There’s Power in Those Stitches

Last Saturday I flew from Baltimore to Phoenix, AZ. It was a direct flight taking about 4 hours. Prime knitting time! As soon as we took off I pulled out my needles. The elderly gentleman sitting next to me glanced over and said, “Knit one, purl two.” I smiled and responded, “That’s about it.” “So,” he says, “What’s knit and what’s purl?”

I immediately launched into an explanation. Next thing you know I’m telling him all about how knitting is not just for grandmothers, how KALs and Stitch-and-Bitch get-togethers create local knitter communities, how a website devoted to knitters (and crocheters) helped link knitters worldwide, how knitters give back, and how they create unique installations through yarn-bombing.


“My mother was a knitter,” he told me. He then went on to describe the many pairs of argyle socks she made him when he went off to college. And the fisherman knit sweater that he had for a very long time. As he continued to talk about the various items made by his mother I couldn’t help notice the smile that came to his face.

I believe that hand-knit items have power. The knitter has lovingly taken the time to choose the right yarn to go with the right pattern with the recipient in mind. Then there are the hours of knitting. All that time, thought and care is embedded into the fiber as it’s being knit. Whether or not the wearer actually feels the power of the love knitted into the garment is not really important. It is there nonetheless.  I know this to be true because all these years later, that gentleman sitting beside me still felt his mother’s love in his memory of her craft.

I leave you with this thought:

Some would argue that the very act of knitting improves the world: that regardless of what one knits for whom, one increases the amount of good in the world by doing something slowly and with care. Despite our society’s constant drive for greater speed and efficiency, a knitter has deliberately chosen to keep an old craft from dying out and fading away.”The Joy of Knitting: Texture, Color, Design, and the Global Knitting Circle by Lisa R. Myers (2001)

This entry was posted in Artscape, knit along, yarnbombing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to There’s Power in Those Stitches

  1. lovelyarnsue says:

    Well put, Jayne. I couldn’t have said it better myself. Sometimes when I put on a particular knitted thing of my own, it brings back memories of exactly where I was and whom I was with at the time I made it. Almost as if the knitting holds the memories for me. (Especially since I am a certain age where remembering things is not my strong suit.)


  2. Christiane says:

    This is delightful! So much energy and thought goes into our projects, yet we rarely take the time to reflect on what this means. Thank you for sharing this story!


    • Jayne says:

      Christiane, it is also comforting to know that at some point the people who receive our projects come to appreciate them for more than their utilitarian purpose. Handmade has value beyond compare.


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