Armed with knitted fabrics this new knitting knowledge

Update:08 May 2018

Armed with knitted fabrics this new knitting knowledge, […]

Armed with knitted fabrics this new knitting knowledge, I started cranking out projects at lightning speed. I would sit in my classes listening to the teacher as I knitted scarves, hats, shawls and eventually even socks. Knitting became a mindful activity. I found that I could focus more easily while working on a project, and the sensory experience of the soft yarn running through my hands provided an easy grounding point when I became anxious.

A few years ago, my therapist encouraged me to pick up knitting again. She suggested that perhaps a simple creative act on which I could focus and make distinct progress would help calm my anxiety and provide a sense of accomplishment. At the time, I was skeptical; in all past attempts, I’d never quite learned how to, so I figured I would struggle to make any garment worth wearing. However, I still humored her, and I never could’ve predicted how much knitting would alter the fabric of my life.

With the help of several internet tutorials, I relearned my past skills: casting on, the knit stitch and binding off. For those who don’t know, knitting is typically done across rows, with the knitter turning their work at the end of each. Beginning a project involves casting on an appropriate number of stitches; knitting is to work these stitches to create a fabric; casting off is the method of removing the work from the needles. With these three techniques, a variety of garments can be made in  stitch, which is a fancy way of saying knit all rows. Stitch creates a bumpy-textured fabric, which can be desirable depending on the goal of the project. The most classic knitted fabrics are made in stitch. When working flat, this means that rows are alternatingly knitted. Since I didn’t know how to and wanted to craft a smooth fabric, I returned to the internet for guidance. Once I realized that is really nothing more than knitting in reverse, I got the hang of it.

The following pattern for a simple “mug rug” is great for putting under a hot mug if you want to prevent heat damage to your oh-so-valuable Vassar-issued desk. The general technique is highly adaptable to a wide variety of projects: You can make a larger square by simply continuing the pattern, or you could even sew multiple squares together to make a patchwork-style quilt. While this pattern is worked in garter stitch (all stitches knitted), it would be easy to incorporate different stitch patterns as well!

In the spirit of sharing coping mechanisms during this stressful point of the year, I would like to provide a little knitting tutorial. This is a fairly simple project, which is both versatile and fit for those who are just beginning to knit. If you should need any help figuring it out, don’t hesitate to ask me. I’m always happy to spread the knitting love.