This winter I'm re-learning how to knit. It's a very forgiving hobby, even if you're a beginner like me. It's also a hobby for giving, for making something with someone else in mind. (Note to self: start before the holidays next time.) Stitches are steady, repetitive, metronomic, maybe even meditative. There's something reassuring in the quiet tick, tick of two wooden needles crossing. And if you mess up, just unravel and start again.
The project I'm working on right now is a striped baby blanket based on this pattern, which requires minimal knitting knowledge - casting on, garter stitch, changing colors, casting off. To refresh my memory on the basics, I've watched YouTube tutorials galore. YouTube the aforementioned steps and you'll be on your way. I also recommend the book Stitch n' Bitch as an extra (hilarious) reference, complete with projects like "Wonder Woman Bikini" and headings like "Oops, I Knit It Again." This book was my first knitting companion and saw my teenage self through several gaudy, half-finished scarves.
Why knit a garment when you can buy one for less time and money? Besides the therapeutic and sentimental reasons, it's a good pace-changing exercise in a world of fast, disposable fashion. The whole process makes me more attuned to where the materials are coming from and how long it takes to create knitwear by hand. I value the finished product more because I put my own time and effort into it. Also, knitting has helped me break my terrible habit of double-screen multitasking (you know, doing stuff on your laptop while watching Netflix on your TV...); because this project is so uncomplicated, I can do it as a side task without feeling like my attention is divided.
Do you knit?