I have an Itch. An Itch to Knit!

I didn’t mean to mock the I-feel-the-need-the-need-for-speed line from the 1986 movie, Top Gun …… ok, yes I did, but there is so much you can mock in that movie — from the 80s style electric guitar theme, to the macho dialogue and of course, that cheesy Tom Cruise smile. Every time I see Tom Cruise on TV I say to the screen, don’t smile, don’t smile, you’re doing well, …. you’re quite good …..oh, he smiled.

Not that I know anything about acting — I hope there are no readers out there who will now make an impassioned Facebook video telling me to leave Tom Cruise alone! I’m sure Tom Cruise himself is thinking, why do they get me to smile all the time? I lose all credibility when I smile, I keep telling them that but they don’t listen (damn my perfect white teeth!)

But getting back to knitting, at the age of 10 I learnt how to knit at school, making a square, orange face washer. Mum taught me more fancy stitches. I cherished that time with Mum, and I’m pleased that I now have a skill that comes from her.

When Mum was a young teenager back in the village in China, she was taught how to knit by one of her aunties. In exchange she would babysit her cousin while the aunt worked in the rice field. Back then, knitting and sewing were considered good skills for a daughter to have when time came to look for a husband.

On the morning city bus to high school I’d notice that many of the women passengers knitted. Every day I’d see how their scarves/cardigans/baby clothes had progressed since the morning before. It was exciting! That was the first time I got the knitting itch. I wanted to join that creative club! My first effort was a shawl. I was happy that I was the only schoolgirl to join the city bus knitting club.

The Itch has come and gone over the years, but this latest itch may be here to stay. It started a couple of years ago when I was going through a bad emotional time and needed something to do to keep calm. Knitting seemed the only thing. I started knitting squares. I ended up with a large patchwork blanket that I gave to my nephew. Then I learnt how to knit a beret for my niece’s new baby. It looked pretty cool and was quite easy to knit!

I then knitted a beret and fingerless gloves for another niece who lived in the country. Then I thought, why stop there, I’ll knit hats for all my relatives! So here I am, I’ve knitted berets and beanies for almost all of my large family and I’m halfway through the in-laws! I must have knitted 27 hats to date!

Whenever I’m feeling a bit lost or down I start knitting and feel better. It’s a mystery to me why this happens. Perhaps it’s to do with being creative. Perhaps knitting is like meditation — repeat actions and counting may have a mood levelling effect. Perhaps it’s something to do with using your hands. Any psychologists out there? What do you think?

Why knitting works may always remain a mystery to me, but I’m glad I’ve rediscovered it. Just wondering what I’ll do once I’ve knitted all my hats. Socks anyone?

This post is dedicated to my young friend and talented fellow blogger Christina (fussyguide.com) who suggested that I write about my Knitting Itch. Christina writes about food, and restaurants among other things. Have a look, she’s very clever!