What is something you taught yourself to do without help from anyone else?
I claim knitting as the answer to this, even though nothing much happens in a vacuum, so I definitely had some help, but I have always been an independent learner. My memory of crafting and needle arts is that I learned first how to crochet and sew. I even learned to weave. In all cases, I had one or two lessons with a grownup, then mucked about on my own until I mastered the thing. Then came knitting. I remember one lesson at a church activity when I was around 10 or 11. I was instantly fascinated, but we never had another lesson, so I was left to explore and figure out the rest of the mystery of knitting all on my own. I remember looking at books, at actual sweaters, and at photographs. My local library had some knitting magazines, and my grandmother had a ton of yarn (she lived with us during my teen years), and so for some reason, I never went to the local yarn shop that was just a few miles from my house. I don't really even remember shopping for yarn or other supplies, because I found things in the house.
I didn't go to a yarn shop until I was 19. The rest, as they say, was history. A fascination took root as a consistent hobby and eventually became my work.
I have this photo as evidence that I knitted as a teen, and at gatherings with other kids. It was taken by someone I grew up with here in Maryland. What can I say, I have always been an introvert. I think I remember being at the lake in Columbia with some kids from church and sitting off by myself with, of all things, some knitting. Look how geeky I am--my red sunglasses are on one of those lanyards that ladies use to hang their reading glasses round their necks. That is so me. And I still love red accessories. It is so interesting to me to see patterns that remain constant as I age.
Anyway, knitting was then all the things it still is to me now--empowering, endlessly interesting, and something to do that allows me to quietly observe and listen. I seem guarded in this photo, don't you think? As if my reverie has been interrupted? I probably show the same expression if you interrupt my knitting today.
This weekend, my long years of knitting got to come full circle again as I took over the Family Activities committee for the 44th annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. Rather than teaching, as I have for many years, I got to organize the teaching of fiber arts to young people and interested adults. I just loved seeing those curious minds and fingers get into the process and enjoy themselves! Who knows whether or not the next me was in this group, and who, in another generation, will be organizing classes for the 64th annual Sheep and Wool Festival.
Knitting has brought me so much joy, satisfaction, and good work, and I absolutely love that thought.
Here are a few shots of happy hands learning new things.