How did you learn how to knit?
Short answer: a friend showed me the very basic bits she learned from her Nana, and the rest I picked up from internet videos and vague book illustrations.
I’m a geek. A big ol’ dice-rolling, D&D-playing, character-sheet-decorating, hit-point-squabbling geek. When I first allowed myself to admit this and started playing with actual people, around an actual table, in real life, I discovered that there was rather a lot of time sitting around not doing anything. Sometimes there was talking, but a lot of the time I was listening and thinking (and because we settled into a ShadowRun game and the guys I played with were hardcore strategizers, it was 90% strategy and planning, 5% running and 5% being ambushed in Chinese restaurants). I began to feel guilty about the wasted time.
At one point, someone in the group developed a game whereby one rolls the entirety of one’s dice at once, keeps only the dice with the highest possible number (in this case, we were playing with heaps of six-siders), then re-rolls the rest until all the dice show a six, taking back one successfully rolled six every time we failed to get one “keeper” die and rolling it with the rest. It kept hands busy and had the potential to keep players not currently involved in the action from causing distractions, but it was LOUD. Loud and distracting in its own right.
One of the guys who regularly games started bringing his girlfriend, who was working on grad school stuff and didn’t have the luxury of spending a Sunday not doing homework, but also didn’t want to have to spend an entire Sunday away from her boyfriend and also miss out on the fun and companionship. She opted to not actually play the game, sitting off to the side, out of the way but well within earshot, doing her homework (more slowly, true, but more cheerfully as well) while the rest of us played and laughed and made bad jokes. Once her classes were over for a few weeks, she brought a bit of knitting along and worked on that instead of homework. After two or three sessions of fidgeting as I watched her do this thing with her hands and still be able to pay attention, I worked up the nerve to ask her to teach me to knit.
It turns out, she taught me to knit through the back loop and wrap the purl backwards, she didn’t really remember how to cast on or cast off herself (she had been working on that piece for years, she said), but I looked it up on the internet and figured some things out myself (not the backwards purl wrap; I did that wrong for five years). It took some time for me to be okay with not doing it very well, and a non-gamer friend mocked me pretty harshly for doing something so old-fashioned and granny-like, which put me off it a bit until he and I stopped being friends. Eventually, I began to look forward to gaming days, because it was an excellent excuse to not only have fun with friends, but sit still and knit like a merry little machine.
That was almost ten years ago. Amazing. I have much better hats now.