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Everyone knows the stereotype of the lazy stoner, sitting on the couch, eating Doritos and watching television. What these people fail to realize is that there is nothing like enjoying a little cannabis and sitting down to do something productive. It’s a uniquely pleasureable experience, one that far too many people have thus far been denied.
Personally, when I have the chance to enjoy cannabis, I also like to sit down and work on one of my current knitting projects. At the moment, I have a half-finished Doctor Who scarf on my primary needles and some baby hats that I work on when the monotony of the scarf is too much. These days my projects languish for lack of medication/motivation, but there was a time no so long ago when I was knitting every evening.
I learned to knit only a few years ago, so I have a lot of hours of stitch practice before I’m flying through things like little old ladies do. Still, I can do all the basics and even a few more advanced techniques (such as knitting in the round, intarsia, entrelac, and cabling). Once you know the basics, knitting is like cooking. If you can follow the instructions, it’ll come out perfectly fine.
I know how to crochet too, but I really prefer the perfectly flat, neat stitches that knitting produces. I think that knitting lends itself better to garments, while crocheting is great for toys (think amigurumi) and household items (like afghans, dish cloths, and doilies). Since I enjoy making functional objects, knitting tends to be my fibercraft go-to.
If you have always wanted to knit but have put it off as too difficult or time consuming, I want to encourage you to grab a few needles and a ball of yarn and try it. Knitting really isn’t that hard. In fact, there are only two stitches you need to know, the knit stitch and the purl stitch, and both of them are essentially variations on the same theme. Don’t let the jargon dissuade you; pretty soon you’ll be reading shorthand patterns with no problem.
Learning to cast on is the first, necessary step. Casting on is knitter speak for starting stitches on your needles. As luck would have it, it’s also the most difficult and frustrating skill to learn (at least it was for me). Thankfully, these days, you can watch a video on Youtube over and over and over until you get it right. And once you can do it, you’ll find you can always do it, like riding a bike. Just stick with it and remember to pull out your stitches and practice it again. And again. And again.
Once you can cast on and have learned to knit, you’ll probably make a scarf. That’s a good first project for knitting in garter stitch(a term that means you knit all the stitches, no matter which side of the project you’re working on). You will do the same movement over and over with your hands until you don’t need to look at them anymore to know what they’re doing. And if you hit that point, there’s no turning back. Pretty soon you’ll be able to knit while doing other activities. And then you can try knitting on cannabis and find that you’ve knit most of a hat during a Netflix binge, just like that. Knitting on cannabis is like magic. It’s probably not the best idea if you like complicated patterns though.
Because you have muscle memory for the process of creating the stitches, you can work on more or less autopilot while knitting. That means that the process of creating the stitches won’t require your full focus. It may not even require that you look at your hands at all. And then there’s no stopping you.
You can knit while reading. You can knit while watching tv or riding as a passenger in a vehicle. You can knit on a stationary bike or while you wait for the bus. You should be aware, though, that knitting in public is seen by many as an invitation to engage you in a conversation. Folks with social anxiety may be better served knitting at home or at a local yarn shop. Yarn shops are great because most people will allow you to knit in peace unless you need help. Then suddenly they’re quite chatty and friendly. They’ll help you figure out that new technique or get past that tricky point in a pattern that’s been stumping you.
Of course, you can always do your pattern research from home and even order your yarn from home. I recommend checking out Ravelry. It’s a social media site for people who like to do fibercrafts. It also has a massive, searchable database of knit and crochet patterns, many of which are free, and people post their own comments after completing the project, rating patterns in a manner that helps you avoid duds.
Knitting is a craft that anyone, of any age can enjoy. It’s relatively simple to learn, cheap to practice, and rewarding. There are so many things you can make. Knitting is definitely for nerds; there are patterns for ever fandom out there. From Doctor Who and Harry Potter House scarves to color patterns emblazoned with the logos for the Rebel Alliance or even an amigurumi brain slug, if you can imagine it (or have seen it in a movie), someone has figured out how to knit it. There’s sure to be a project that speaks to your inner geek.
Knitting, by the way, is not a gendered craft. My husband knits as well as I do, if not better. He should; he’s the one who taught me. It’s kind of contagious. I have a feeling my son will be knitting in a few years, if his current fascination with my yarn and needles holds. At least we know we’ll never be short on hats or mittens.
Photo Credit: J. Alden Weir [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons