We are overjoyed to have Liat Gat of KNITFreedom guest posting today. Part of Knit Luck Origins, She shares her story of how relearning knitting pulled her through a dark time, another story of how knitting can change your life.
How Knitting Rescued Me
Knitting really did rescue me. I learned to knit just after I graduated high school, using a book called The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Knitting and Crocheting. I read every single page, following every instruction and illustration, until I got to the end of the book. I made every project, one by one, in the exact order described. I was a knitter and there was not looking back. But then, about seven years after I learned to knit, I forgot I knew how to do it.
How could this have happened? The reason was that, unbeknownst to me, I had developed a full-blown eating disorder. Given my rigid upbringing, our obsessive thin-culture, and the stress of the general mid-twenties success-test, I’m not surprised. What was weird was that I didn’t even notice! Dieting became my full-time hobby. I thought that weight loss was the thing by which one’s success was measured — the thing to talk about, think about, and plan about. (Lack of food will do this to anyone's brain — it’s scientifically proven.)
I only realized something was going on when my beloved roommate finally cried, "Can we talk about something else??!" Luckily, my family was able to support me in going to an eating disorder clinic, where I slowly re-learned the habits of normal eating and normal socializing. And there was the craft woman. She brought scrapbooking projects, collage crafts, and other stuff I couldn’t care less about, and I paid her no mind. Then one day she brought knitting needles and yarn. It was an epiphany. As she was showing all the girls how to cast on for a felted purse, I was thinking, "Why is she showing them the knitted cast-on? The long-tail cast-on is so much faster!" and then - "Wait, I know how to knit! How could I have forgotten?"
On my next trip home, I got yarn for the Flap-Top Mittens in Melanie Falick’s Handknit Holidays, and completed them within a couple weeks. I also started helping the other girls — picking up their dropped stitches, reminding them how to cast on, encouraging them. And all these behaviors came so naturally to me. I loved it! Soon after that, I "graduated" from the clinic and returned home to Bozeman, able to eat normally but lacking a job or purpose in life.
What I WAS doing was knitting like crazy, and spending so much time at my LYS, Stix, that the employees started recognizing my voice on the phone! I learned Magic Loop from Beverly Galeskas’ little pamphlet, before any of the employees took any notice of this awesome technique. By the time they offered me a job, my phone number was already written on the employee contact list!
For the next year, I lived and breathed yarn. I helped students learn to knit and to fix their own mistakes. I started re-writing people’s patterns that they brought in, saying, "Why would they have you do it this way? This is so hard and confusing! Why don’t you just… take a seat while I re-write this for you…" My passions for knitting, helping people, and making stuff better had started to bloom. The rest is history.
Share how knitting changed your life. Let us know in the comments.