As I reflect back on life, I can't help but think that I was destined to knit. It wasn't as if someone grabbed my hands and forced the needles in to them (although I've had drunken men do just that with their own personal needle). Rather, it was something of an organic process that just seemed to flow- or a cruel trick by Big Brother to pry the money from my hands and place it into my local yarn shop.
I had seen my sister knitting starting in our later teens and was fascinated. My Mormon upbringing placed in me a strong sense of self reliance and romanticized the pioneer culture, a large part of which was doing and making things that were useful for survival. Obviously, knitting qualified. I didn't yet start, however. Life was testing me, making sure I was a good candidate for stimulating the fiber economy.
When I was in my early twenties, I'd become my own person, emancipated myself from the church and become deeply concerned with the environment. Here, too, I found self reliance was an ideal to aspire to. I became quite active on freecycle.com- a veritable treasure trove of unwanted but useful stuff. A woman (or the knitting gods) posted three garbage bags full of yarn- free for the taking. I jumped on the opportunity and snagged them all. Little did I know my good fortune. I had been blessed with enough yarn to last most knitters years, even before I knew how to knit. I knew even less how much money that free bag would make me willing to spend in the future.
Stash in hand, I set out to knit. I went through the usual struggles- figuring out that gauge does not mean loops that are exactly the size of the needle you are using, that big yarns need big needles and so on, but life taught me and I made it through.
My friends all seemed to love my knitting too. I wonder now if they weren't paid of by some yarn Illuminati to make me think that what I was doing was pretty dang cool.
As I continued to grow, my knitting mentor's time didn't always match mine and my new obsession required constant feeding. I discovered youtube which was happy to pander to me night and day as I figured out what the "heel" kitchener stitch was. It was on youtube that I discovered the Knit Witch. She has what are, in my opinion, the best instructional videos available.
I found her on ravelry and entered to win a free skein of yarn. Of course, life was continuing to push me toward knitting- I won. The Knit Witch, who has fabulous hand dyed yarns for sale at http://knitwitch.com/hand_dyed_yarn.htm promptly send me a skein of fingering weight yarn in green- my favorite color. The yarn became a fantastic pair of socks from a pattern by Cookie A.
At some point in all of this early growth, my knitting mentor, Philip, asked if I'd like to take a drop spindling class. At first, I asked him what the heck that was. Once I figured out that it was how you make yarn, I was all in.
After my first class, I posted to facebook what a miraculous thing I had just learned. A friend, seeing my post, replied that she had a wheel and a bunch of wool gathering dust in her basement. It was mine for the taking. I gave her $100 for a Louet wheel, several fleeces worth of carded wool and a few miscellaneous bits of fiber. I'm still working on some of it today. You can see what I've done with some at my yarn shop at etsy.com/shop/knittingman81.
Now, up to this point life had been doling out the yarn without much financial requirement. I think it was when I finally shelled out a full $100 that the knitting gods decided that I was hooked. Some might say it was a cruel trick by life to give me such a strange obsession for a man, but I don't think I could have been given a better gift. Now I happily spend $48 on an ounce of paco-vicuna and think $4 an ounce for a merino/silk blend that's been hand dyed is a steal. Perhaps it was a trick by big brother to stimulate my local yarn economy, but I'd say it was life granting me the greatest joy I've ever found.