I was caught knitting at work today, bored out of my mind, catching glances from customers and coworkers alike as I did my best to pass time. Someone finally asked how long I had been knitting and how I learned. Three years ago I passed a J. Crew window display with the most beautiful sweater I had ever seen, but was dmaned back to reality by the $300 price tag. I was first depressed that my financial situation was so crappy that I couldn't be worthy of having nice things. ("Quality and Expensive are neither the same nor better than one another," my grandmother used to say). Then I grew irritated and pissy that I couldn't have THAT sweater. That irritaton grew into an aggressive stomp to the nearest bookstore where I picked up a copy of "The Idiots Guide to Knitting." From there I went to Joann's and got myself on the mailing list and with each coupon I received, I'd purchase one skien of cashmere. Within 6 weeks I had that sweater, made myself and looking every bit better than the one in the window. The action of knitting is one that can lend you into an active contemplation, where the body and mind are quietly seperated into an almost meditative state. But, even more than this moment of frozen suspension of the world around me, I have found that I have learned tolerance (from patterns poorly written), patience (from mistakes made in haste), and the absolute art of self reliance. Three years later, I have summized that sweater in J. Crew was a metaphoric turning point. Knitting, above all else, has tought me the importance of self education, of mindfulness in once's actions, and the inherant desire in anyone who picks up this craft to ultimately use it for charitable purposes. The Trafalgar Lion, the Linus Project, and Warm Up America are all heady examples. SO, I was curious to hear from other fellow knitters what they've learned from this craft, how they developed the desire to spend hours with only yarn and sticks and be perfectly content, and to what cause they think MEN WHO KNIT could one day use its talents for. CHEERS EVERYONE!