- June Hemmons Hiatt
I've always enjoyed creating something out of nothing. From the time I made a diorama of a flying bee out of an old clock motor as a kid, just for fun mind you, to more recent ventures like knitting. I didn't have the benefit of a wise elder who has made everything from a simple strand of yarn she spun herself, her nimble fingers showing me how to weave the thread between the needles methodically. Nope, I never do it the easy way. I learned basically from a coloring book.
Learning to knit is not an easy thing to do. My venture started out at first as an obligation. I had taught myself to crochet fairly easily at 23. My sister, generally the best gift giver in history, mistakenly bought me a knit kit for Christmas. Great. Thanks, sis. Now I have to learn. I opened the box and luckily found instructions. Even more fortunately, there were pictures. Soon, I realized the complexity of this overwhelming task. The pictures I was so enthralled about only seemed to confuse more than they helped. Time and time again, I attempted to mimic the visual. Time and time again, I failed. Miserably. Very, very miserably.
I boxed up my present only a few months later in complete frustration. Then I thought, 'What was so hard, really? You're a smart gal, creative and whatnot. Perhaps a little less than graceful with sharp objects, but have another go at it! We can do this thing! WOOOOO!' And I got all pumped up. Again. And I failed. Again, only slightly less miserably. Over the next year or so, this happened several times. Like having a child, I would forget the pain of birth and want to try again. Finally, something clicked. Something beautiful. What happened next was almost miraculous, transporting me from my year in craft purgutory to the big yarn ball in the sky through gates of golden knitting needles. I knitted. AND purled! The child in me danced to the rhythm of the clicking needles while the adult in me sat in quiet satisfaction of creativity.
The first REAL thing I started to make besides practice swatches was a blanket for my mom. The two hues of purple contrasted the white perfectly. It's progress was punctuated by intermittent delays to make hats, scarves, mittens, baby clothes, etc. It was awfully hot to work on in summer, so winter became prime time to make progress as the blanket grew, stitch by stich, row by row. Three years later at Christmas, I made my mother cry by its sheer beauty. Either that or it was like when you bring a drawing home from kindergarten and your parents shamelessly hang it on the refrigerator to make you feel good. I'd like to think it was more impressive than the finger paint creativity of a five-year-old, but either way, my mom cried. Honestly, the thing was nothing like I originally planned. It was a mere remnant of my idea, with flaws only my overscrutinizing eyes could see. But purple sure is pretty. And I proudly gave my mom her prize.
Still today, I knit. When my needles move in harmony to create beauty out of nothingness, the world stops yelling obscenities at me, if only for a brief moment. Time stops, only to have to catch up real quick once I stop. And I remember to keep fighting, keep trying, because although you don't know the definite outcome, you know each stitch brings you closer to the dream. Even though it's never as easy as a coloring book picture makes it look.