. My mother taught me to knit. It was painful for us both, but eventually worked out in the end.

  • My grandmother and mother were very crafty and much of it self taught and self guided. I love following a pattern for knitting but their example of crafting freedom helps me be a bit more imaginative. So thanks to Millie and Suzanne, my crafty foremothers.

  • I learned to knit from a wonderful woman that volunteers at the Cancer Center I work at. We had become friends and during that time my family had experienced a very traumatic time in our lives. She is in her 70’s and has been knitting since she was a very small child. I sat down at lunch with her one day and she began teaching me. The repetitive stitches and repetitive frogging eventually brought me to a place of peace and calmness. We laugh over this 5 years later. I will always be eternally grateful for this gift she has given me

  • Y’all!! Thank you…for patience, laughter and yes, humbleness.

  • My mom taught me to knit and now I knit for my grandchildren. I also taught my daughters to knit but they prefer other crafts. Perhaps I can teach some of my grandchildren to knit one day.

  • My mon refused to teach me to knit, but she did give me a HT book. I learned because I was persistent. Thanks Mom, no snark.
    As an adult, knitting saved my life too. The knitters as well as the process kept me focused on a future that is becoming a reality.

  • Mrs. Waguespack taught me to knit, hang clothes on the line, be calm in the face of chaos. Her memory shines daily in my heart, and her daughters remain my second family sisters.

  • Okay, you asked, so I’m going to tell. A few days before Christmas 2020 I was in my local corner store (not quite a bodega but close) picking up a few things. Restrictions has loosened and we were all allowed out but were also totally masked up. There was a guy in the store who was a hot mess! He was a big guy, sweaty and messy in a big parka and he was buying things like Axe spray and mouthwash. I was kind of amused by him (as I often am) because it was really clear that he was late and was probably going home to a pissed off wife who would have his head if he didn’t cover up the beer smell. Time to pay, his bill came to about 12 bucks and he was pulling random dollar bills out of his coat pocket. (Not judging here, I’ve had a good dig through my purse to pay for lunch more then once.) This is were the story totally flips.

    He says to the guy behind the counter “Hey wait, can you break $100 bill.” Counter guy says yes, and big sweaty guy unzips his parka and pulls a 2 inch wad of $100 bills out of his pants pocket. Which made me laugh out loud. He looked at me and he laughed too so I just said, “Hey man, if you’re throwing those around…” and he proceeds to hand me a $100 bill. I laughed harder and tried to give it back to him and he would not accept it. I stopped laughing and said “thank you, that’s really sweet, but I can’t take your money” but he refused to take the bill back. And then he said the most amazing thing.

    “If someone offers you a gift, accept the gift.”

    So I did. And it changed me. I didn’t realize how hard it was for me to accept gifts. I would do it, but I always kept track to make sure that I was somehow paying that person back. It took a little time, but I go back to that incident to remind myself that I’m supposed to enjoy the gifts that others give me. It also made me far more generous in those little moments of intersection with total strangers. I haven’t given a total stranger $100 but I’ve done things like pay for a candy bar or a coffee for someone who didn’t quite have enough so that they didn’t have to leave something they wanted behind. And if they ask me what is happening, I just tell them that it’s a gift and that if someone offers you a gift you should accept it.

    I have no idea who the guy was and wouldn’t recognize him again because of the mask but I’m really thankful to him.

  • My husband. He taught me enjoy the process rather than focusing only on the end product. This applies to way more than just knitting

  • I learned to knit because my niece Ceri and my sister Jill looked like they were having so much fun. Ceri died from Metastatic Breast Cancer in 2018, and I feel close to her whenever I knit. I am forever grateful that she was in my life, and remains in my heart.

  • I had the loveliest neighbor when I was growing up out in the country, whom we call Aunt Edna. She was retired and had no kids, so she and her husband let my siblings and I hang with them A LOT! There were all kinds of wonderful things to witness: gardening, canning, cider making, tatting, quilting and on and on. What a tremendous blessing!!!

  • I’m so grateful to my Mom who taught me how delightful it is to be a maker.

  • My mom taught me to knit, sew, quilt, embroider, x-stitch, cook, bake… mostly by just showing me the basics of how to do whatever interested me at the time and letting me figure it out, answering questions, showing me how to correct mistakes or when to start over. (And perseverance and tenacity- she showed us that it’s ok to cuss at the sewing machine, throw your knitting on the floor, stomp out of the smoky kitchen… then take a deep breath, pick it up, figure out what went awry and get back to it.) I grew up an Army brat before there were cell phones or tablets or handheld gaming devices for the long 2 day drives or 10hr flights to visit grandparents or move to a new duty station. We 5 kids each had a tote or backpack to keep us occupied (because you did NOT want the parents to pull the car over or walk you to the plane’s lavatory to “chat” about unacceptable behavior!) We all had books, sketch pads, colored pencils (no more crayons after the great hot car melt of ‘68) and one or 2 small portable crafts (model kits, tinker toys, beads to string, always needle crafts for me). We lost you way too soon mom, but I think about you every time I pick up a needle (any kind!), all 4 of my daughters learned to sew fearlessly on the Bernina you left me (and the boys learned the basics), your great granddaughters love to craft and your toddler great grandsons already love to help cook (as long as their garbage trucks and dump trucks can sit on the counter and watch!).

  • I’d like to thank my friend Helene for teaching me the value of listening without judgement. It sounds so simple to say but it’s a rare skill!

  • I’m thankful to my grandmother for teaching me how to knit when I was 10, and for my mother who gave me a hook, yarn and a Coats&Clark how to crochet booklet when I was 13. Working with yarn has kept me sane over the years. Can’t imagine what my life would be like without yarn!

  • My mom taught me to knit oh so many years ago when I was just a kid. EVERYONE received slippers for Christmas, haha. Knitting lay dormant as I grew older, married, and started a family. When I found myself downsized from my job, I decided to take up knitting once again. It provides solace and so many fond memories of my mom. She would truly be amazed, and proud of what I’ve produced based on her patience and loving guidance.

  • Definitely my grandmother. With her guidance I learned to knit, sew, and cook. She was a loving, caring, strong woman. Oh that I could be half of what she was, but lucky to have her in my life as a mentor and role model.

  • Love your last sentence about messy things. Amen to that. Need to stitch that into a sampler.

    • Ditto

  • Loved your column. Thank you. Teachers don’t always receive our gratitude or know how long lasting it can be.

    Every time I set sleeves or sew shoulder seams, I thank Patty Lyons! And my mother who taught me to knit, and stopped knitting for me when she judged I was old enough to do it for myself.

  • Loved this post, truly exceptional! My mom first taught me how to knit, though it was many years later that I actually took it up in ernest. Mom also taught me to sew, bake and cook. All have been a source of creativity or therapy or meditation at one time or another.

  • Thank you for sharing your story DG. I would like to thank my High School German teacher, Frau Weiss, who taught me how to knit. She had issues of a German fashion magazine that included a sewing pattern each month. She helped me translate them and one day asked if I’d like to learn to knit. I have never done much sewing after HS but kept picking up knitting at various times in my life. Now in retirement (and during stuck at home Covid time) I have had lots of time to knit. It is so important in my life now and I am so grateful to her (plus she taught me ‘German method’ which I really like). I’m thankful for the opportunity to post my thank you because she passed before I had the sense to really appreciate and thank her.

  • My sister in law taught me to knit and I am forever grateful

  • The chaplain at my college ran a handknitting group, and she taught me to knit. She was also there for me the first time my heart was broken, and twenty years later we are still in touch.

  • I am mostly a self-taught knitter, but both of my grandmothers were crafty and creative. I think it’s in my genes.

  • Thanks for letting us know you more, DG. As so many before me have said, I love your posts. This one was touching and funny.

    My mother taught me all kinds of crafting. I learned to sew, cross stitch, embroider, crochet and knit as well as macrame and making cloth flowers. I was also in the Campfire Girls where we were introduced to many of these crafts and were able to make useful things. I still have a cross-stitched apron I made for my mother that passed to me when she died.

    I have fond memories of all my siblings and our friends crafting something fun with some odd-shaped styrofoam peanuts or other weird materials my mother brought home from her job in a plant that put together electronic chip boards. Today we might call them motherboards. She would come up with crazy ideas of what we could make and get the whole neighborhood involved.

    Thanks for the reminder…

  • I did not appreciate my Mother’s patience at the time – trying to teach a pre-teen how to knit! But certainly have grown to be so grateful for the gift.

  • I’m actually on the teaching side of the sister story here. I am blessed that my sister wanted my help and instruction to try new things with knitting. In the process I’m learning patience and how to repeat instructions but in a different way so that understanding can happen.

  • Do you know, DG, every time I read something of yours I think oh, this is the best one yet. He’ll never top this one. But you always do. It’s all just one big list of tops (though I think the top of the tops is a shared spot between this one, and the one about the non-quiet quiet). Thank you for sharing yourself with the world.

  • My mother tried to teach me when I was young and I really didn’t have an interest in it. It wasn’t until I retired that I wanted to try again. I tried watching on YouTube but couldn’t seem to get it until my sister told me that there were 2 ways to knit and I probably was not watching the way our mother taught us. Once I found the video on Continental knitting, I picked it up right away. I guess I still had muscle memory after 40 years! I’m so glad she started me when I was young!

  • It’s funny, I have vivid memories of my grandma’s best friend teaching me how to crochet the summer before kindergarten, but I’m not sure about who first shared knitting with me. I was quite a bitter older when I made my first knit scarf, maybe 3rd or 4th grade. That scarf was quite the hot mess as I remember, but my Uncle Jimmy wore it anyway, and I will always love him for it.

  • My mom modeled and taught me to figure out ways to use what you have on hand, to make do:) And I’m currently trying to convert some old Carharts into a small tool belt for my 4 1/2 y/o grandchild

  • Mrs. Balaban taught me to knit when I was 7! She was a kindly and elderly Russian émigrée who lived in our neighborhood and sometimes babysat for us.

  • My oldest sister (15 years my senior and more like a mom to me) taught me and my girls how to knit. I was just learning to help my daughters when they needed help and here I am years later starting a charity knitting group that has already lovingly made and donated over 500 items!

  • My sister-in-law Sally taught me to knit. ❤️ Knitting has helped me through some tough times.

  • I’d thank my Grandmother for teaching me to crochet when I was 9 or 10. In retrospect, I realize what incredible patience she had.

    And I’d like to thank my college housemother for teaching me to knit over the Thanksgiving weekend I didn’t go home.

  • To my dad for teaching me the basics of carpentry, plumbing, wiring, roofing, etc. when girls didn’t do those things. I’ve rewired a chandelier, built a sheep shelter, fixed busted pipes, and remodeled a bathroom and a kitchen by myself. Thanks, Dad. I will be eternally grateful you thought I should know how to do these things. It’s saved me a lot of money and given me tremendous satisfaction. I love you.

  • I would like to thank DG Strong for his writing. Life tidbits that teach me to find the humor in my own life.

  • Much gratitude and thank yous to my mother for teaching me to knit and for all the enthusiasm for my early efforts… for everything I knit. She was a beautiful knitter and a beautiful person. ❤️❤️❤️ She was also a great example and encouraged feminism, responsibility, fun.

  • Everything I am or hope to be, I owe to my mother.
    She has taught me to knit, sew, bake…. I call her frequently to ask advice about almost everything and she always is happy to help me without ever expressing any annoyance at my stupid questions. I love her.

  • My Mom had a sewing machine, but she used it to more so to repair / hem clothing. She also did needlepoint, and a friend of hers knit, which I was always intrigued by. While I learned many crafts when I was little: crochet, needlepoint, crewel, cross stitch, loom potholders, macrame, sewing, etc., I never learned to knit until I took a class in my 40’s and have been knitting since !

  • My parents did not teach me to knit. That did, however, teach me so much more.

  • My sister-in-law and I took a knitting class at our local yarn shop. This was way back in the 80’s, way before the internet and Ravelry. A German women was hired by the shop and there were about 5 of us in the class. Since then it just became an obsession and as my kiddos grew I would knit for them.My kids grew up, married and have had kids of their own. I started knitting for them. I’ve been knitting ever since.

  • My Aunt taught me how to knit. I was about 12 years old. I made long strands of knitting about 4 inches wide. I got bored. Fast forward 40 years and a neighbor yarn shop beckoned me inside and the rest is history.

  • entry

  • This was so beautiful and honest. My grandmother first taught me, which is a memory I treasure, but it was a website and my lys that helped me knit my way back from postpartum depression and solidified this unique craft as my go to in times of ease and more importantly distress. How lucky are we to have it?!

  • Our neighbor lady & sometimes babysitter taught me to play Chinese checkers, roller skate and crochet. I still know how to crochet thanks to Dorothy and though I’m sure Mom thanked her, I’m not sure I did. Thanks Dorothy!

  • my parents were very good parents, teaching so much by their actions as well as words, which as a 70+ yr old now, I can say was a true blessing.

  • Thanks to my mom for teaching me how to knit. And for leaving me a stash of lovely yarns.

  • I learned from this article that most everything I have ever wanted to learn, as far as hobby or skill set- I have taught myself. Which I think sounds sad or overly confident or smug; but in reality, it is a genuinely empowering moment when I hoped to enter a contest and name the person who taught me to knit, or crochet, or triathlon, or cook, or needle felt, or paint, or calligraphy… it was me all along.

  • i remember knitting in the first grade. i am not sure i remember who taught me. It could have been my Granny Denney, it could have been my Aunt Julia (after whom i was named). i have knit and crocheted all my life. Mostly scarves and baby blankets for gifts. a few things are for myself. if i find a really pretty pair of leather gloves, i will knit a scarf to match. Sometimes i think i am more of a yarn hoarder than a knitter.

  • It was the year between college and graduate school, and I was adrift in life. Knitting was becoming “cool” again and I tried to teach myself from a book. Frustration ensued. My parents neighbor taught me. Knitting has enabled me to slow down, be in the moment and tame my then undiagnosed adhd. I knit nearly everywhere now. If you’d like me to pay attention then you’d better let me knit. A million years later I teach my students, especially those with fine motor or attention issues.

  • A thank you to my late grandmother, Mabel, for teaching me to knit at age 7.

  • My paternal grandmother taught me to crochet and to love reading. Because of her, I’m never bored. She’s been gone 25 years and I still miss her every day.

  • Beautiful essay this week! My moment of silence is for Doc Johnson who theoretically taught me piano, but in reality taught me about how to navigate friendships, self confidence, and grief and loss.

  • I’d thank my grandparents, who taught me so many things with patience and love: my grandfather, who gardened, fished, and made beautiful things from wood; my grandmother, who made perfect pound cake; and my other grandmother, who sewed and crocheted and went bowling and square dancing most weeks.

  • For all the knitters I have met over the years who answered a question, showed me a a solution, or just made me laugh—you are the best:)

  • My friends in the Knitting Sisters, eight women from work who knitted at lunch. I’ve learned so much from them even though none of us work at the newspaper any more. We stay in touch on Facebook.

  • My Mom taught me so much. She’s now 98 and doing well. When I grow up I want to be just like her.

  • Absolutely loved this article, DG,
    It spoke to my heart.
    Many thanks to my brother, who during the shut- down phase of the pandemic taught me to play the ukelele via zoom. Now we can play together in person. Like your knitting, the new skill has become a vehicle that drives all other sorts of unexpected conversations and communications with my brother.

    And thanks to my grandmother who taught me to knit. Knitting then lay dormant for many years but revived after i retired. Saved my life through several family members ‘ illnesses, and so much meditation/relaxation time.

  • i’m continually thankful to my friends who taught me to knit, and continental style, abt 40 years ago.
    also, wonderful DGS post today!

  • I wish I could thank Blye for teaching me to purl and to read a pattern. She was my surrogate Grandma after my grandparents moved away. She could craft just about anything, knit, crochet, sew, quilt. She passed away about 30 years ago, but I think of her often.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I have a world of respect for you, and I enjoy your posts. I’m sure I benefit from what you do behind the scenes, too, but I can’t see and read that. Knit on my friend….

  • I’m thankful for Elizabeth Zimmerman and all the people who have written articles and tips to tackling her Baby Surprise Jacket

  • Well, my Mama Elsie taught me to knit when I was maybe seven or eight.. She had little time for such things as I was one of ten children but I’m sure she loved it. I was the first girl in a sea of boys. I wish I had a video of my first attempt at knitting with the bright orange yarn and green metal needles and my favorite mom trying to teach me with the chaos of daily life swirling about us. Mama Elsie thank you. I miss you.

  • I silently name my Nana for modeling what being an independent woman really means. Back in the 50’s she owned her own business, she sold fabrics, threads, and more. She was very creative, and taught me to sew on her Singer sewing machine, that was from the late 1890’s. She modernized it by making it electric! She also taught me the basics of knitting which reemerged and sparked my knitting interest many years later. Sewing or knitting with my Nana were cozy and relaxing times. My Nana gave me my first appreciation of the fiber arts. When I knit these days that cozy feeling surrounds me and I feel my Nana’s presence.

  • Thank you Janet Bernstein for teaching me to knit in 6th grade Mrs Luck’s class during recess,particularly long cold winter so we couldn’t go outside. 2 pencils and some of her yarn.

  • My mom, for teaching me to knit and sew, because it brings back memories of her every time I do it.

  • Thank you, Bernice. My cousin Bernice taught me to knit when I was 6 years old. Being, as I am, of Russian Jewish descent, she taught me to knit “European”, which I think has been very helpful. This was 66 years ago. We are both old now. I taught myself to purl, and many other knitterly things, years later, and now knitting fills large parts of my days, but Bernice started it all, and I think she was trying to help me cope with a new baby brother. TMI? But anyway, thank you, Bernice.

  • My mother taught me (and scads of other people) to play the piano, and encouraged me to pick a second instrument when I was ten. I chose violin, and that’s my job now. One grandmother taught me to crochet, and I’ve been doing it ever since. The other, however, was NOT a teacher. Instead, she gave me her old knitting needles and a couple of her knitting books and let me have at it. I worked it out! They taught me how to do all of my favorite things. ❤️

  • My crafting skills were gifted to me by my Aunt Hermine. She was an amazing knitter and always willing to share her skills❤️

  • I’d like to thank my high school math teacher, Esther Steele. In my senior year, long ago, a counselor (whom I will never thank) suggested that I relax, after working so hard, and take music appreciation instead of math. I lasted about a month, and realized that had been very bad advice. I was allowed to join the math class. Miss Steele tutored me during her free period to catch me up. I ended up majoring in math in college! As for knitting, crocheting and sewing, I thank my mother and grandmother and aunt for teaching me.

  • When I was 13 we learned how to make a skirt in home economics class. I was gobsmacked in love with sewing. So I decided to make matching dresses for my two sisters and myself for Easter. I bought patterns and fabric and read the directions. Setting in the sleeves absolutely stumped me. One of my friends busy mother’s offered to spend some of her valuable time teaching me to set in sleeves. I was so grateful then and more grateful now that she would patiently help me to learn a new skill.

  • I learned to knit in the 70’s by a VERY patient 4H leader. She is English so she taught this left-handed kid how to knit English. I was very bad at it. Later my right handed grandmother taught me to knit right handed English. I still found it fiddly. Then a left handed friend taught me to knot right handed continental. TA-da!! That clicked and 30 years later there is nothing but fair isle knitting that scares me

  • I have such a similar story. My near death experience involved a canoe and a nervous breakdown on an airplane and looking up a group whose name is very near the beginning of the alphabet some 22 years ago. I have so many people to be grateful for that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I’ll just say that growing up when you’re 34 is hard and it’s still hard at 56 but I’ve had so many helpers along the way.

  • I thank knitting friend Joy who taught me how to knit holding the yarn is my left hand. I wuss looking at no more knitting due to right hand pain when she said, “well, just hold the yarn in your left hand,” and proceeded to show me how to do just that. My new knitting life was saved and was able to grow over the last 10 years.

  • The daughter of a childhood friend taught me to knit! Whitney was coming from several states away to visit her mom and brought needles, tools, various yarns, etc., to teach me all about making fabric with knitting. We spent a few hours together and after that I would occasionally text her about my emergencies 🙂 Whitney now has a yarn company – Moonglow Yarn Co – and I am her #1 fan!

  • My mom taught me to knit when I was a kid. I didn’t do much with it at the time but now it’s a critical piece of whatever ragged self care routine I can throw together. I love the immersion, the meditation zone, and sometimes even the monotony of endless stockinette stitch. Plus, socks!

  • I learned to knit after I retired. Now I use the magic to make objects that will be useful gifts for family and friends.

  • When I was 8 years old, my friend Debbie and I began taking piano lessons from Mrs Grace who lived in our neighborhood. She also taught us how to knit. I turned out to be a much better knitter than piano player (something I’m sure Mrs Grace somehow knew). She was the embodiment of her name — forgiving, loving, kind, patient and joyful. Now 60 years later, I give thanks to God for her when I knit! Knitting has become a spiritual disciple for me.

  • Thank you for all of this, DG. I relate, on many levels. I’m an “adult” now, but as the mother of a very confused and in deep pain young-adult, I’m revisiting my younger, destructive self. Thanks for giving me some much needed hope.

  • My grandmother, Esther, knit for me, taught me needlework and so much more.

  • My grad school professor, Steve, for teaching me to choose my battles. That has served me well through many challenges.

  • Thanks to my LYS employees for always being willing to take a peek at and help me solve whatever mess I’ve made of a project!

  • My mom. She taught us how to survive gracefully – change plans when needed and carry on. Best lesson: As I was saying I should go home & do laundry, dust, etc., she said, “Oh, stop shoulding on yourself! Either do it or don’t do it, but do not should on yourself!”

  • My grandmother taught me how to cook and hand embroidery when I would go to visit. She always told me if you keep your hands busy it would keep you out of trouble. I think that was because her and my aunts would be hand quilting so she could set me down with a project and keep me out of trouble. I learned so much from all of them.

  • Thanks to the lovely Kira for teaching me a fabulous new-to-me way to weave in ends almost invisibly

  • I learned all my crafts from my grandmother. She was a farmers wife. Always busy tending garden and canning. But evenings were for crafts. She was self taught. I loved spending time with her. She had an extra room that was a small craft store. I just had to pick a picture and she would help me make the item. She knew how to do all crafting except tatting. So needless to say she showed me how to do all crafts also. I miss her terribly.

  • My Dad taught me how to be in the dark. If you are in a very dark place, close your eyes and count to five, then open them. Suddenly a scary solid dark turns into what it is: a textured landscape. I use this literally and figuratively all the time.

  • Thanks, mom, for being my inspiration. You taught me to knit twice, and it finally caught after another LYS lesson. Guess I’m a slow learner. I miss sharing my creations with you.

  • An old colleague of mine taught me how to slow down. Knitting helps me do that. I get more from the process than the finished/unfinished item.

  • My best friend taught me to knit. It has given me many things…new friends, a compulsive shopping problem, a portable pastime and an alternative to baking as a way to express my love to the people that matter most to me.

  • All my knitting teachers along the past 3 decades! Patience is a virtue indeed! In gratitude…

  • My father taught me equanimity and to grow a thicker skin–but in the nicest possible way! My grandmother taught me to knit–and I promptly forgot after a warped garter stitch scarf, then picked it back up in middle age, where it has repeatedly saved my sanity.

  • A thank you to my Grandmother who had the skill and most importantly, the patience, to teach me how to knit. I wanted to learn to knit because I found out the Jacque Plante, a goaltender for the Toronto Maple Leafs, knit and I wanted to too.

  • I’m grateful for my Aunt Dodo (real name Dorothy), who was an avid knitter, one of those people who was never not knitting. I actually learned to knit in my 4H group (back in the day, 4H clubs were popular even for city kids like me), but it was Aunt Dodo who inspired me and answered my questions. I’d like to win this kit to gift it to my friend Jenni, who has been bugging me to teach her to knit.

  • My mom and I did many crafts together. She taught me to knit and crochet and lots of other wonderful things and I am grateful to her. But what I’m most grateful for is that she made me practice the violin when I was young. She made music possible for me.

  • My parents each gave me lots of great advice but, if I have to pick one from Mum it would be, “when you need something and can’t make it, bake it, grow it or trade for it, go get a job and get enough to pay for it”. One of Dad’s best quotes was, You’ll have lots of jobs and some will not be what you want so find something to enjoy about each of them.”

  • My mom for teaching me to knit. It took 3 tries over 20 years, but it finally took. Now I don’t have a guest room; I have a yarn room.

  • My Dad taught me lapidary on the same machines that his father taught him. Cherished memories!

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I wish I could go back and thank the neighbor who taught me to knit as a newlywed and a new mother. We were only in that apartment for about a year and I haven’t kept in touch with her but someday when I meet her on the other side I’ll thank her for the many hours of happiness I’ve had because of her.

  • A pastor’s wife Karen, who taught me to knit and lit the fire of knitting passion.

  • My mom taught me to knit, bake and love reading.

  • My mom taught me to be kind to everyone I meet. She never said anything outright, but she set the example for me every day of her life.

  • My parents taught me the AA slogans as a good guide to living life! We all had to accept the things we couldn’t change. I wish more people in today’s society would just Live and let Live and not be so judgemental!

  • I had to take a firearms safety course in 1982 for my BS degree at Indiana University. Neal was the instructor (and a professor too).
    I had Never even touched a gun, even though my beloved Dad was a hunter.
    Neal also took his family to Colorado for summers at Chealy Colorado Camps. He needed riflery camp counselors…so I signed up! I spent the summer of my 21st birthday in the mountains outside of Estes Park, CO teaching 12-18 year old girls the art of target shooting.
    It was The Best summer, thanks to Neal and learning how to be responsible and respectful of firearms.

  • My beloved grandmother taught me to knit and sew when I was very young. She died at 98. Considered legally blind then but still knitting by feel. My dear mother taught me to crochet but knitting was my first love. We were poor and I don’t how how we got yarn but we did.

    When I moved to San Diego my neighbors were knitting for charity and they encouraged my participation by providing all the materials. From then on I’ve been knitting and/or teaching others to knit. A great hobby and wonderful therapy!

  • I am grateful to my two Aunts for teaching me arts and crafts at a young age. They were both teachers and gave me a great love of all arts.

  • I give thanks to my mom who encouraged creativity… in cooking, knitting, and always believed ‘give it a try’ was a good start.

  • Thank you to my mother who taught me how to knit even though she was not a knitter, and I was only 7 years old. She believed in me.

    Thank you also to my maternal grandmother who taught/showed me that I was wonderful just the way I was. You left us all too soon at the age of 52. I’ve missed you every day since.

  • Thank you, Elizabeth White, for teaching me how to knit back in that coffee shop/bookstore in New Haven ca. 1987!

  • Judy Wise, my LYS teacher! I taught myself to knit….but she gave me confidence! I miss her!

  • the best way to learn to knit is with a friend alongside you who is a much better knitter, you learn how to fix your mistakes…you know who you are

  • I grew up on a farm, and it was just expected you did all the needlecrafts. My Aunt Bea taught me crochet (I won a Blue Ribbon on a small afghan in 5th grade at the fair!) Over my lifetime, knitting has become my favorite fascination. There is always something new to learn.

  • Thanks to and for mamas, aunts and others who have answered questions, shown how-to, and supported my wandering in the yarn wilderness, including MDK.

  • Not just one person, but thanks to the instructors I’ve taken classes from at Stitches West over the years.

  • I immediately thought, not of hobbies or skills, but interpersonal/relationship/personal insight types of things. Things that changed me as a person. My boss Anita, who taught me how my mood impacts people around me in the workplace. Michael, whose awful behavior pushed me to practice skills of loving confrontation. Aunt Hazel, Sandra, Greg, Arup…..

  • My sister Maureen didn’t teach me to knit. She did teach me that being kind, generous, and willing to really listen to people when they talk makes you a well loved human. You can’t ask for more than that! I miss her terribly.

  • My mother taught me how to cast on and how to do the knit stitch. Many years later, it was my sister-in-law that actually taught me how to make something using those skills.

  • The classroom teacher at the school where I taught music my first year out of college who taught me how to cast on & how to do a knit stitch & Barbara Walker from whose books I taught myself everything else until I discovered Knitting Guild meetings many years later

  • I am grateful to my childhood friend, Angela, who taught me how to knit on the school bus. She showed me how to make the slipper pattern popular in the late 1960s.

  • I was taught to knit by my mom, but didn’t get into it “full time” until a few years ago.

  • My gratitude goes to my left-handed mom, who managed to teach her right handed, very impatient young daughter how to knit and sew. Two of the best skills my busy mentor passed on to me were to use books and magazines to look up techniques I didn’t know and to not be afraid to try, fail and try again.

  • I’d like to thank you, DG, for making making me laugh — and think — in all of your articles. I love, love, love to read whatever you write! And by the way… I think DK = double knit; when you double fingering weight yarn, you get double or DK weight.

  • I have been learning to knit because I need to manage my drinking as well. I had to find another way to spend time at home because the pandemic lockdowns made it too easy for my partner and I to drink. I too have had to stay humble and open because knitting challenges and frustrates me more than I can say. And I have had to be open to finding teachers and not being the best at this new hobby. Thank you for your honesty and gentle humour.

  • I am not really sure who taught me to knit the first time. There are so many family members that knit, I know they have all contributed to my knowledge of the craft. I try to pass on that knowledge as often as I can.

  • So many teachers over the years. But I will start with my grandmother Grace who first taught me to knit when I was probably about 8. She was a seamstress, made beautiful hooked and braided rugs and of course quilts. I have her knitting needles and some of her sewing supplies.

  • My very first nanny, who saved my favorite pjs by teaching 7 year old me how to sew on a (totally superfluous) button, and my grandma for teaching me embroidery and crochet when I was a bit older.

  • My Mom, Kit, was a wonderful knitter! Among other things, she made me an amazing Irish fisherman sweater. Her work was impeccable!

    Bless her heart, she tried to teach me when I was about 8 years old. I got as far as an 5’x8′ holey swatch which I promptly turned into a blanket for my doll. Fast forward about 30 years and I decided to pick up the needles again. By this time, she was unable to knit. Happily, I was able to make her a couple simple shawlettes to keep her shoulders warm.

    Over the years, I’ve gotten better — cables & colorwork!. I’ll never be the knitter she was, s However, I will always be grateful for her!

  • Thanks, Julie and Janice, for teaching me how to knit, that when knitting, the working yarn goes in the back, and goes in the front when purling (I remember the mess my knitting was), and that all of the holes in my knitting were yarnovers (and how to prevent them).

  • I wanted to learn to knit because I saw a Norwegian ski sweater pattern in a magazine. A local shop had a small area for yarn and the shop owner gave lessons. I’ve been a knitter off and on since I was 16 years old. And yes I did knit that sweater. It had a design around the neck and I was actually able to knit it!

  • I would like to thank my BFFs Kim and Dani. Sounds silly I come from a huge family but honestly they taught me what family and friends really were. Helped with the little things, the day to day that is life. They were there for the major and minor catastrophes, when people I had been told would be there, couldnt be bothered. Thanks

  • I’m indebted to my mother for inspiring me to knit as a young adult.

  • Like so many others, my grandmother taught me to knit. I’ll be a grandmother in September. As I work on a blanket for my soon-to-be grandson, I remember my fascination as my grandmother knit while watching tv, barely looking down at her knitting. I like to think she’d be delighted to know I’m still knitting and I will be thrilled to teach my grandson should he want to learn.

  • I am so grateful for my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Conroy, who gave me a lifelong love of reading, writing, and grammar. Through her gift, the world was opened to me. (So, all of you teachers out there, you may never know the lasting impact that you are making in the lives of your students, but there will always be someone out there in the world like me who is forever grateful for your influence.)
    And, this is not to say that others have not given me gifts without measure…like my parents, who taught me the value of a strong work ethic…and my aunts, who taught me to craft, and knit, and bake. They are also deserving of my heartfelt gratitude.

  • And…my grandmother. Sewing, embroidery, canning, gardening, she shared it all with me.

  • I had junior high and high school teacher who would not allow me to be lazy. Anna Gene Woodruff taught me English and Physics. Once in Honors English she graded me lower on an essay than my academic arch rival. Our papers made exactly the same points. Asked why she considered my paper less grade-worthy, Mrs. Woodruff said, “That’s because I expect more from you.”. At the time, I didn’t think it fair. But, boy, did I bust my butt to earn the respect of this most demanding of all my teachers. Sixty years later, that fire she lit in me still burns.

  • A moment of silent thanks go out to my grandma. When I was younger, I got very sick with a kidney issue. I was in and out of hospitals and my gram came to help my mom out with me and my brothers. I ended up out of school for months and even though I had home assignments, I was bored silly. My grandma taught me to knit and crochet, the hungarian way, and a new hobby love affair started then and there and never stopped.

  • I’d like to offer outloud thanks to Melissa Leapman, designer and teacher extraodinaire. I’ve taken her craftsy, in person and zoom classes and always learn something, old or new.

  • I learned to knit from my grandma early on, which came in very handy when a particularly nightmarish elementary school teacher decided that every girl in her class must learn to knit by sitting on her lap until they could the knitting right. Fortunately I avoided the lap and could help the others instead. A lifelong craft and a helpful dodge from a dreaded teacher. I’d love to give this kit to my kid who I have taught to knit and is always stealing my gear 😉

  • I learned everything important from mom and dad–how to read, how to be a good friend and how to whistle.

  • So enjoyed reading your article in every way. You found what you needed to be better and that is the grandest gift you made for you. Of course others benefited as well.

  • My friend Susanna bought me a cross stitch kit from Junebug & Darlin for my March birthday in 2020. Like many, I was too sad and overwhelmed to knit in early 2020, and cross stitch turned out to be a sanity saver. I owe both Susanna and Zoe, the designer behind Junebug & Darlin, a debt of gratitude!

  • Mom&granny both knit nonstop now that is me. This weekI am grateful for Rachel Schuster Ewe&You fiber for her patience asI tried Brioche till it clicked

  • This seems surprising, but I thank my adopted chickens for giving me lessons on generosity. They provide an abundance and with my extra, I am learning to give freely to people around me. People are so grateful for a dozen eggs, but it really is more. It is the care and thought that goes into packaging them up, deciding who gets them and handing them over to the unsuspecting recipient. My parents were hard working and kind but not so generous. I am learning to be and it is a rewarding practice.

  • I am Largely self taught but my mom got me dtsrted

  • My sister taught me the basics, knit and purl, the rest I worked out on my own. The skill I’m most proud of is lace knitting. I sat in my car with needles, yarn and a pattern and re-did it until it was right.

  • The girls Sheep’s Clothing in Valpo Indiana taught me and I’m forever grateful. I would love this prize as I’m trying to teach my sister how to knit as we speak.

  • I would like to thank so many people that taught me how to be kind, strong and civil in the face of adversity.

  • Mom…for teaching me how to paint.

  • I learned a lot in fibers classes at CEntral Michigan uni- but Roger Thomason at university of note that texas was an amazing teacher and man.

  • I started reading the MDK posts almost 5 years ago when I retired and I want to convey my thanks to the MDK team (especially Ann, Kay, Cristina, DG) and the contributors (esp. Dana, Patty, Sonia, Kate) for your teachings, encouragement, good vibes,etc.
    Thanks to all of you, I have somewhat learned to unwind, take it easy a bit.

    I took a knitting class 7 years ago and there was a very experienced woman who had been taking those classes for quite a few years; she was so nice, so encouraging to all the newbies. She has been a tremendous source of knowledge. I considered her my mentor and now she is my friend. Thank you, Ellen!

  • I am not entering the contest, I am just sending you kudos for sharing your story. I have loved ones in recovery and it means so much to be able to share and talk about it with others who have gone through a similar experience. I am sure you have inspired some folks today which I hope only helps boosts you commitment to your own sobriety. I really admire your decision to share your story.

  • My Dad taught me to knit when I was six. He was one of nine siblings, including seven sisters. They all could knit including his mom, so it maybe was a matter of keeping up. I would ask him but he died unexpectedly when I was only eight. I wish he was here still and I would ask him, maybe knit together. ❤️

  • I am left handed and taught myself to knit from books. I would like to thank the authors of those books and especially whoever wrote the Leisure Arts Learn to Knit booklet with the left handed instructions.

  • Thank you for all of your beautiful writing, DG, but especially for this particular essay. A elderly neighbor started my love for learning to play piano. I’d go next door to visit her at age 3, and she taught me to play chopsticks. She also encouraged my love for piano by doing the trick of running her index finger fingernail up and down the keyboard rapidly — something I could only do as an adult.

  • My mother was the one who taught me so many things but the most important was how to be kind.

  • A moment of silence for the best mother, Rosemarie, who taught me what it means to love unconditionally and give without expectations. She was also the first to introduce me to yarn crafts such as knitting and crochet. Thank you mommy.

  • I am offering a moment of silent thanks to my Girl Scout troop leader for teaching me how to knit during meetings. I never forgot how to knit, although I took several decades of knitting sabbatical before picking up the needles again. I am also thanking MDK for teaching me the miraculous Ball Band pattern, which I have used to create many things, not just dishcloths.

  • Learned to cook, sew and knit from my mom. Thanks, mom!

  • I offer a silent thank you to my dad for teaching me the lesson to keep on keeping on, and when life and your own hard work affords you the time and the moments, my dad also taught me to pursue the activities that you enjoy doing, with passion and commitment and a curious, open mind. Balancing the heavy stuff with the light stuff is a life lesson I need to keep learning, but my dad taught it to me first.

  • My dear dad. I learned the lesson of perseverance, and when hard work and life affords an opportunity, to pursue the activities you love, just because. A fine life lesson.

  • The owner of my local yarn shop. She was so patient showing / explaining a new stitch or pattern I didn’t understand. (This was before you tube). She developed cancer and died three years ago. I never got to tell her how grateful I was for her help over the years

  • Lovely story, DG. Thanks for sharing it. I took a class at my local LYS to learn the basics. Since then, I rely on a small group of knitting friends for guidance. We have been meeting up for years and we love to throw a question out to the ‘hive mind’ and see what we can learn about a new technique or if we run into a snag while working a new project. Then we share life as well, like you and your sister. Knitting has been a real blessing in my life. So much more than sticks and string. Magic happens when we share it with others.

  • My Aunt Rose patiently taught me how to knit when I was a little girl.

  • My Aunt Rose patiently taught me to knit when I was just a little girl.

  • This is lovely. Sharing with my college-bound youngest, whom I think will appreciate it. I am grateful for what I’ve learned from them — about communities and activities a lot of people my age dismiss. About Blaseball and video games. I’ve gained such an appreciation of their beauty, of the wonderful people involved, and of the incredible potential for solidarity and rich experience within those relationships.

  • I’d like to thank my sister Chris for teaching me to knit and appreciated the patience she had with me.

  • Thank you for sharing your story

  • My aunt, for teaching me how to knit. I don’t even remember her teaching me, but I still have the needles and the book she gave me! When I was in university, I wanted a fair isle sweater, but being a poor student, I bought yarn instead. I bought yarn for a easier sweater first, and used the “learn to knit” book she’d given me, but I knitted very different from the book! With some help from a the yarn shop owner, and my roommate, I got my fair isle sweater, and haven’t put down needles since! Years later, I found out I knit continental style, which makes perfect sense given my mother’s and aunt’s very German background!

  • I’d like to thank my mom for teaching me to believe in myself, even as she taught me to use a sewing pattern as a 12-year-old girl. She gave me fabric scraps when she made some dresses and oversaw me handsewing Barbie clothes from patterns she bought. Oh, and thanks also to my cousin Laura, who taught me to crochet when I was 10.

  • Thank you, Mom, for teaching me all sorts of wonderful fun with fiber. My Mom was largely self taught. Her mother (who died when my mother was in college) was a good cook and spent hours cleaning her house which explained why my mother rebelled and hated cleaning and did not learn to cook until she married and needed to know how to cook. She taught herself how to knit so she would not smoke on her breaks while working as a nurse. She would knit while watching a movie and if she felt a mistake or thought she had dropped a stitch she had friends who offered light from their cigarette lighter so she could fix a problem. (Thank goodness there is less smoking today). She got books out of the library when she wanted to learn how to spin the wool from sheep that were clearing old pastures and books on how to weave when she had more yarn than she could knit up. And I want to thank Trina Liv who was an excellent knitter born in Norway who watched me knitting a stranded sleeve English style and offered to show me how she knitted continental style. I knitted about four inches with my new skill (it wasn’t very pretty) and I rarely knitted English style from that day on.

  • My mother sat me down, at age 8, the night my father died of alcoholism, and taught me how to knit. I knit through meetings today to help me listen better.

  • My grandmother taught me how to knit when I was quite young, and I will always be so grateful to her for her inspiration and patience – this was over 60 years ago – yikes!

  • A moment of silence here for my Irish friend out West who taught me loads.

  • You Tube! So many wonderful instructors and teaching videos, and available whenever I had a questions and needed some help, including in the middle of the night.

  • Molly and Diane taught me SO much, in the Cocoknit class!!

  • Thank you DG. That was a courageous, beautiful essay.

  • I’m late to comment and not trying to enter the giveaway, but feel compelled to say how lucky and smart you and your sister are, DG. She is lucky that you cared about the relationship enough to want to repair it and to make yourself uncomfortable and humble to do it. You are lucky that she was open to the offer. My brother is estranged from my sisters and me due to a bunch of complicated history and factors and I miss him. My attempts to reconnect never seem to stick and I would be so thrilled if he reached out like you did. As our parents get older I worry we’ll just have more conflict in the future as decisions have to be made – that’s where the two of you are really smart. Thanks for sharing this lovely piece.

  • I know I’m too late for the giveaway…However, I would like to give a shout out to my entire maternal family. Mom was a professional seamstress. Her mother was a quilter, taught by her mother, my great grandmother. My aunt taught me to knit. My life is full of fun with fabric. I stepped away from knitting until a few years ago when I needed a hat and scarf to go with the coat that I made. As a Michigander, I’m always up for a near-death kayaking story. Spill it!

  • A friend taught me how to knit, as she saw me off in an airport waiting area; my flight was delayed. Yes, a non traveler sitting with a passenger, you know we’re talking ancient history. So I could knit, nothing more. An Aunt showed me how to bind off as my knitted piece threatened to engulf the house. After many months of begging, my Mum showed me how to cast on “properly” (long tail) and how to purl. The rest is fate.

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