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Knitting Helps With Everything

by erin on March 10, 2015

So there is a really cool project going on that I have to tell you about:

NC CLAWS inc is a local wildlife rescue organization that I have seen in action and really respect. They are prepping for Spring baby season and have put out a request for items to help. They also are asking for knitters to make them nests like they got last year but 2 or 3 times the size of this pattern.


Here is the link to the pattern here.  The only two requests are that the nests are bigger to help the raptor babies, who are naturally bigger than the birds this pattern knits up nests for, and that the yarn used is one that isn’t fuzzy, where little toes can get snagged.  Isn’t that so cool, though?  You can knit a freaking NEST.  FOR A BIRD.  I would love it for someone to approach me as I’m knitting and have it go down like this:


Non-Knitter:  So….uh….whatcha knitting there?

Me:  A nest.

Non-Knitter:  A nest?  Don’t birds already know how to build their own nests?

Me:  Well, the baby birds can’t knit yet.


If there is any interest out there in internet land, comment on the blog or email me (ellarine23ATyahooDOTcom) and I can explain where to drop off the finished nests so we can drop them off for you.  It’s so cool how knitting can solve so many different, unusual kind of problems.

Knitting recently helped me immensely, and I didn’t have to cast on a stitch.  For those of you who might not know, I have gone back to school for the first time in 15 years.  I’m starting off with less than a full load, but it feels quite full as I’m still working, writing the store blog, raising two kids, and kicking booty in general.  One of my classes is public speaking, and I did a short speech on what knitting has meant for me.  I am including it here:


When you think of knitting, what mental image do you see? Is it of an elderly woman knitting by the fire with 17 cats? That it’s the milk-toast pastime of yesteryear? You would be wrong!It is one of the few activities on earth that is meditative, engages both the left and right hemisphere of the brain, and wards off Alzheimer’s. Samurai knit to sell their goods when they weren’t living by the sword. Their knits were worn beneath their armor. The men of the British Isles fiercely kept women away from hand knitting, only permitting them to spin the yarn. Boys were apprenticed and belonged to guilds, and knitting skills and acquiring them took tests and years of time before they were granted the title of Master Knitter. It was only when machine knitting was invented and the Industrial Revolution got underway that women took up the needles and the notion of knitting as something “girly” gained ground. But knitting is so much more than that.

Knitting has been a huge part of my life. So much so that I am still surprised that I have only been knitting…passionately, devotedly knitting…for seven years. It was not a skill I learned at my grandmother’s knee. But I have learned, and read, and knit so much since I taught myself that I consider it more than just a hobby. It is a lifestyle.

I taught myself to knit on a whim, from a book I checked out from the library. It was incredibly frustrating, trying to interconnect loops of yarn to other loops of yarn using two needles. There was a lot of teeth gritting and cursing. And strangely, personality traits I never knew I had emerged as well. Perseverance. Patience. Determination. My first knitting project was a disaster, knit so tightly it could have doubled as kevlar, yet I was hooked. And my life has never been the same.

An acquaintance suggested I visit a local yarn store. The woman who owned it [psst…That would be MARY] welcomed me with so much friendliness that I’ve seen echoed in other knitters—the recognition of another person who enjoys knitting as much as I do. I learned from her and other knitters, explored new concepts in knitting, and eventually was offered and accepted a job writing her store’s blog about knitting. Knitting opened up a door to a dream I had long had: to be a writer and be paid to do something I was passionate about.

As time passed, I gained a very small measure of popularity among local knitters. I began spreading the news of the shop’s blog on wider social networks like Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Other knitters, some of them published authors, became friends with me, and this opened the knitting world up further for me.

In December of last year, I was able to participate in an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. Through a chance conversation over the internet, I connected New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Pearl-McPhee with our local yarn store owner to come to Chapel Hill to lecture and teach classes to local knitters. She is the knitting equivalent of Michael Jordan, Julia Roberts, or Julia Child. Talking about knitting with her, and learning from her classes, watching hundreds of knitters come from all over the south to see her and congregate was an amazing, emotional experience for me. Imagine being able to reach out and spend time with your idol, to see the excitement and joy mirrored in the knitting community, and I know you will understand how that experience affected me.

Knitting has encouraged me to try new things, not just with yarn, but with my talents for writing, humor, and teaching others as well. It has connected me to people in my community and around the world that I would never have met before. It taught me to reach past what I was comfortable with doing, with wool and with life, if I wanted the results badly enough. In experiencing success and fulfillment in those new things, I reached still farther. If you look at it one way, knitting has been part of the path leading me back to school to finally get my bachelor’s degree.

The act of knitting may seem dull or boring, but it is what knitting has taught me and inspired me to do that has shown me so much more than just how to make loops with sticks and string.


Knitting for warmth, for fun, for birds, and even for homework.  Knitting helps with everything!  What has knitting done for you lately?


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Turner Houston March 10, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Erin–super great post! Thank you!
I was once one of Mary’s devoted customers, but moved to DC about 7 years ago.
Rediscovering knitting under Mary’s supportive care probably saved my sanity. And Yarns, Etc. gave me my first connection to the area. I STILL miss the shop, the knitters and Mary!

I’m a researcher and knitter with Project Knitwell up here, and finding tons of studies about the mental and spiritual benefits of knitting. There are many testimonials on blogs that are relevant to my research. I wanted to know if I can quote you (linking to the blog, of course)?
So far the testimonials are just going into my files, but if and when a book comes from this, and if I were to use your quote, I would contact you for permission at that time.

Say hi to Mary. See what she started?!



erin March 10, 2015 at 10:45 pm

Absolutely, Turner! Mary’s yarn stores have totally saved my sanity, too. Many, many, many times! 😉


Rebecca March 11, 2015 at 11:04 am

Knitting and knitters are the best. I’m going through something tough right now and the first place I went for comfort (when I wasn’t dealing with arrangements) was Yarns Etc. I love you ladies and consider you all to be very dear friends. Thanks for the comfort and the fun times!


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