It starts simply with a thread. Add a pair of needles, a bit of creativity and the unceasing motion of two willing hands. The needle goes through the loop, the yarn wraps around the needle, the needle pulls down through the thread and the completed stitch slides off. Simple enough, now repeat again, again and thousands of times again. After hours of wrist-twisting, finger-weaving and palm-sweating, the yarn will pull through the final stitch, marking the birth of a homemade garment.
For generations, the popularity of knitting has fluctuated. In recent years, however, knitting has been making another comeback. There is an abundance of resources which cater to new knitters, old knitters and everyone in between. A great place to start is with videos on YouTube. The channel Knit Picks offers hundreds of videos with different stitches, patterns and interviews. With nearly 20,000 subscribers, the channel is a testament to knitting’s popularity. Ravelry is another way knitters can connect. Members can exchange yarns, patterns and pictures of finished products. It’s an excellent tool for seeking inspiration. Another resource, the magazine Vogue Knitting, produces five issues per year with expert advice. Even a local book store is bound to have a section dedicated to yarn crafts.
The best place to start a project, though, is at your local yarn store. Spin a Yarn, located on Mitchell Avenue in Binghamton, carries a vast array of yarns. The store also offers classes, ranging from learning simply how to crochet to constructing a baby sweater. Cornucopia Yarn Shop, located in Endwell, is another local store to help initiate a knitting project. Like any yarn store, the variety of available fibers, colors and weights represent an enticing realm of creative possibilities. Of course, yarn is yarn, but its manifestation is so much more. It is the perpetuation of a thread that loops through itself again and again. The integration of a diversity of stitches can turn the typical watchman’s cap into a piece of art. Concisely said, knitting is nothing more than a bit of time, thought and compulsion.
If a homemade garment embodies love and tenderness, then this contrasts starkly with the average garment on the market today. Most clothing in the United States is produced in oversea factories. When thousands of the same cookie-cutter garment are churned out, the garment is stripped of its intimacy in catering to your warmth. Those who wrap themselves in meaningless garb are unaware of the lavish alternatives.
Knitting is not just a grandmotherly sport, as the students in Binghamton University’s KnitWits club already know.
“Knitting is a means of transcending the mundane weather of Binghamton,” said Timothy Kohler, a senior double-majoring in physics and mechanical engineering and prospective member of KnitWits.
If your mind runs wild with creative flow, if your fingers twitch with untamed energy, if you have the commitment of a monk on hunger strike, if you want to wrap someone with the product of your affection, if you want to face the winter with integrity, then there may be nothing more natural than finding yourself knitting.
Winter is among us, as are our sweaters, gloves, hats and scarves. Like cocoons, they wrap us snugly, preserve our body heat and protect us from the elements. Although these layers of bulk may seem like a hassle, their existence is what gets us through Februaries as cold as Binghamton’s. And if you’re one of the lucky recipients of a handmade sweater, hat, scarf, etc., you know that it’s more than just a garment. Nothing compares to the luxury of handmade apparel. Someone toiled for hours making it especially for you. A handmade garment symbolizes a timely commitment, a dedication to comfort and a deep affection toward the recipient.