Knitting in Texas is hard. It’s always hot, usually humid, and not exactly conducive to sitting on the couch with a pound of wool in your lap. Okay, of course I’m exaggerating, but only slightly, and not about how hard it is to knit in Texas.
It really is hot here. Running in the summer is bad enough, but knitting is almost impossible. It’s the farthest thing from my mind, no matter how much cold air the AC manages to blast out. Today is literally the first day I’ve noticed the trees changing colors–and it’s the middle of November. Which means the temperatures are slowly going down, after a veeeeeerrrrrryyyyy looooonnnnnngggg summer. Finally, I can enjoy knitting. However, by mid to late February the temperatures will already start to climb, and knitting will begin to lose its grip on my psyche.
It’s hard to knit something when it’s 105 degrees outside.
Where I live there are exactly two knitting stores. I’m not counting the crafts stores that sell knitting supplies and acrylic yarn. I’m talking about real knitting shops, filled with high quality yarn and real people who actually know how to knit. Since we only have these two knitting stores, shopping there isn’t cheap.
Which means I troll the internet for affordable yarn. I have this thing about acrylic yarn: I hate it. I hate the feel of it, I hate the look of it, I hate everything about it. I refuse to knit with it. Why bother spending hundreds of hours knitting something beautiful with an inferior material? It pains me to see someone knitting with acrylic yarn.
Harsh, I know, and the alternative usually means dishing out a lot of money. But to me, it’s like buying organic versus nonorganic at the grocery store. I prefer to knit with natural materials, even if I really can’t afford to. Nothing beats a beautifully knitted garment made of soft, natural wool.
Another reason knitting in Texas is hard is because there are so few of us who do it. I grew up in Texas but learned to knit in Switzerland. Go figure. No one in my family knits, though both of my grandmothers made quilts–something I wish they were still around to teach me. Knitting in public garners a lot of attention, which isn’t something I enjoy. Most people just stare, wondering what the heck I’m doing, and where exactly do I plan on wearing that warm looking thing that’s cascading off my sweaty needles?
If I want to talk about knitting, or have a question about something I’m working on, I have to go to the internet or one of my many knitting reference books. When I learned to knit in Switzerland and had a question, every woman I knew could help me. Everyone knit like crazy there, and they rarely used patterns. Knitting sweaters for their families was something women were proud of, and also a necessity since sweaters were worn all year round. I loved the way knitting was valued and passed on from one generation of women to another.
And lest you think I’m being sexist, there were a few men who said their mothers taught them to knit when they were young, but I never once saw a man knitting–at least not in public.
Despite the difficulties, I still love knitting, even in hot old Texas. It’s on my agenda every single day of the year, yet I seldom seem to make time for it. That’s going to have to change. Other than yoga, knitting is always the most relaxing part of my day. I might not be the most prolific knitter, or the fastest, but when I get around to it, I enjoy it the most of anything else I do.
Well, other than eating dark chocolate, that is . . .