From My He Knits, She Knits Household
was just novelty at first. A joke, really.
"Hey, Honey, wanna learn to knit?"
I teased, fully expecting a flat refusal.
"You'll teach me?" is what I got,
in a curious and almost imploring tone.
After a couple of
false starts, my husband quickly progressed
from a voluminous garter stitch "swatch"
to designing his own hat. It wasn't perfect;
what was supposed to be a beanie ended up
more of a beret. It has garter ridges at the
bottom stemming from a miscommunication about
the differences between knitting flat and
in the round, and a few other, um, design
elements. Still, I marvel at the success of
his vaguely haphazard approach to knitting.
He has a somewhat-questionable relationship
with gauge, and has yet to sew up a garment,
yet he'd completed several near-perfect projects
before he had ever looked at a pattern, and
designed two different, elaborately cabled
hats completely from scratch without even
a stitch dictionary.
The transition from
one knitter inhabiting the house to two was
a little problematic at first. When my husband
was first learning the craft, he relied heavily
on me to bail him out of the usual beginner
mistakes. I picked up several dropped stitches,
corrected and explained countless incomplete
stitches, gauge issues, decrease methods.
I was cheerful about it at first, but soon
started cringing at the sound of "Arggh,
no! Um, Honey...I sorta need your help."
I finally directed him to the large bookcase
full of knitting references, pattern books
and magazines and told him to have a field
Then there was the
needle issue. I'd never needed multiples of
the same needle size when I was the only knitter,
but suddenly we both needed a size 7 and there
was only one. I donated my Boye Needlemaster
to him, since I never really liked it. This
helped, but my beloved Addi Turbos were still
getting misplaced because he moved them, looking
for a measuring tape, or he'd borrowed one
for a side project and never put it back.
The final straw was when my lovely, neatly
arranged knitting basket where I carefully
put specially selected skeins for inspiration
was suddenly a hodgepodge filled with a conglomeration
of our various projects. It started to collapse
Some couples need
separate bathrooms, some need separate beds;
we need separate knitting storage -- a small
price to pay for marital bliss.
From the bag of various
skeins of Wool-Ease and Encore that I gave my
husband free rein to when he first picked up
the needles, we now have "his" and
"hers" stashes. His is filled with
rustic wool and wool blends nearly all of which
are some shade of brown or green, with a little
brownish-green thrown in for balance. Mine is
more eclectic, with a tendency toward hand paints
and variegation. There is some crossover too:
he donated a spare skein of chocolate-colored
Manos to my multi-colored ruana project; I gave
him a hefty hank of Lorna's Laces Fisherman
in shades of teal and purple that happen to
be his mom's favorite colors. We go yarn shopping
together. He covets the bulky alpaca, I covet
the laceweight cashmere. It's nice. He actually
listens and understands when I go on and on
about some fabulous new yarn or the merits of
cotton versus a cotton-acrylic blend. If only
he had such an understanding ear for shoes.
Our individual approaches
to knitting are very different. I generally
knit from patterns, tweaking them to suit my
taste and needs; he prefers to do his own thing.
Even when trying a new technique from cables
to stranded knitting, he creates his own pattern.
In knitting, as in life, he inspires me to be
less rigid and I encourage him to pay more attention
to the details.
From a simple offhand
comment, I now get to share my passion for
knitting with the person I am passionate about,
and have learned a lot about both in the process.