Nicole Thomas Knits

My {Knitting} Origin Story

Photo of a young woman, looking at camera. Dark hair, tide back with bangs, wearing glasses and a striped sweater. Head and shoulders in the shot.
Me, circa 2019

I first learned to knit 24 years ago. When I first did the math, I was a bit shocked. It’s hard to believe I am old enough to have actually been doing anything for 24 years. It’s those realizations as you get older that time is passing you by faster than your brain can comprehend. It’s the same part of our brain that tells us 1970 was 30 years ago when in fact it was 1990. But I digress…. already…. In my introductory paragraph.

I can still remember it vividly. Being home sick from school with an illness for which the doctor prescribed popsicles. My dad’s elderly relative was visiting us, who we called Aunt but I don’t think was actually an Aunt, probably more like a cousin or something. I was laying on our green couch in our basement, watching daytime television. I remember being so annoyed when The Price is Right was interrupted by breaking news of the Oklahoma City bombings. Insensitive, I know now, but for a 9-year-old, home sick from school, interrupting Bob Barker its quite an affront.

Again, I am not 100 % sure if all these things lined up at the same time or if I am piecing together multiple memories to create one epic memory. It always amazing me when I ready people’s memories or life stories the things they remember! But in my mind, in 2019, it was this series of events that lead to me learning how to knit. Likely bored by the news broadcast and uninterested in the devastation unfolding on the television, I asked to be taught how to knit.

I don’t remember what I knit or what colour the yarn was. I can’t even recall what it felt like to hold the needles for the first time as it has become second nature to me now. To be honest, I don’t even know if I liked it that much at first. But for whatever reason, time after time, I kept coming back to it.

For the longest time, I could never remember how to cast on those initial stitches and would have to go to my mom for help. I would raid her yarn stash from a sweater project long forgotten. When I started having money of my own, I would now and again buy cheap yarn from WalMart or Zellers. I never really got anywhere with any of these experiments.

When I was in my first year of university, I again came back to knitting. I have a memory of staying up too late in a friends’ dorm room, knitting and watch movies (a real party animal I was, even then).  I was knitting myself a scarf in this ugly green and pink speckled yarn that, at the time, I loved.  I think this was the first time I actually completed a project. A too long scarf for myself and a too short scarf for my boyfriend at the time.

It took my years to get past the flat, rectangle phase of knitting. I would get knitting pattern books from the library and just could not comprehend what the bizarre foreign language was telling me. I remember once asking my mom for help with a mitten pattern but because the pattern was written differently from what she had learned as a child (British vs. North American knitting lingo is a thing) and even she couldn’t figure it out.

The last first time I picked up knitting was when my (now) husband and I got our first apartment together. I decided I wanted to make pillow covers for our couch; I didn’t have a sewing machine and really am not much of a sewer anyway. I came back to knitting because it was familiar. I headed over to the large Michaels in North York, picked out some cheap purple and gray acrylic yarn and the rest is history.

How did I get past my rectangle, scarf slump? YouTube. But more on that in another post.

I have not put my needles down since (figuratively of course, because I can’t sleep and knit, or drive and knit, or eat and knit… you get the gist. But pretty much whenever I wasn’t sleeping, driving, eating, working… I’ve been knitting). I have multiple projects on the go, and I have acquired a large yarn stash. I love visiting local yarn shops whenever I visit a new city and if I see someone in a knitted garment or accessories, I’m usually side eyeing them to determine if it was handmade and what the stitch pattern was used. I am not a yarn snob, I will knit with acrylic and brand name yarns; but I have a deep appreciation for gorgeous hand-dyed, hand-spun, one-of-a-kind fibres. It is like a piece of art in my mind that can be turned into another piece of art when it is knitted or crocheted.

Knitting and yarn collecting (because let’s face it, there is a slim chance I will ever get through all the yarn in my stash) has brought me so much joy in my life. I have yet to get tired of it because when I do get tired of a particular project, I just start or continue another one – even though the concept is the same, each pattern is a new adventure!

Through this blog, I will share my knitting adventures. I will post tips, tricks and resources for beginners or those looking to learn new things in their own knitting journey. I will review patterns that I have knit to help you find your next project. I will review the yarn I use to help you decide whether or not it’s worth the investment. I will also share tips and resources on incorporating mindfulness and gratitude in your daily life. And I will strive to promote a supportive and inclusive knitting community and shed light, where I can, on social issues in the world of knitting.

I look forward to knitting with you!

Two small children, both girls, walk along the beach with a man, their father. One child, with blond hair, wearing a pink rain coat, looks toward the camera.
Me, circa 1987, with my dad & sister – Blackpool, England

Nicole, The Mindful Knitter

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