Since I was a child, my Mom tried to teach me how to knit. She made it look so effortless and often watched a TV program as she’d knit rows upon rows, looking down only to make a tick mark in pencil in her pattern book to mark each row as complete. It became a comforting sound in our household each winter: Her needles clicking rhythmically with a nature program on in the background.
She’d knit baby ensembles, with matching booties, cardigans and caps for newborns, mittens (with the obligatory “dummy strings” so we wouldn’t lose them in the snow), sweaters of all sizes and styles, all in different yarns and colours. It didn’t become “cool” to wear what was clearly a hand-knit sweater until the the mid-’90s, but I didn’t mind rebelling against ’80s fashion trends, as I knew these handmade knits would keep me warm — and were made specially for me.
I’d sit beside her on the couch in the evenings, mesmerized by the speed at which she could finish a row and ask her to teach me. I’d try, but could never quite maintain consistent tension throughout the project, so ended up with wonky and uneven rows that didn’t look like much. I’d quickly bore of the lessons and give up. But I always marvelled at the beautiful pieces she made for us, for her grandchildren, for friends and even for strangers.
My darling and patient Mom tried several more times to teach me knitting over the years. I was always hopeful that maybe with age would come the skill she had (spoiler alert: it didn’t), but all I was ever left with were several unfinished scarves.
But what do you do when you’ve got more time at home than you’re used to and have exhausted Netflix’s catalogue? You try again. But this time, I think I’ll try the online Beginner Knitters Club currently offered by the City of Edmonton (the course name alone is just fun to say). A four-week online course to keep my mind (and hands) occupied through the month of February. Knitting at my own pace and then enjoying a group chat at the end of each week to share your progress sounds like maybe accountability was the thing I had been missing.
The sound of clicking knitting needles might just drive my husband to find another room, but to me, it’ll feel like home. And maybe I’ll finally have something to show to my Mom at our next FaceTime visit.
If you can get vaccinated before the end of summer, will you consider going on vacation?